8 Things I Love About the 80s
I’m feeling nostalgic about the 1980s. I set two of my novels in that awesome era, a decade that gave us incredible entertainment choices, unique pop culture, life-changing technology, and the fitness craze.
Here are 8 things I love about the 80s.
Some of my favorite movies came out in the 1980s, films I still watch over and over:
- Trading Places (1983): Required Christmas viewing (I laugh out loud every time).
- Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981): Best adventure movie ever.
- Romancing the Stone (1984): My favorite romantic comedy.
- Back to the Future (1985): The whole trilogy is hilarious perfection.
- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986): Pure fun, endlessly quotable.
- The Princess Bride (1987): Sweeping romantic fantasy with sword-fighting!
- Dirty Dancing (1987): Joyful, heartfelt, romantic—and the dancing!
- Working Girl (1988): Smart, sexy, and inspiring.
- When Harry Met Sally (1989): So clever. Unforgettable deli scene!
2. WORKING OUT WITH JANE FONDA
Gyms and aerobics classes became all the rage in the 80s.
Jane Fonda’s Workout introduced the new age of home aerobics and became one of the best-selling videos of all time.
Fonda made exercising fun and was ahead of her time, including many of the same stretching and resistance routines that personal trainers still use today.
So many great TV shows debuted in the 80s, it was hard to narrow down my favs.
Here are my top 4:
- Cheers (1982 – 1993): The best sitcom and best TV show ever made. Its smartly written, emotional story arcs about love, death, and bar bets were so popular that it ran for eleven seasons.
- Magnum P.I. (1980 – 1988): One of the best detective shows ever, it had great humor, tense action, and memorable characters.
- L.A. Law (1986-1994): A timely and provocative mix of wit and legal dramatics.
- Murphy Brown (1988 – 1998): Fiction and reality mingled as it took on the news of the day.
4. THE FIRST PERSONAL COMPUTERS
The IBM PC came out in 1981, followed by a revamped Apple III.
In no time, personal computers changed the world.
I bought my first Macintosh computer in the 80s and was thrilled to use it to write my first novel.
Time magazine called 1982 “The Year of the Computer” as the industry grew—and the rest is history.
The 80s gave us all kinds of new music, from electronic dance tunes to Modern Rock and Hip Hop. MTV debuted in 1981 and changed the music industry forever.
Three of my favorite songs from that era were featured on movie soundtracks:
- “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes (1987)
The theme song for the film Dirty Dancing, this mega-hit won a Grammy and the Oscar and Golden Globe Awards for Best Original Song. Written for the climactic dance scene, it had to start slow, finish fast, and have a mambo beat. Every time I hear it, I want to watch the movie again.
- “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves (1983)
One of the most uplifting songs ever written! I experienced all the same emotions when I met my husband, counting the minutes until we could be together again. It’s been used in several films including The Secret of My Success (1987).
- “Let the River Run” by Carly Simon (1988)
Written for the film Working Girl (1988), for which Carly Simon also won the Oscar, Golden Globe, and Grammy (the first of only two songs to win all three major awards while being composed, written, and performed by a single artist.) It implores us to “Let all the dreamers wake the nation.”
I can’t help but love the iconic fashion spirit of the 80s.
Remember acid wash jeans, embellished jeans jackets, lacey shirts, power suits, shoulder pads, and Spandex?
White running shoes and Converse high tops were all the rage.
And who can forget those bright neon colors?
7. BROADWAY MUSICALS
I’m a huge Broadway musical fan and the 80s gave us some amazing new ones.
My top three picks are arguably among the best of all time:
- The Phantom of the Opera (1988 – current day): The longest running show in Broadway history. Romance, suspense, chills and thrills, and a fabulous score.
- Les Miserables (1987 – 2003, with 2 additional revivals): A classic for the ages: phenomenal music, unforgettable characters, great comedy, and powerful, tear-jerking moments.
- Cats (1982 – 2000): Catchy tunes and people in cat costumes – what more could you ask for?
I adored these books from the 80s:
- Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (1989)
A richly imagined best-selling novel about the building of a cathedral in 12th century England with fast-paced action, relatable characters, and passionate romance. 2010 mini-series and 2017 video game.
- Lace by Shirley Conran (1982)
A world-famous bestseller, this epic tale with feminist overtones is about four best friends who are brought together by a woman who demands to know which of them is her mother. 1984 mini-series.
- The Windflower by Laura London (1984)
In my opinion, the best romance novel ever written. A young woman is abducted by pirates and embarks on a life-changing adventure. Beautiful prose, passionate chemistry, great twists, and wonderful supporting characters. I enjoy the ride every time.
THE STRUCK BY LOVE SERIES:
SET IN THE AWESOME 80s
Two of my romance novels are set in the 80s and grounded in the pop culture of the times. I hope that reading them will feel like traveling back in time and, like me, make you a little bit nostalgic for the 80s!
Floating on Air is about a radio deejay who embarks on a thrilling, long distance love affair with a charismatic entrepreneur, a relationship that plays havoc with her carefully controlled life and heart.
In Two Week Deal, a fiercely independent graphic artist gets the opportunity of a lifetime working with the headstrong owner of an advertising agency. But can business and pleasure mix?
DEAR READERS AND 80s FANS: I HOPE YOU ENJOYED THIS POST!
If so, I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave a comment below.
What do you love about the 80s? Do you have special memories to share? Please share your take on this unforgettable era. I look forward to hearing from you.
And check out my website to find out more about Floating on Air and Two Week Deal!
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Syrie, great job putting this together; such a fun read!
Thanks, Joanna. It was a lot of fun to write! Brings back such wonderful memories!