What was big in music, film, politics and technology in 1987?

Russell Kirby's picture

1987 may feel like it was only yesterday (well, for some of you I assume, some of us weren’t even born yet!), but as we celebrate the 30th birthday of the LALG and the Letchworth Film Club, we took a look back at 1987 and some of the more iconic moments from throughout the year.

Music – Not a BAD year

Michael Jackson had global success with his album BAD reaching the top five in the UK.   

(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life performed by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes was released in September was best recognised as the theme song for Dirty Dancing. The song won numerous awards including a Golden Globe Award and a Grammy.

Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley was a worldwide number-one hit, initially in the singer’s native United Kingdom in 1987, where it stayed at the top of the chart for five weeks and was the best-selling single of that year. After that, it topped the charts in 25 other countries around the world.

Kylie Minogue topped the UK charts with her debut hit I Should Be So Lucky.

Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer, Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me), and Heart’s Alone were among the biggest songs of the year

The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, became the very first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The Bangles had the biggest hit of the year with Walk Like an Egyptian.

The first-ever Acid House raves, mainly in fields and derelict buildings, were reported in the media.

Films & TV – Arnie-body out there?

Predator was one of the most popular films in the UK released in 1987 with Arnold Schwarzenegger as a leader of an elite Special Forces team on a mission to rescue hostages. The film won three awards including the BMI Film award and was nominated for an Oscar.

Lethal Weapon was released in March 1987, grossing over $120 million against a production budget of $15 million. It spawned a franchise that includes three sequels and a television series.

Timothy Dalton made his debut as James Bond in The Living Daylights, accompanied by a sound track featuring 80’s heartthrobs Duran Duran.

Madonna suffered a box office disappointment with her film Who’s That Girl.

Three Men and a Baby was the biggest worldwide movie of the year, while Fatal Attraction and Beverly Hills Cop II were the second and third respectively.

More than 19 million people tuned into the A Question of Sport to see HRH Princess Anne join Emlyn Hughes’ team.

Tears flowed as Coronation Street said farewell to one of its most iconic characters, Hilda Ogden, as actress Jean Alexander bowed out of the soap after 23 years.

The Simpsons first made its debut as series of shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show.

Teenagers tuned into a new show called Going Live! presented by Phillip Schofield and Sarah Greene. 

Politics & Current Affairs – Fish falls fowl of hurricane prediction

The UK General Election was held on 11 June 1987, the third consecutive general election victory for the Conservative Party under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher.

Princess Diana shook the hand of an AIDS patient without wearing gloves, challenging the belief that AIDS could be passed via contact. This act was a huge moment with those suffering the disease. 

Weather presenter Michael Fish reassured viewers that reports of a hurricane heading to Britain were untrue.  Later that day, Britain’s worst storm for more than 200 years battered Britain leaving behind widespread damage and disruption.  

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s envoy, Terry Waite, was kidnapped in Lebanon where he remained until 1991.

In America, Lieutenant-Colonel Oliver North, was sworn in before the House and Senate Foreign Affairs Committee hearing in Washington, on arms sales to Iran and diversion of profits to Nicaraguan Contra rebels.

The Stock Market Crash or ‘Black Monday’ was the largest one-day market crash in history.

President Ronald Reagan gave his famous “Tear down this wall” speech in West Berlin.

Kids & Teens – Cowabunga dude!

The big teen movies were Can’t Buy Me Love, The Lost Boys, and Some Kind of Wonderful.

The big teen heartthrobs were Michael J. Fox, River Phoenix, Bruce Willis, Luke & Matt Goss, George Michael, Johnny Depp and Jason Donovan (to name a few).

Cabbage Patch Kids, Care Bears, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were popular toys.

Mobile phones looked like bricks and cost about £1,795.

Sport – Cashing in! Pat Cash wins Wimbledon

Coventry City beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 to win the FA Cup.

In tennis, Stefan Edberg won his second Australian Open title. He also won two doubles title that year, in Australian Open and the US Open. Pat Cash won Wimbledon, defeating Ivan Lendl in the final.

It was also the year of the cricket World Cup which Australia won by defeating England.

Athlete Fatima Whitbread was named Sports Personality of the Year after winning a gold medal at the Rome World Championships.

Technology – Spreadsheets get chance to Excel

February 23 – Supernova 1987a was observed, the first naked-eye supernova since 1604.

The first heart-lung transplant took place.

First fossils of Argentinosaurus found.

The first version of Microsoft Excel for Microsoft Windows was released.

If all this has you reminiscing about the joys of 30 years ago, make sure to join us for the special birthday screening of Raising Arizona on 14 September. Tickets available from the Broadway website or call 01462 681088