1981: Top Songs, Movies, TV Shows, Sporting Events, World Events And More

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Well, we made it! Through the 60’s, the 70’s and now it’s time to party! The decade started out with the U.S. defeating the Russians in hockey for the first time ever for Gold at the Olympics in Lake Placid NY. It was the decade that this thing called a ‘computer’ would begin to find its way into homes, music television would show you the music, cable and satellite TV would begin to find their way into people’s homes. Video games would become more or a regular thing in our homes, cell phones as big as bricks entered our lives, wireless telephones would find their way into our lives and push-button phones began to replace the rotary phone. The space shuttle program implemented by former President Richard Nixon became a reality, the 1985 Super Bowl champs, the Chicago Bears were the most interesting sports characters of the decade and had their own video to prove it. It was a decade of celebs coming together for good causes with U.S.A For Africa’s “We Are The World”, Band-Aid’s “Do They Know Its Christmas”, Farm-Aid and more.

Check out everything that was from this decade, year by year – from the sporting events to world events, the top TV shows, songs, movies and more.

As you’re going back in time, think about some of the things in our lives today that you don’t see appearing here because…. they didn’t exist yet. Things like the top selling computers, tablets, laptops, microwaves, cable provider, wireless company and more.

Let us know some of the things that come to mind below.

For more great memories from any of the years The Beat’s music focuses on, click a year below and we’ll transport you back in time to see everything you may remember or have forgotten.

1970 |1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979

1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989

1. Bette Davis Eyes » Kim Carnes
2. Endless Love » Diana Ross & Lionel Richie
3. Lady » Kenny Rogers
4. (Just Like) Starting Over » John Lennon
5. Jessie’s Girl » Rick Springfield
6. Celebration » Kool & The Gang
7. Kiss On My List » Daryl Hall & John Oates
8. I Love A Rainy Night » Eddie Rabbitt
9. 9 To 5 » Dolly Parton
10. Keep On Loving You » REO Speedwagon

Album of the Year: Double Fantasy, John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Best New Artist: Sheena Easton
Best Pop Duo or Group: “Boy From New York City,” Manhattan Transfer
Best Pop Female Vocal: Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music Live On Broadway, Lena Horne
Best Pop Male Vocal: Breakin Away, Al Jarreau
Best Rock Duo or Group: “Don’t Stand So Close to Me,” Police
Best Rock Female Vocal: Fire and Ice,” Pat Benatar
Best Rock Male Vocal: “Jessie’s Girl,” Rick Springfield
Record of the Year: “Bette Davis Eyes,” Kim Carnes
Song of the Year: “Bette Davis Eyes”

1 Raiders of the Lost Ark Par. $209,562,121
2 On Golden Pond Uni. $119,285,432
3 Superman II WB $108,185,706
4 Arthur WB $95,461,682
5 Stripes Col. $85,297,000
6 The Cannonball Run Fox $72,179,579
7 Chariots of Fire Col. $58,972,904
8 For Your Eyes Only MGM $54,812,802
9 The Four Seasons Uni. $50,427,646
10 Time Bandits Emb $42,365,581

Body Heat / Ghost Story / Halloween II / Friday The 13th II / The Final Conflict: Omen III
Clash of the Titans / Absence Of Malice / Reds / Taps / Reds / Sharky’s Machine
Excalibur / History Of The World Part I / Bustin’ Loose / Endless Love / Thief
Thief / Neighbors / Modern Problems / An American Werewolf In London / Fort Apache, The Bronx

Winners in CAPS
Best Picture:
“CHARIOTS OF FIRE”, “Atlantic City”, “On Golden Pond”, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, “Reds”
HENRY FONDA in “On Golden Pond”, Warren Beatty in “Reds”, Burt Lancaster in “Atlantic City”, Dudley Moore in “Arthur”, Paul Newman in “Absence of Malice”
KATHARINE HEPBURN in “On Golden Pond”, Diane Keaton in “Reds”, Marsha Mason in “Only When I Laugh”, Susan Sarandon in “Atlantic City”, Meryl Streep in “The French Lieutenant’s Woman”
Supporting Actor:
JOHN GIELGUD in “Arthur”, James Coco in “Only When I Laugh”, Ian Holm in “Chariots of Fire”, Jack Nicholson in “Reds”, Howard E. Rollins, Jr. in “Ragtime”
Supporting Actress:
MAUREEN STAPLETON in “Reds”, Melinda Dillon in “Absence of Malice”, Jane Fonda in “On Golden Pond”, Joan Hackett in “Only When I Laugh”, Elizabeth McGovern in “Ragtime”
WARREN BEATTY for “Reds”, Hugh Hudson for “Chariots of Fire”, Louis Malle for “Atlantic City”, Mark Rydell for “On Golden Pond”, Steven Spielberg for “Raiders of the Lost Ark”

