20 Facts: The Year 1980

Yes folks, It’s time to get the Nostalgia and History vibes flowing again. I would like start this post of by including a quote from the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” I tend to agree with this statement. Today we tackle the year that was 1980. I was only 3 years old in 1980 so I have a very vague recollection of events that occurred in this year. I hope you find the 20 facts contained in this post about this year informative and interesting. History has always fascinated me, and I’m sure that it has the same effect on many of you reading this post

Here are 20 Facts about the year that was 1980:

  • In 1980 the Summer Olympics were held in Moscow (then in the USSR) and the Winter Olympics were held in Lake Placid, New York in the United States. The United States led a boycott of the Moscow games in protest of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.
  • On December the 8th, 1980 musician and peace activist John Lennon was shot outside his apartment in New York City.
  • Led Zeppelin disbanded in 1980 following the death of their drummer John Bonham.
  • Cable News Network (CNN) was official launched on the 1st of June 1980. CNN was the first channel in television history to broadcast 24 hour News and the first all-news channel in the United States.
  • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes back was released in 1980 and was the biggest grossing movie of that year, raking in over $290 million.
  • Robert De Niro won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Raging Bull. The film Ordinary People won the Academy Award for Best Picture in the same year.
  • The Earth’s population topped the 4.4 billion mark in 1980.
  • In South Africa, a mine lift cage fell at the Vaal Riefs gold mine (killing 23 people), the ANC released a statement published by their imprisoned leader Nelson Mandela, the South African Gran Prix was held at Kyalami, the British Lions Rugby tour went ahead despite Anti-Apartheid protests and Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall was banned because the government feared that it might be used as a song of liberty by black school children.
  • Zimbabwe gained independence from the United Kingdom. Robert Mugabe is sworn in as the prime minister of the new country (and he’s still the president of the country today – 32 years later).
  • The best-selling arcade game of all-time Pac-Man was released in 1980.
  • AC/DC front man Bon Scott died on the 19th of February 1980 in London. The band releases the Back In Black album in the same year.
  • South African model Shashi Naidoo, Katee Sackhoff (of Battlestar Gallactica fame), Laura Prepon (of That 70s Show fame), Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen, Swedish Model Elin Nordegren, Chelsea Clinton, South African swimmer Roland Schoeman, American Actress Kristen Bell, American actress Zooey Deschanel and Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin were all born in 1980.
  • Ronald Reagan was elected as the President of the USA in 1980.
  • Janice Brown, a former teacher, made the first long-distance solar-powered flight in the Solar Challenger in 1980.
  • Voyager I reached Saturn and returned data on it’s 14 moons as well as its more than 1,000 rings in November 1980.
  • Film maker Alfred Hitchcock and Olympic Athlete Jesse Owens both died in 1980.
  • The United States broke diplomatic ties with Iran in 1980.
  • Mount Saint Helens (in Washington State in the USA) erupted in May 1980.
  • Iraq invaded Iran in 1980, triggering the start of the 8 year long Iran / Iraq war.
  • The Broadway musical Grease closed its run of 3,388 performances in 1980 (making it the longest running show on Broadway up until that time).

There you go, 20 Facts from the year 1980. If you have anything to add to this post, please share it with the readers of Running Wolf’s Rant by commenting here. Also feel free to share this post with your friends on Facebook / Twitter.

Watch this space for regular updates in the Facts category on Running Wolf’s Rant.

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Henno Kruger
Blogger, Desktop Activist, Twitter / Facebook Addict, Music Festival Addict, Avid lover of South African music, Founder and owner of Running Wolf's Rant and co-founder of SA Music Zone
Henno Kruger

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