1984: A Case for the Best Year Ever

There is something about the year 1984 that has imprinted on me.  Not in the way people say….oh, that was the best year of my life because_(something specific)_happened.  Let’s face it, I was only 6 years old; nothing monumental was going on in my world other than hating on an E.T. booksack I was forced to carry to school because it was a gift. Screw E.T…..that thing was ugly and still gives me the creeps.  But collectively, there was just some really cool shit that happened in that year that makes it, in my opinion, the coolest year on record in my lifetime. Stay with me.


First, from a pop culture standpoint alone, this year is solid gold. Yeah, narrowing down any year from the 80′s as THE year of best music is like trying to decide which color M&M tastes the best, but there really were some fantastic songs from this year. For example:

“When Doves Cry”…..Prince
“Karma Chameleon”…..Culture Club
“Like A Virgin”…..Madonna
“I Feel For You”…..Chaka Khan
“Missing You”…..John Waite
“Let’s Hear It For The Boy”…..Deniece Williams
“Time After Time”…..Cyndi Lauper
“Hold Me Now”…..Thompson Twins
“Oh Sherrie”…..Steve Perry
“99 Luftballons”…..Nena  (I love this song-my best friend hates it)
“I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues”…..Elton John
“Girls Just Want To Have Fun”…..Cyndi Lauper  (*This was my first ever vinyl record and I played it mercilessly.  Even choreographed a dance to it.)
“Purple Rain”…..Prince & The Revolution
“Almost Paradise”…..Mike Reno & Ann Wilson (I remember this being on an episode of Guiding Light)
“I Can’t Hold Back”…..Survivor
“You Might Think”…..The Cars
“Thriller”…..Michael Jackson  (This song alone may secure this entire argument)
“Let The Music Play”…..Shannon (What counted as “techno” music back then)
“Cruel Summer”…..Bananarama
“Footloose”…..Kenny Loggins  (Don’t act like you STILL don’t LOVE this song and dance when it comes on)

You know that one Christmas carol that lives a knot in your stomach each year?  Well, you can thank Band-Aid for that! Founded in 1984, this charity supergroup featuring leading British and Irish musicians raised money for anti-poverty efforts in Ethiopia by releasing the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” for the Christmas market that year.  Not to be outdone, the U.S. answered with “We are the World” the following year.  Charity one-uppism….damn, weren’t the 80′s great?

And then a few movies from that year:

Beverly Hills Cop
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
The Karate Kid
Police Academy
Purple Rain
Revenge of the Nerds
The Terminator
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Sixteen Candles

Best scene from one of the best movies ever, Legend.

The above list was compiled from a Billboard ranking site.  However, I do want to mention one very important movie not on the list.  The Ridley Scott fantasy masterpiece “Legend,” which although it was not released until 1985, was produced throughout 1984.  So, I’m counting it as another plus for that year.  I can do that….it’s my rules here.

Rainbow freaking awesome Brite


You know what else was released in 1984?  That most awesome, colorful, spirited girl borne straight from the band of colors herself, freaking Rainbow Brite!  Introduced as a character by Hallmark in 1983, she made her animated debut in a syndicated prime-time special, “Peril in the Pits,” first aired on June 27, 1984. Guess who got the BIG Rainbow Brite and Starlight horse for 1984 Christmas, solidifying 1984 as best Christmas on record to this day?  >THIS GIRL<

1984 World’s Fair


Not convinced yet?  Well, here’s a few other things to consider.  Do you have vague memories of a freakishly large mermaid and merman from your childhood, or a pelican in a top hat against a wavy blue backdrop?  Chances are, you are having flashbacks from the 1984 World’s Fair.  I really wish I could remember more about this event, and there is surprisingly little about it on the internet.  Held in New Orleans, I remember anticipating it for MONTHS beforehand.  My mom kept telling me about some “kiddie wash” which was supposed to be like a car wash for kids.  It turned out to be kinda lame, basically a tunnel that dumped buckets of water on you, but nevertheless, I didn’t get out much, so this whole affair mesmerizing.  I also recall riding on the monorail and on some kind of log/water ride in which a Michael Jackson hologram appeared at the end of it.  And of course those awesome mermaid statues that my dad insisted on taking pictures directly in front of the mermaid’s boob.  Good times.

Like Apple computers and technology? How about advertising? Well, 1984 was kind of an important year. In 1984, Apple next launched the Macintosh. Its debut was announced by the now famous $1.5 million television commercial “1984″. It was directed by Ridley Scott, (the Legend director!), aired during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII on January 22, 1984, and is now considered a watershed event for Apple’s success and a “masterpiece”.

Still not buying by 1984 argument?  Well, you are probably a Republican.  In which case, Ronald Reagan was elected to his second term that year.  There….I knew that would do it.

About Venessa Lewis

A 36 year old graphic designer from Denham Springs, Louisiana. Mother of a 6-year old boy and a 1 year old baby girl. I love 80's music, history, photography and social media. View all posts by Venessa Lewis

3 responses to “1984: A Case for the Best Year Ever

  • Brent Lewis

    In 1984 I was eleven years old, in the 4th grade, and looked forward to everyday my friend Scotty Crouse let me wear his Michael Jackson “Beat It” jacket to school. He never would let me wear the “Thriller” jacket though.

  • mhynson1

    Wow, that WAS a pretty good year (even if I was 4 years old).

    They must have been trying to make up for the the whole “Big Brother is Watching You” thing. I think they did a pretty good job.

  • Linda RN

    It’s odd…..when I picked “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” for your ringtone on my iPhone, I had NO IDEA that you had such a ‘connection’ to it. It just seemed appropriate for you.

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