With the whirlwind of events that we have gone through in the past year, it’s pretty easy to feel nostalgic for what seemed like a simpler time. The 1980s, in particular, were a decade that left a wistful mark - characterized by a boom in the gaming industry, both in arcades and at home, bigger and wilder hairstyles accompanied with some pretty memorable and colorful fashion, and of course, the unforgettable time of Star Wars, punk rock, and the Walkman. These radical photos will transport you back to a time when everything seemed so much more fun, exciting, and optimistic. So put on your oversized blazers and poof skirts as you get a rare inside glimpse of life during one of the craziest decades!
What A Soda Aisle Looked Like In The ’80s
Judging by the smiling faces of this photo of a mother and her two children at the supermarket's soda aisle, this picture looks like it could have been a great soda ad back in the '80s.
Check out how the soda bottles featured in the photo are made of plastic, instead of glass. Also, the tiny “P” signs between the aisles and the floors suggest that the photo was taken at a Publix, a supermarket that became increasingly popular back in the 1980s.
Friends Tailgating Outside A Bruce Springsteen Concert
Tailgating didn’t always have the meaning it has today, which pretty much means driving way too closely behind someone. Back in the '80s, people used to tailgate at different social gatherings, and concerts made a big part of these gatherings.
Friends, families, and sometimes even strangers would gather behind a car at a parking lot and would socialize with drinks, snacks, and music before attending a concert. In this particular picture, a group of friends was waiting for Bruce Springsteen's concert, as evidenced by the “Springsteen” bumper sticker.
Steve Jobs Riding His Motorcycle
Together with Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs founded Apple Inc. in 1976 and created one of the most emblematic companies in the world of telecommunications. In this photo taken in the early 1980s, Jobs is riding to work on his bicycle, a commute that he would do most days.
He would park the bicycle in the building’s lobby every day after his ride to work, with the aim of inspiring his workers. He apparently saw his BMW as a symbol of craftsmanship. The vintage picture was featured in a 1982 edition of National Geographic.
Tippi Hedren Casually Talking On The Phone Next To Lion
Tippi Hedren was the lead actress in The Birds, Alfred Hitchcock’s movie that gained worldwide fame during the 1960s. During the 1980s, the model and actress decided to use her visibility to fight for animals’ rights, and put much of her time and funds into the world of animal activism.
In this photo, she is talking into a giant cellphone while sitting next to a huge lion circa 1983. The picture was taken at the Shambala Preserve located in California, where she became the president along with Betty White and Lily Tomlin.
Though these days, we’re able to find excellent and easily accessible fitness programs with a simple click on our phones or computers, there is nothing quite like the fitness fever from the '80s. A number of iconic fitness stars emerged during the decade, and several fitness enthusiasts from all over the country relied on their fitness gurus to slip in a gym session.
Heather Locklear was amongst some of the most sought after fitness gurus, after gaining prominence at the end of the 1980s. She even released a series of workout tapes named “Your Personal Workout,” which introduced fans to her workout, including her classic leg warmers and Lycra outfit.
Carrie Fisher Having Fun With A Trash Can
After starring as Princess Leia in the iconic Star Wars franchise starting in 1977, Carrie Fisher began a memorable career and was easily at the height of it during the '80s. Carrie was not only already a recognized excellent actress back then, but she was also pretty known for being a jokester that loved having fun.
She openly had bipolar disorder and used comedy as a way to cope with her struggles. She once shared that because she had a big personality, she allowed herself to make light of her illness instead of going down a dangerous path.
Guardian Angels Riding The Subway In New York
The “Magnificent 13” were a crime-prevention group created by a man called Curtis Silva, that aimed to fight against crime in the New York subway. The group was renamed the Guardian Angels some two years later, creating a memorable logo that involved an eye in a pyramid with angel wings on each side.
Though it wasn’t easy, the organization eventually gained the support and approval from the city’s mayor, after it continued to thrive by arresting several criminals. They expanded to the West Coast in the early 1980s and can be found in dangerous cities all over the world today.
The Gameboy Hype
Though Gameboy was only released around 1989, it’s pretty clear that this photo was snapped not too long after the game was released. The entire family is amazed while looking at the new family's acquisition, including the mother.
In fact, by the looks of it, it seems like the mother is the one playing or showing her kids how and what to play in the console. She certainly looks like she’s taking the entire thing very seriously and they're all having a great time.
A 3D Family Dinner
Many of us might not be aware of the fact that 3D movies have actually existed for decades now, being launched in 1915. Of course the technology back then was far from what we experience in 3D movies today, but still, these movies enjoyed a surge of popularity during the '50s and gained it back during the '80s.
