Top 10 Events of 1985



Top 10 Events of 1985

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Script Written by Aaron Cameron.

This was the year that dared to ask 'what happens to us in the future?' Join as we count down our picks for the top 10 events of 1985. For this list, we'll be looking at events from each half-decade ranging from the fields of pop-culture, natural disasters, medical breakthroughs, sports, and political happenings, and basing our choices on a mix of their significance at the time and their lasting impact today. This is a part of a series of videos spanning the decades.

Special thanks to our users MikeyP and Kris A for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest

Top 10 Events of 1985

This was the year that dared to ask ‘what happens to us in the future?’ Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 events of 1985.

For this list, we’ll be looking at events from each half-decade ranging from the fields of pop-culture, natural disasters, medical breakthroughs, sports, and political happenings, and we're basing our choices on a mix of their significance at the time and their lasting impact today. This is a part of a series of videos spanning the decades.

#10: The Armero Tragedy
November 13, 1985

Despite nearly a year’s warning, up to 25,000 lives were lost following the eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano in central Columbia. When seismic activity began occurring in November of 1984, many ignored the danger as the volcano had been dormant for almost 70 years. When disaster finally did strike in 1985, the extent of the eruption initially went unnoticed due to a storm. Armero’s mayor and the town’s priest both assured the public they were safe and citizens were advised to stay indoors. However, the eruption actually triggered lava-induced mud and landslides, but since these took a few hours to reach Armero, the unfortunate truth is that much of the town could have evacuated had they been adequately warned.

#9: The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior
July 10, 1985

To put an end to the protest of French nuclear tests in the South Pacific, two bombs less than ten minutes apart were detonated as of 11:38pm and blew a car-sized hole through the hull of the Greenpeace ship ‘Rainbow Warrior,’ which was docked in New Zealand. At 11:49pm, the ship sunk and at least one person - photographer Fernando Pereira - was killed by drowning. Investigators deemed the attack a criminal act and soon found French agents Captain Dominique Prieur and Major Alain Mafart- who were posing as Swiss tourists - responsible. Although attempts were made to deny and even cover up the incident, the French government was eventually forced to pay Greenpeace over $8 million in compensation.

#8: The Professional Debut of Mike Tyson
March 6, 1985

At 18 years of age, and at a muscular 214lbs, Mike Tyson made his professional boxing debut against heavyweight Hector Mercedes. In what would become typical fashion for him, the upstart defeated Mercedes by TKO in a mere 107 seconds. Trained by Cus D’Amato, Tyson relied on a peek-a-boo technique and sheer intimidation, which proved to be as effective as his right hook/right uppercut combo. Tyson would go on to fight 14 more times in 1985, winning all 14 and earning the heavyweight title in 1986, while Mercedes would retire in 1995 with a 1-10 record.

#7: The North American Launch of the NES
October 18, 1985

By 1985, the gaming market in North America was all but dead, so it’s no surprise that despite strong sales in Japan, retailers were hesitant to stock the newfangled Nintendo Entertainment System. Nintendo was undeterred, however, and opted for a small launch in New York City - the toughest market they could think of - and separated the brand from the pack by banking on newbie friendly jargon, game accurate box artwork and innovative gadgets such as the Zapper while offering stores a no-risk stocking policy. Nintendo’s efforts paid off and by the end of 1986, console sales had crossed one million units.

#6: The Hole in the Ozone Layer
August 1985

Although scientists had confirmed the existence of a hole in the ozone above Antarctica in December of 1984, those findings were not made public until May of 1985. However, it was not until August, following an atmospheric sciences conference in Prague, that the news became a mainstream media sensation. That the hole seemingly came out of nowhere was a major cause for concern, as the ozone layer absorbs harmful and potentially cancer-causing solar ultraviolet radiation. Scientists linked the hole to the release of chloroflurocarbons- or CFCs- into the atmosphere which forces ozone- a form of oxygen- to disperse in the stratosphere.

#5: The RCA Buyout: GE Acquires NBC
December 11, 1985

Following a year of speculation regarding the future of RCA, fellow electronics giant General Electric acquired the company for a whopping $6.28B, which was the largest merger outside of the oil industry at the time. Although GE previously owned RCA until 1930 and while both companies produced consumer electronics and developed defense technology, GE was only after a single RCA holding in the ‘80s: NBC. The actual transaction closed in 1986, but the announcement itself was made the year before, and made headlines in various news outlets starting in that year. GE had long wanted to enter the broadcasting market and the merger netted them not only NBC, but five affiliate stations as well - not that everyone was exactly thrilled about it...

#4: The Release of Windows 1.0
November 20, 1985

Requiring a minimum of 256KB of memory and $100, Windows 1.0 finally hit the market in 1985. The operating system- code named “interface manager”- was first presented to the public on November 10th, 1983 and was originally intended to be released in April of 1985; however, Microsoft delayed the release on two occasions, and also denied ever announcing a release date at all. Retrospectively ground-breaking, the OS was seen as a dud by many critics owing to its over-reliance on the “mouse” and because the interface was actually made of tiles not windows, and honestly, who the hell wants tiles? But whatever it was, it was here to stay.

#3: The Geneva Summit
November 19-20, 1985

A tidal wave of ice melting analogies came into effect when American President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev met during the Geneva Summit. The meeting marked the first time the two respective nations had met in eight years, and although not confirmation of all-out peace, it was certainly a step in the right direction. Both leaders agreed to a 50% reduction in nuclear arms, to prevent an arms race in space, to work together on nuclear fusion power... and not much else. But at least the world didn’t end, and that’s always good, right?

#2: Live Aid
July 13, 1985

Viewed by 1.9 billion people in 150 countries and utilizing 13 satellites, Live Aid ultimately raised over $125m in aid for famine-stricken Ethiopia. The brainchild of Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, Live Aid was the spiritual follow up to the Band Aid charity single and involved over 65 acts on stages in London and Philadelphia. Musically, the star of the day was Phil Collins, who played both venues and pulled triple duty as a solo artist and drummer for both Eric Clapton and Led Zeppelin, while Bono literally saved a woman’s life and Queen gave the performance of their career.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” Album Is #1 for Three Weeks
February 9, 1985
- “Back to the Future” Is Released
July 3, 1985
- The Titanic Is Located
September 1, 1985
- The First ‘.com’ Is Assigned
January 1985
- English Football Clubs Banned from European Competitions After Heysel Stadium Disaster
May 29, 1985
- Mob Boss Paul Castellano Is Shot
December 16, 1985

#1: The FDA Approves AIDS Blood Testing

Although AIDS had long been in the public consciousness, 1985 was a watershed year for the illness. That year, the FDA approved blood tests aimed at preventing tainted blood donations and the first international conference on AIDS was held in Atlanta, Georgia in April. Stereotypes and misconceptions about the virus still held strong- for example, fire departments ceased using the kiss of life while churches worried AIDS could be spread through communion wine, and insurance companies spurred their own outcry when they began screening for the disease. However, it was the AIDS-related death of actor Rock Hudson on October 2nd that finally gave a public face to the disease and changed the narrative forever.

Do you agree with our list? What do you think is the most memorable event from 1985? For more like, gnarly,Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to
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