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The 1980s Portal

From left, clockwise: The first Space Shuttle, Columbia, lifts off in 1981; American president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev eases tensions between the two superpowers, leading to the end of the Cold War; The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 is considered to be one of the most momentous events of the 1980s; In 1981, the IBM Personal Computer is released; In 1985, the Live Aid concert is held in order to fund relief efforts for the famine in Ethiopia during the time Mengistu Haile Mariam ruled the country; Ukraine and much of the world is filled with radioactive debris from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster; The Iran–Iraq War leads to over one million dead and $1 trillion spent.

The 1980s (pronounced "nineteen-eighties", shortened to "the '80s") was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1980, and ended on December 31, 1989.

Selected article

Live Aid concert after dark at JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, PA
Live Aid was a dual-venue concert held on 13 July 1985, and an ongoing music-based fundraising initiative. The original event was organised by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds for relief of the ongoing Ethiopian famine. Billed as the "global jukebox", the event was held simultaneously at Wembley Stadium in London, England, United Kingdom (attended by 72,000 people) and John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States (attended by about 100,000 people). On the same day, concerts inspired by the initiative happened in other countries, such as Australia and Germany. It was one of the largest-scale satellite link-ups and television broadcasts of all time: an estimated global audience of 1.9 billion, across 150 nations, watched the live broadcast.

The 1985 Live Aid concert was conceived as a follow-on to the successful charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?" which was also the brainchild of Geldof and Ure. In October 1984, images of millions of people starving to death in Ethiopia were shown in the UK in Michael Buerk's BBC News reports on the 1984 famine. Bob Geldof saw the report, and called Midge Ure from Ultravox, and together they quickly co-wrote the song, "Do They Know It's Christmas?" in the hope of raising money for famine relief. Geldof then contacted colleagues in the music industry and persuaded them to record the single under the title 'Band Aid' for free. On 25 November 1984, the song was recorded at Sarm West Studios in Notting Hill, London, and was released four days later. It stayed at number-one for five weeks in the UK, was Christmas number one, and became the fastest-selling single ever in Britain and raised £8 million, rather than the £70,000 Geldof and Ure had initially expected.

Selected image

Milli Vanilli with Grammy president C. Michael Greene
Credit: Alan Light

Milli Vanilli with Grammy president C. Michael Greene.

Selected biography

Rob Halford from Judas Priest in 1984
Robert John Arthur "Rob" Halford (born 25 August 1951) is an English singer and songwriter, who is best known as the lead vocalist for the Grammy Award-winning heavy metal band Judas Priest and famed for his powerful wide ranging operatic voice. AllMusic says of Halford: "There have been few vocalists in the history of heavy metal whose singing style has been as influential and instantly recognizable", possessing a voice which is "able to effortlessly alternate between a throaty growl and an ear-splitting falsetto". Halford was voted number 33 in the greatest voices in rock by Planet Rock listeners in 2009. In addition to his work with Judas Priest, he has been involved with several side projects, including Fight, 2wo and Halford.

Halford was born in Sutton Coldfield, but raised in Walsall, a town to the northwest of Birmingham in England's West Midlands. His early influences included soul screamers, such as Little Richard, Janis Joplin and Robert Plant. He sang for numerous bands including Athens Wood, Abraxas, Thark and Hiroshima.


Did you know...

...that the first designer babies were created in a laboratory in late 1989?
Other "Did you know" facts... Read more...

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