Our 80s Influences Survey asked our 80's Server friends to talk about where we would be without the influences of the 80s!
Here's what you had to say!
Who do you think was the most influential solo music artist of the 80s and why?
Renee chose our most popular pick, Madonna (along with 509 other respondants): "I wanted to put my two favorite artists, David Bowie or Talking Heads, but the one that prevailed in the 80s was Madonna. She took the standards to which women could express themselves to a new level. She said just because you are strong doesn't make you a bitch or a slut, and if people call you that, so what. Who says it is always a bad thing? She empowered a new generation of strong little girls."
Gap_girl also chose Madonna and had this to say: "I think that Madonna with her style, and her ways of always reinventing herself not mention constantly pushing the envelope influenced a lot of the solo acts that followed her. I think that she paved the way for a lot of female solo artist's today as well, such as Britney, Christina, and even Jennifer Lopez. I think she made it okay for women to be sexy and talented and put that in the publics face."
Caroline chose Michael Jackson: "Michael really bridged funk, soul and disco into 80's pop music. He was extremely innovative and was an amazing song writer and performer. He had all the flare and presence of a huge mega-star, but he also had an honesty, and softness, and trust about him that made him endearing."
Shelby picked Prince: "He took all forms of music and combined them in a mindblowing fusion everybody could dig."
Cassie chose Debbie Gibson: "...her jean jackets"
Mark picked Bruce Springsteen: "'Born in the USA' made straight up rock and roll cool again after all the synth crap of the early 80s. 'The River', 'Nebraska' and 'Tunnel of Love' kept him on the charts the entire decade, and he's still going strong."
Who do you think was the most influential television personality of the 80s and why?
J.B. chose Bill Cosby: "His family style show changed the way most sitcoms were developed for years to come. in fact, we still feel the influence today. look at all of the comics who are still doing family comedy shows."
Chris also picked Bill Cosby: "The Cosby Show was on every Thursday night for almost every year of the decade! This show was a constant... kind of like the "Friends" of the 80's. Although i am not African American, you could relate to the show...the family dynamic, ect... here was a show centered around a happy and functional family in a era obsessed with divorce!"
Erica chose Michael J. Fox: "Because he was a young man trying to be successful like many young people at the time, he had to prove himself to himself and his family. He went through the same struggles as many young people did at that time. He represented the 80's ambition."
Christina Bowen picked Don Johnson: "From hair style, to beard stubble, to sunglasses, to clothes and let's not forget shoes with no socks."
Dee chose Big Bird: "Without the bird i wouldnt know anything about how to count to 12 or how to say hello in spanish or how to spell..or any of what I know today."
Heather Rankin chose Molly Ringwald: "... She was someone to relate to while going through the awkwardness of youth."
Darrell Strange picked JR Ewing: "JR became a symbol of the 1980's money grubbing, step on anyone to get there, attitude. His lifestyle was one rife with luxury and thus he became an idol that people aimed for.
Who do you think was the most influential politician of the 80s and why?
Mike Rogge picked Ronald Reagan: "He single handedly showed us that despite the fact that the economy was hurting, you could still look like you were doing well."
Ann Coleman also chose Ronald Reagan: "... He controlled the free world (and the rest of it as well)."
Michele chose Mikhail Gorbachev: "He started glasnost, planting the seeds of democracy in the communist bloc and paving the way for the fall of the iron curtain in the now-former Soviet Union. Reagan was influential, but I don't think Star Wars and Reaganomics can quite match this one."
Paul Shrimpton chose Margaret Thatcher: "Her policies prepared the UK for the 21st century, and influenced the rest of the world in their preparation."
Drea chose Nelson Mandela: "He taught a new generation the meaning of fighting for what you believe in."
What do you think was the most influential world-wide trend of the 80s and why?
Dude picked "we are the children" and the like: "...during the decade where the yuppie lifestyle was born, this was probably the natural balancing trend."
Maria chose legwarmers: "They were perpetuated thru dance related movies such as "Fame" and "Dirty Dancing" and was a truly international trend."
Matt picked big-hair pop and rock: "Everyone from the States to Japan to France was dressing up like Madonna or Michael J or doing their hair like David Lee Roth. No matter where you were from you were "Turning Japanese" or "Beating it.""