Here, we see a family at the dining table goofing around with their 3D glasses at home, either for fun, or maybe they were about to go see a movie.
Though the “Queen of Pop” continues to hold her title as one of the most iconic musicians today, we often forget about the early beginnings of her career. The singer dropped out of college in 1977 and got on a plane to New York City with the hopes of pursuing her dreams in the music industry. She arrived with $35 in her pocket, but little did she know that she would one day become a millionaire.
She worked several odd jobs until she landed some projects as a backup dancer for known artists. After forming two bands, she decided to go for it as a solo artist, impressing DJ and record producer Mark Kamins, who arranged a meeting that would kickstart Madonna's fruitful career.
The Walkman Era
Though we undeniably have access to an array of new music technologies today, which has made it really comfortable for us to listen to the music that we love anywhere and anytime there is nothing quite like the Walkman.
There is a reason why the Walkman gained so much popularity when it came out, as the music item was in fact revolutionary! In this picture, this boy is definitely living it up with his huge Walkman, which certainly brings back so many memories.
The Royal Wedding
It’s hard to think of anywhere in the world that isn’t familiar with the names Princess Diana and Prince Charles. Though the couple gained increased popularity in the '80s after the wedding of the century, their story regained attention after Netflix’s The Crown recently released its latest season.
As we know though, the couple didn’t particularly have a very fairytale story, which couldn’t have ended up more tragically.
The Opening Of Star Wars Being Filmed
When Star Wars came out in 1977 it became an instant hit. The revolutionary movie caught groups of fans all over the world, who patiently waited for The Empire Strikes Back, which premiered mid-year in 1980. In this photo, the opening of the iconic movie is being filmed, giving us a glimpse of how things were done behind-the-scenes back then.
After all, many steps had to be done manually before we were graced with the technologically advanced wonders of CGI. Nothing like some craftsmanship to make an already iconic movie even more memorable.
A Badass All-Girl Skateboarding Crew
In the early 1980s the group “The Hags” was formed. The Hags was a group of skateboarding women from Los Angeles who had a really cool punk style and made sure to use a very particular canvas patch that easily reflected who they were.
At the time, skateboarding was a male-dominated sport, which actually helped bring The Hags popularity since they stood out in an industry where most sportspeople were boys. The group would frequently attend punk shows, and according to the founder, Sevie Bates, skateboarding was a great avenue for letting go of anger during the '80s.
A Fashion Statement Back In The 80s
The '80s had many fashion statements, and it’s undeniable that these sunglasses were one of them. In fact, if these unusual sunglasses do not scream 1980s style then we don’t know what does! Although the left side of the glasses is not too far apart from the slick sunglasses we wear today, the right, white, triangular frame made a significant statement.
Though to this date, we’re not sure what the hype around it was, we have to admit that the way this guy is rocking them makes us think that the glasses were indeed cool.
Walking And Talking On The Phone
Though this is an extremely “normal” sight nowadays, back in the '80s, it was really rare to see anyone walking and talking on the phone. Some of them did have the luck of having the option to have a device that allowed them to walk and talk, but it was not nearly close to the cellphones that we get to carry around our purses and pockets today.
As we can see from this photo, the phones were far from being convenient, and this photo depicts exactly what it would look like.
A Dad And Son Duo Trade Rides
This son and dad pair pictured here totally depicts the typical '80s hairstyles, clothing, and style. The pair traded rides with the little boy taking over his dad’s Yamaha motorcycle, which was extremely popular at the time, and the dad taking his son’s Big Wheels bike.
The photo seems to have been taken at a happy family moment that resulted in one of the cutest '80s photo ops ever!
Scary Boxed Halloween Costumes
There is nothing too complicated about scary boxed Halloween costumes since they were exactly what they’re called: different themed outfits that came from a box.
They were usually easily accessible at any local store and came with a mask and plastic apron that looked really cheap. Because the costumes were so poorly-detailed, kids were usually left wearing an unrecognizable character that was usually extremely scary. At the time, they were totally in though.
Debbie Harry And Meat Loaf Sitting Next To Each Other
This may come as a surprise to some, but the rockstar Meat Loaf actually started his career as a comedy actor, appearing in the musical comedy Roadie released in 1980. In his first starring role, he played a carefree man who suddenly found himself caught up in roadie life.
