1) The teams. In St. Louis, we celebrate the 1985 Cardinals as much as any club in history, even though Whitey Herzog’s best group didn’t win it all that year, falling to the Kansas City Royals. But in all honesty, the gushing is taken to another level in Chicago with the ’85 Bears. One of the greatest defensive teams of all time, Mike Ditka’s crew went 15-1, featured Walter Payton, Jim McMahon and the Fridge, made a video (“The Super Bowl Shuffle”) and changed the NFL forever. The “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA title with Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy. The Stanley Cup was claimed by the Great One, Wayne Gretzky, and the Edmonton Oilers. It was a special time.
2) The music. Michael Jackson was still the “King of Pop,” but there were some hugely successful artists who joined him in 1985. Madonna. Prince. Bruce Springsteen was on fire. The historic recording of “We Are the World” to help millions of starving people in Africa. Glenn Frey released “The Heat Is On” and the Cardinals adopted it as their theme song. My pick for an ‘85 song that would be cool today? “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds. Probably because it was in the opening and closing credits of The Breakfast Club.
3) The movies. Just stop it. Back to the Future. The Goonies. Weird Science. Real Genius. The aforementioned Breakfast Club. Fletch. My friends and I sometimes communicate in Fletch quotes. You want a sports movie? Rocky IV. All released in 1985, all classics. We had to wait until ’86 for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Hoosiers. It also helps that Blockbuster Video first opened its doors in 1985. (I once worked there.)
4) Nintendo. I really haven’t played video games since college, when my friends and I took Sega’s NHL ’94 into the night on many occasions. (I always tried to take the Blues to the Cup, which proved to be very difficult. Sound familiar?) And I had an Atari when I was a youngster. But the 1985 release of Super Mario Brothers on the Nintendo Entertainment System was the true birth of gaming as we know it. Best Nintendo game ever, though? Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, and it isn’t close.
5) The athletes. Bo Jackson, perhaps the greatest athlete of his generation, won the Heisman Trophy as a running back at Auburn. Jackson went on to star in the NFL and MLB before his career ended prematurely because of a hip injury. Pete Rose became baseball’s all-time hits leader with 4,192 before being banned from the game for gambling. Cardinals legends Lou Brock and Enos Slaughter were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. (Hoyt Wilhelm, another former Cardinal, was also inducted in ’85.)
Have a favorite thing about 1985? Add it to the comments below.