B Birmingham chose music video's and video games: "MTV and hanging at the arcade/pizza place with your friends and of course atari."
Robert picked Celebrity Causes(tm): "Celebrities mobilized a generation of apathetic media-savvy kids to become sentient of the fact that their problems were simple & small in comparison to the challenges faced by most of the rest of the world's population. Yes, much of this was simply pandering, & certainly obnoxious (especially the grammy speeches) but it changed the way we thought and got us beyond the "beaver-cleaver whitehat-blackhat pentagon version" of world events."
Logan chose Cabbage Patch Kids: "I still think my mother has about 20 of those things stashed somewhere in their attic."
Who do you think was the most influential sports figure of the 80s?
Matt chose the most popular pick, Joe montana: "The girth of his superbowl victories occurred in the 1980s and he made the 49ers the great team that they were. He's most quite possibly the best quaterback to ever enter the NFL."
David Buckner picked Michael Jordan: "Although a strong case could be made for Bo Jackson, Michael Jordan single-handedly brought basketball to the forefront of popularity, rivalling Muhammed Ali as the most recognizable sports figure world-wide. Jordan made hundreds of millions of idolizers by changing the game of basketball and sports all around."
Kristi chose Mary Lou Retton: "The perfect 10.0 after that vault was the best. in the U.S., at the Olympics and winning it all. Every little girls' dream."
Ed Evans picked Carl Lewis: "He dominated the 1984 & 1988 Olympic Games, perhaps the finest athlete in the world for almost a decade."
Brian Westermann chose Hulk Hogan: "He was a wrestling icon, and I being a wrestling fan have never seen it more popular than it is today, and if it hadn't started with Hulk back in '84, then it wouldn't surge with popularity today."
Judy Brooks chose Florence Griffith-Joyner: she never gave up. she was a gold medal winner (which did not come easy!). she worked very hard and took lots of knocks before her dream came true! flo-jo was an inspiration to the young people of the 80's!
What 80s fashion trend would you like to see become popular again?
Bailey agreed with most of our respondants, and wished for Big hair! and weird clothes! to make a come back. This is what she had to say, "Big hair is so easy to do! Get a perm and blow dry and spray it ! The bigger your hair was,the cooler you were. If only it were like that today, there might be world peace. Also cool, off the shoulder, exercise, madonna, lace, neon, paint-splattered, geometric shapes clothes. Man,those were the days."
John Holmes commented: "Vans. I firmly believe that the lack of shoe laces and hence tying shoelaces everyday would save a combined 435,239,749 hours per day in the world. At a minimum of $3.00 an hour, this could end world hunger and wipe out all debt. A close tie for second place was putting your polo coller up and rolling your pant cuffs. these clasic fashion statements are due for another comeback. bring it on!!!"
Other fasion trends mentioned included: leg warmers, parachute pants, ripped jeans, spandex, fisnet shirts, slap bracelets, side pony-tails, mini and bubble skirts, sunglasses at night, shoulder pads, and hypercolor t-shirts.
What do you think is the biggest influence from the 80s on the present?
Renee thought "The 80s brought around a feeling of openness and acceptance that has allowed many kids, like me (who is now 19) to embrace that concept. The fact that teenagers are people too and that everyone needs to and has a right to feel comfortable with who they are is vivid. Also that it is way cool to smoke up in the high school library."
Kathy commented: "I think computers were just starting to take precedence in the 80's. I graduated from high school in 1981, and we were just starting to learn about the wonderful world of computers. And today, the world just wouldn't be the same without them.
Janette said: "Industrial/techno music, the pioneers that created this music have inspired young artists today, and now you have all kinds of house/dance music that is so very popular and played in just about every trendy club.
David Buckner shared: "Our world today, politics and economy mainly, are directly related to that which occurred under the Reagan administration. policies and practices led to an ascending economy and the end of the cold war. There was really no greater influence than those events which led to the cold war's conclusion.
bigmalakili said: "I loved my jams, they were comfortable and colorful, they expressed my youthfulness at the time, but they allowed me the freedom of being part of the momentary trend and the dignity that came with it...(oh, i had a matching hat, too)."