Other rock giants joined him in the cast of the famous film, including Roy Orbison and Alice Cooper. When this photo was taken, Debbie Harry, who also starred alongside her bandmates, is sitting at the back of the seat right next to fellow co-star Meat Loaf.
A Very ’80s Family Portrait
Every single thing about this photograph screams the '80s. It does beg the question though, what is the entire family looking at? The very dramatic stare at something in the distance was actually one of the most typical styles for an '80s portrait.
And of course, let’s not forget about the different layers in the photo that basically make the mother look like a ghost, while each of her children holds a Cabbage Patch Kid doll. It’s safe to say that the mullets are just the cherry on top.
The Opening Of The Empire Strikes Back In Houston
And since we are on a Star Wars row, this vintage picture shows us the opening of The Empire Strikes Back in Houston. As expected, tons of people were lined up all the way down the Alabama theater, showing how committed they were to watch the famous film.
The notable theater had been built back in 1939, in the corner of two of the most recognizable roads in Houston, Alabama Street, and Shepherd Drive. Unfortunately, the theatre no longer exists today and was replaced by a Trader Joe’s.
Metallic Suits’ Fashion
You may believe it or not, but at some point in history, metallic suits were an acceptable thing to wear. And of course, we are talking about the '80s decade. In fact, by the look and the smirk on this guy’s face, he seems to be 100% sure that he is rocking the best outfit ever with his shiny suit and plaid tie.
And of course, the suit is made with two horizontal buttons at the bottom very close to the pants, making it even more classic.
Before Pizza Hut Became Just Another Fast Food
Though these days we are much more likely to order from Pizza Hut if we’re sticking to a budget and need a quick food option, back in the 1980s, Pizza Hut was a completely different experience.
The pizza chain was usually associated with a diner experience, filled with waiters, booths, and crusts that were all made from scratch. Families and friends loved hanging out there while eating delicious pizza, playing music in old-fashioned jukeboxes and of course, playing arcade games.
The Typical '80s Punk Rock Couple
Ah, nothing wonderful like the beauty of young romance. By taking one look at this photo it’s easy to see how in love this punk couple is, plus of course, their very distinctive punk rock hairdos.
Back in the '80s, it was extremely common to find youngsters all dolled up with their punk rock outfits, mohawks, and of course, the very specific eyeliner. Back then, kids would take it to Elmer’s glue and would create a look that was not only anti-establishment but also non-conformist.
'80s Kids Playing Pac-Man At An Arcade
When Pac-Man was released in 1980, the game couldn’t have become more popular in a shorter amount of time. The game’s creator, Toru Iwatani, was inspired by pizza when he thought about the game’s main character. He was sitting at a pizza joint when he thought the character would look cool if it reflected a pizza with a slice taken out of it.
The company that produced the game, Namco, aimed to appeal to both boys and girls, and create a mini Pac-Man version so that kids would be able to play the maze game in the comfort of their home.
The Famous '80s Hairdo
To this date, it is still hard to understand how the mullet hairstyle gained so much popularity back in the days. Mullets are basically a synonym of the 1980s decade since the haircut took the world by storm for a long while. The hairstyle consisted of a combination of short hair on the top and the sides of a person’s head, and long hair in the back.
Though David Bowie was way ahead of time when he rocked it in the '70s, 1980s fashion really picked up the mullet fever and had stars such as George Clooney, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Little Richard owning the hairdo.
A Kid Playing Donkey Kong At Home
Kids from the 1980s will most probably remember the nostalgic times of sitting on the floor while playing video games. After all, during that time wireless connections were inexistent, resulting in video game consoles requiring a little bit more flexibility from their players. And since TV screens weren’t as clear as they are today, kids (and sometimes adults) would often choose to sit closer to the screen while they played.
This kid looks like he is playing Donkey Kong, a game that was launched in 1981 and gained popularity right away with its character, Jumpman even getting his own game named Mario Bros.
Roller Skating In The Most '80s Style
Seriously, what screams the 1980s more than a woman roller skating while wearing a Discman? When the Sony Walkman was launched, a musical revolution came about, with Walkmans becoming a must-have throughout the '80s.
Just like that, people began having the option to listen to their favorite music when and where they wanted to, and no one around them would have a say. In this vintage photo, a woman is rollerskating and dancing to the music coming out of her walkman, which is carefully attached to her waistband creating that “cool '80s vibe”.
The New York Restaurant To Go To
Located in the legendary neighborhood of Soho in New York City, Dave Corner’s Luncheon was one of the most known restaurants in the city during the '80s. According to The New Yorker: “The neighborhood was apparently deserted; it turned out that everyone who was ambulatory was inside Dave’s Corner."
