Welcome to the world of big hair, headbands and neon tights. The 80s was an era of over the top, well, everything. This week we will be looking at what the decade had to give other than loads of spandex and hairspray – and the top song of each year to add a little nostalgia.
1980 – Cobalt-oxide Cathode and Blondie
The cobalt-oxide cathode is a crucial component to the now widely used lithium-ion batteries that are used in every single battery used in smartphones, laptops and electric cars today.
Top song in 1980: Blondie – Call Me
1981 – MTV and Joan Jet
It’s no surprise that the iconic Music Television was an 80s brainchild. MTV first aired in August 1981 and the first video to be played was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles. MTV helped launch numerous musicians’ careers but sadly, today there is no more music on MTV.
Top song in 1981: I love Rock n Roll – Joan Jet and the Blackhearts
1982 – The Artificial Heart and Michael Jackson
Dr. Robert Jarvik invented the world’s first artificial heart which was crucial for patients waiting for heart donors. The first temporary artificial hearts were successfully implanted in a dentist from Seattle.
Top song in 1982: Billy Jean – Michael Jackson
1983 –Microsoft Word and The Police
The trusty essay-writing, document-creating program was given away free with the 1983’s edition of PC World as Microsoft Multi-Tool Word. It was the first of the text editing programs that was used with a computer mouse and featured the ability to undo typing and to display bold, italic, and underlined text.
Top song of 1983: Every Breath You Take – The Police
1984 – DNA Fingerprinting and Tina Turner
The staple of any CSI episode – DNA Fingerprinting. The technique to narrow down the DNA sequence to a manageable discernable amount was devised by Molecular biologist Alec Jeffreys. His techniques would forever change the criminal justice system.
Top song in 1984: What’s Love Got To Do With It? – Tina Turner
1985 – Microsoft Windows and Dire Straits
The brainchild of Bill Gates, the first Microsoft Windows was released in ‘85. It was an iconic moment for the tech industry as the new system relied heavily on the use of a mouse to input information, while other systems still typically used keyboards.
Top song in 1985: Money For Nothing – Dire Straits
1986 – Electronic Mailing List and Run-D.M.C
Those wonderful spam emails and newsletters we now know and love-hate was all thanks to Éric Thomas. He developed LISTSERV, the first automated mailing list management application. Before 1986, people had to be manually added or removed from a mailing list.
Top song 1986: Walk This Way – Run-D.M.C.
1987 – The Disposable Camera and U2
The must-have item, that each one of us had at one point in our lives, an iconic moment in photography, was the disposable camera. Kodak released the first consumer-ready disposable camera called “The Fling”; it had 24 shots.
Top song of 1986: With or Without You – U2
1988 – Internet Virus and Tracy Chapman
Showcasing the vulnerabilities in remotely connected computers with the release of the first virus that doesn’t require any sort of hardware for transfer known as the Morris worm. It was created by Grad student Robert Morris. Within the first 15 hours, 2,000 computers were infected, many of them unsalvageable. He was the first person to be charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Top song of 1988: Fast Car – Tracy Chapman
1989 – Nintendo Gameboy and Madonna
Founded in 1889 the Nintendo company released one of it’s most famous and popular creations a 100 years later. The Nintendo Gameboy. This handheld personal gaming device was a big hit and players could now play their favorite Mario Bros and Tetris games anywhere.
Top song of 1989: Like a Prayer – Madonna
Most of our readers being either 80s or 90s kids will start feeling the nostalgia creep in as we edge into the good ol’ days. Next week we will take a look at the decade that brought us hit movies like The Titanic and the music of The Backstreet Boys and, the still wholesome, Britney Spears. So dig out your dungarees and glitter and get ready to Spice up Your Life!