Dallas / 60 Minutes / Three’s Company / CBS NFL FootBall / The Jeffersons
Joanie Loves Chachi / The Dukes of Hazzard / Alice / The ABC Monday Night Movie
Too Close for Comfort / M*A*S*H / One Day at a Time / NFL Monday Night Football
Falcon Crest / Archie Bunker’s Place / The Love Boat / Hart to Hart
Trapper John M.D. / Diff’rent Strokes / Private Benjamin

Best Drama – Hill Street Blues
Best Actor – Daniel J. Travanti, Hill Street Blues
Best Actress – Michael Learned, Nurse
Supporting Actor – Michael Conrad, Hill Street Blues
Supporting Actress – Nancy Marchand, Lou Grant

Best Comedy – Barney Miller
Best Actor – Alan Alda, M*A*S*H
Best Actress – Carol Kane, Taxi: “Simka Returns”
Supporting Actor – Christopher Lloyd, Taxi
Supporting Actress – Loretta Swit, M*A*S*H
Best Variety – Night of 100 Stars

Kentucky Derby Winner: Pleasant Colony – Trainer: J. Campo – Jockey: J. Velasquez

Superbowl XVI: San Francisco 26 – Cincinatti 21
Pro MVP: Ken Anderson, Cincinnati, QB

College Football: #1 Clemson
Heisman Trophy: Marcus Allen, USC, RB
Rose Bowl: Washington 28, Iowa 0
Orange Bowl: Clemson 22, Nebraska 15
Cotton Bowl: Texas 14, Alabama 12
Sugar Bowl: Pittsburgh 24, Georgia 20

NBA Championship: Boston Celtics Vs. Houston Rockets
Winner: Boston. in 6
Boston Coach: Bill Fitch
Houston Coach: Del Harris
MVP: Julius Erving, Philadelphia, F Average Points Per Game: 24.6
NCAA National Champions: Indiana: 26W – 9L / Coach: Bobby Knight

World Series
L.A. Dodgers Vs. New York Yankees
Winner: L.A.in 6
L.A. Coach: Tommy La Sorda
New York Coach: Bob Lemon

National League
MVP: Mike Schmidt, Philadelphia (3B)
Rookie of the Year: Fernanda Valenzuela L.A. (P)

American League
MVP: Rollie Fingers, Mil. (P)
Rookie of the Year: Dave Righetti, NY (P)


WBMX PD Lee Michaels Helps Create The Hot Mix 5 And Launches Mix Shows on WBMX, One Of The Only In The Country

Ronald Reagan Inaugurated As 40th President

Iran Releases 52 Hostages

President Shot In Chest, Brady Suffers Head Wound

John Hinkley Captured, Charged With Attempted Assassination OF President Reagan

Israel Bombs Iraqi Nuclear Reactor

Walkway At Kansas City’s Hyatt Regency Collapses, 111 Die

Prince Charles And Lady Diana Spencer Marry

Reagan Fires Striking Air Controllers

Robert Crippen and John Young orbit earth 36 Times on Columbia

Reagan lifts grain embargo

Pope Paul II is wounded in assassination attempt

Sandra Day O’Conner become first Supreme Court Justice

A seven week baseball strike, longest in history causes a “split” season

John MacEnroe, The “Ugly America” wins his third straight Wimbledon

The largest merger in history occurred when DuPont aquires Conoco for 7.9 Billion

First test tube baby is born

MTV debuts.

A fury arises when it is revealed that the administration wanted to count ketchup as a vegetable in subsidized school lunches.

New games: Donkey Kong, Ms. Pac Man and Asteroids.

Nike ad: We have liftoff.

288K memory chip is launched from IBM

Quote: “Honey I forgot to duck.” – Ronald Reagan to Nancy after being shot.

Collectable cat books are big – Garfield, 101 Uses for a Dead Cat, Fat Cats

Walter Cronkite retires as CBS anchor and is replaced by Dan Rather.

Voyager 2 takes more than 1,800 photos of Saturn which temperature is -300 degrees farenhight and has 1,000 mph winds

The combination of Nancy Reagan’s elegance and Lady Di and Prince Charles’s wedding makes a return of opulent and royal styles.

NutraSweet is introduced.

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President: Ronald W. Reagan
Vice President: George Bush

Population: 229,465,714
Life expectancy: 74.1 years

High: 1024
Low: 824

Federal spending: $678.25 billion
Federal debt: $994.8 billion
Inflation: 10.2%
Consumer Price Index: 90.9
Unemployment: 7.1%

Cost of a new home: $83,000.00
Cost of a new car: $7,200.00
Median Household Income: $19,074.00
Cost of a first-class stamp: $0.15 (went to 18 cents in March and 20 cents in Nov.)
Cost of a gallon of regular gas: $1.38
Cost of a dozen eggs: $0.90
Cost of a gallon of Milk: $2.22

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