Life was much simpler in the 1980s. It was a time when blogs didn't exist, social media was 20 years away and cell phones were the size of bricks (and very few people actually had them). Fans of ABC's "The Goldbergs" get a taste of that magical decade weekly. With the '80s-set show about to debut its third season on Sept. 23, 2015, we're taking a look back at the biggest pop-culture moments of the decade. First up: the launch of MTV, the network that helped shaped '80s culture. MTV debuted on Aug. 1, 1981, with the words, "Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll." The first music video was fitting: "Video Killed The Radio Star" by The Buggles. VJs, or "video jockeys," guided viewers through hours of music videos. For all you kids out there, know that MTV actually stands for "music television," because believe it or not, the network actually played music videos for a few decades.
The royal wedding
St. Paul's Cathedral in London was THE spot to be on July 29, 1981. That was the day that Princess Diana and Prince Charles tied the knot. An estimated global TV audience of 750 million watched the nuptials. That, ladies and gentleman, is must-see TV! The event, dubbed "the wedding of the century," was attended by 3,500 guests. Charles and Diana welcomed a son, Prince William, the following year. In 1984, they welcomed a second child, Prince Harry.
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1980 Olympic hockey team beats the Soviets
"Do you believe in miracles?" That was the enthusiastic rhetorical question that was asked as the underdog United States hockey team defeated the dominant U.S.S.R. hockey team in the 1980 Winter Olympics. The country at the time was plagued by Cold War tensions and needed a pick-me-up. No one ever thought it would come from a group of collegiate players who weren't expected to put up much of a fight. The American team ended up winning the gold medal against Finland, but the game against the Soviet team quickly became known as the "Miracle On Ice." There's even a movie about it.
Who shot J.R.?
In 1980, the TV show "Dallas" ended its third season with a heck of a cliffhanger. There was a murder attempt on the show's villlain J.R. Ewing, who was played by Larry Hagman, but no on knew who did it. For eight months, until the fourth episode of the fourth season revealed the culprit, the show successfully used the catchphrase "Who Shot J.R.?" The catchphrase even made its way into the 1980 Presidential election with the Republicans disturbing buttons that said, "A Democrat shot J.R." Spoiler alert (several decades later): It was Kristin Shepard (played by Mary Crosby), J.R.'s sister-in-law and former mistress.
The Space Shuttle Challenger explosion
Up until 9/11, this was the most significant "Where were you when it happened?" moment for Generations X and Y. On Jan. 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded in mid-air 73 seconds after blast off. The launch was being carried live by news programs across the globe, so the world watched the shuttle disintegrate over the Atlantic Ocean. Seven crew members died, including Christa McAuliffe, who would have been the first teacher in space.
Jane Fonda workout videos
You can't talk about the '80s and not think about those incredible Jane Fonda workout videos. The actress was a fitness guru who made tape after tape after tape (yes, of the VHS kind) showing herself leading workouts that people would do at home. Her first tape, "Jane Fonda's Workout," hit the market in 1982 and sold more a million copies. She would release 23 workout videos in all.
John Hughes movies
John Hughes was one of several men who owned cinema in the '80s… and he wasn't even in front of the camera! Hughes was the director of "Sixteen Candles," "The Breakfast Club" (pictured), "Pretty in Pink," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "The Great Outdoors" and pretty much every other cult classic from the '80s. He left an indelible mark on the decade.
It still stands as the most-watched finale of any television series ever: A record-breaking 125 million viewers tuned in for the 1983 finale of "M*A*S*H," the Korean War-based sitcom that dominated airwaves in the '70s. Only Super Bowl XLIV in 2010 has ever had a bigger audience.
John Lennon's murder
It was a sports broadcaster who broke the news on Dec. 8, 1980, that John Lennon, a member of the Beatles, had been gunned down outside his New York City apartment and was dead. Sports broadcasting legend Howard Cosell informed his audience of the tragic murder while on air with the late Frank Gifford during "Monday Night Football." It was later discovered that John was killed by a crazed fan named Mark David Chapman. Six hours before he was gunned down, John had autographed an album for his killer.
Madonna's VMAs performance
Madonna was certainly known by 1984, but that was the year she established herself as a serious force to be reckoned with thanks to her antics at the very first MTV Video Music Awards that September. After emerging from an oversized wedding cake clad in a lacy wedding dress and wearin g belt that read "Boy Toy," she performed her new song, "Like A Virgin," while writhing around on the floor. It's still arguably the most famous VMAs performance ever.
The rise of NWA
From 1986 until 1991, NWA was a driving force on the emerging hip-hop music scene. Their groundbreaking 1988 gangsta rap album "Straight Outta Compton" was one of the first to be labeled with the black-and-white "Parental Advisory" stickers made famous in the '80s. The group was incredibly controversial but also spoke about real-life situations that affected black youth, earning them a place as one of the most influential groups in hip-hop ever. In 2015, the hugely successful movie "Straight Outta Compton" told their story, earning them a new legion of fans.
In 1989, David Hasselhoff began patrolling the beaches of Los Angeles County in "Baywatch." The show stumbled out of the gate but eventually became a global phenomenon with the help of Pamela Anderson, Yasmine Bleeth and David Charvet running up and down the beach in slow motion. The show, at one point, was one of the most-watched programs in the world.
Phoebe Cates and her red bikini
It was one scene in one movie in 1982 that had teenage boys going crazy for years: Phoebe Cates, in her red bikini, gets out of a pool and takes her top off. That one-minute moment became legend. Rolling Stone once called the scene in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" the "most memorable bikini-drop in cinema history."
Baby Jessica's rescue
Americans were glued to their television sets for 58 hours as rescue workers tried to save an 18-month-old girl known as Baby Jessica who'd fallen into a well in her aunt's backyard on Oct. 14, 1987. The rescue attempt of Jessica McClure turned into a media circus as the 24-hour news cycle was starting to find its legs, with CNN airing around-the-clock coverage. After Jessica was saved, a photographer snapped an image of the little girl in a rescuer's arms. The photograph won a Pulitzer Prize.
Hulk Hogan. The Ultimate Warrior. Macho Man. Rowdy Roddy Piper. All these professional wrestlers became household names in the '80s as they body slammed and elbow dropped their way to stardom. The WWF, later renamed the WWE, was extremely popular in the '80s, and fans at the time believed the drama was real. In 1985, the WWE introduced Wrestlemania, a huge event featuring its top talent, and saw the Hulkster and Mr. T defeat Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff in its finale match. There have now been 31 Wrestlemanias (and counting).
The "Risky Business" dance
A little-known actor named Tom Cruise donned just a collared button-down shirt, socks and underwear when he burst into the mainstream consciousness in 1983 lip-synching to Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock & Roll" in "Risky Business." Tom is still asked about that one-minute segment to this day and it's been recreated too many times to count. But nothing will ever top the original.
Big hair ruled
Anyone have any Aqua Net? It started in the late '70s but the glam-metal scene really found its stride in the early '80s. Hair band members like Motley Crue, Ratt and Poison teased their long locks sky-high and shredded on the guitar. Often times the musicians wore makeup too. A few of the old metal holdouts still don their long hair today — we're looking at you, Vince Neil and Bret Michaels!