And the most incredible thing about it was that the restaurant was the home for people from all walks of life, taxi drivers to white-collar workers alike. Unfortunately, the same spot is now populated by a hotel.
A Peek Into Sesame Street Behind The Scenes
For decades now, kids have been growing up with the educational and entertaining program Sesame Street. The show was actually released in 1969 but became really popular in the early 1980s.
In this picture, we get to see the reality of the behind the scenes set of the show, breaking the mystery around how the furry friends would talk and move. Fun fact, around 50 different characters were actually controlled by just a handful of puppeteers.
The Smurfs have been around for a really long time, and during the '80s, one of the company's biggest hype took place. Brands would use several TV and game characters to appeal to children, and the Smurfs were just a natural choice at the time.
So, it’s not a surprise at all that this little boy got a Smurf drum set on his birthday, and absolutely loved it. But in addition to the Smurfs being a strong reference of the 80s, the deep V-neck shirt that the boy is wearing plus his older sister’s Michael Jackson t-shirt is just some more evidence of the decade.
The E.T Family Photo
Though awkward family photos are not a characteristic that is exclusive to the '80s, the decade did manage to produce its fair share of awkward photos. This strange photo, for example, appears to have been taken while the family is inside a playroom, and a few of them are holding stuffed animals.
And let’s not forget about the life-size E.T. figure posing with the family right at the center, while being dressed in a floral gown and a blonde wig.
Before Pictures Could Be Previewed
Unless you really love vintage cameras, there is a very big probability that whenever you take a photo you preview it right after taking them, either on your phone or a digital camera.
Back in the days though, all one had to do was to take a picture, wait and hope for the best. This children’s birthday photo is a great example of a picture that might have been retaken these days since the kids in it are all doing something completely different.
Sears By The Mall
With the convenience of online shopping and with most of the world being "closed" for so long, we probably barely remember malls. But in this nostalgic '80s photo, we get to see what a mall entrance used to look like back in the '80s, completely packed with shoppers and of course, doors of Sears.
Back then, Sears was definitely the go-to one-stop-shop at any mall, and people from all over would leave their houses to particularly go to the famous store.
Behind The Scenes Of E.T
When Steven Spielberg’s E.T was released back in 1982, the movie gained immediate approval from the public and went on to become one of history’s greatest classics. After being released, the movie became the highest-grossing movie of all time, breaking Jurassic Park’s eleven-year record (which was also a Steven Spielberg movie).
In this picture, we get to see the way filmmakers worked to capture the emblematic bicycle flying scene in front of the moon.
A Group Of Friends In The Bronx
Ah, nothing like a group of '80s buddies having the time of their lives. This group of teens from the Bronx in New York City was pictured having a great time together, and rocking some very '80s choices of clothing, including their high socks and short shorts.
Of course, the hat that is turned to the side is just another typical sign of the nostalgic decade. In case you’re still not convinced, notice that not one single one of the boys has a phone in hand.
The Local Beer League
During the 1980s, it was a custom in many places for men to spend their Saturdays playing slow-pitch baseball in what was called the “beer league”. This league usually included friends and co-workers who wanted to not only hang out but to also play a chilled game of baseball while drinking crazy amounts of beer.
This picture gives us a glimpse into what many beer leagues looked like, with their matching t-shirts, beards, mustaches, and of course, a few beer bellies.
Van Halen’s Hotel Room
In this image, we get to see the state of David Lee Roth of Van Halen’s hotel room after an entire night partying. Van Halen had made a pretty impressive name for himself in the rock n rock world by the year 1982 and was known for having a lot of fun almost on a daily basis.
Still though, while Van Halen was considered a band with a sort of hedonistic, the state of this hotel room might be fairly mild in comparison to some other rockstars.
A Man Posing With His Bus
The excitement around Vans and mini-Vans has come and gone several times throughout the decades, and throughout the '80s they were all the rage.
Vans gained popularity amongst young people during the decade, whether because they wanted a bigger ride for their families, or they wanted to travel across the country with friends. In this picture, we get to see a proud guy posing next to his red van in the middle of his driveway.
Showing His Kid Some Spark
A couple of decades ago, parenting looked really different from today. Values and certain tactics may have remained, but with technological advances and certain city developments, children no longer grow up the same way '80s and '90s kids used to.
For example, some might say that parents these days wouldn’t necessarily show their baby a sparkler so close to their face. But this '80s dad proves that not everything is so dangerous.