Pop-Cultural Literacy

updated 03/06/1989 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/06/1989 01:00AM

Culture must be pursued; pop culture is almost inescapable. Few people make it their business to remember Top 40 song lyrics or Ronald Reagan's first words to Nancy after being shot ("Honey, I forgot to duck"), but we do. With a nod to Cultural Literacy, the 1987 best-seller that contained a 4,544-item list of "what literate Americans know," here's a catalog of 434 names, events, movies and quotes that helped define pop culture during PEOPLE'S first 15 years.

1974

Fear of Flying
IUDS
Cellulite
Whip Inflation Now
Patty Hearst
Free to Be...You and Me
Nixon's goodbye
Karen Silkwood
Oil embargo
Streaking
Symbionese Liberation Army
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Mikhail Baryshnikov
Nixon's pardon
Little House on the Prairie
Fanne Foxe
Evel Knievel & the Snake River
Hank Aaron hits 715
"Dyn-o-mite"

1975

"Baby, we were born to run"
Mood rings
est
Saturday Night Live
Fall of Saigon
"I'd rather be dead than sing 'Satisfaction' when I'm 45"
Squeaky Fromme & Sara Jane Moore
Ford to NY: Drop Dead
Pol Pot
Stagflation
Sonny & Cher divorce
Jimmy Hoffa
Disco
The Thrilla in Manila
Pet rocks
Mayaguez
Starsky & Hutch
M*A*S*H
ERA
Galloping Gourmet finds God
Cher & Gregg Allman
Liz & Dick II
"Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water..."
Franco dies

1976

"Well excuuuuse me!"
Peter Frampton
Christo's Running Fence
Op Sail
Candy pants
"Hotel California"
Legionnaires' disease
The Me Decade
"I've committed adultery in my heart many times"
Entebbe
Swine flu
"Yo, Adrian!"
Dow Jones tops 1000
Inner Tennis
Nadia Comaneci
Elizabeth Ray: "I can't type. I can't file. I can't even answer the phone."
Network
Soweto
Chowchilla
ABBA
Earl Butz & "loose shoes"
The Gong Show
The Muppet Show
Bruce Jenner
Liz & John Warner
Taxi Driver
Jiggle
The Farrah Cut
The Hamill Wedge
Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman
Sal Mineo dies
Howard Hughes dies
Mao dies
Franco still dead

1977

"It's not just a job, it's an adventure"
Freddie Laker
Annie Hall
Jimmy Carter
Saturday Night Fever
Anita Bryant
The Sex Pistols
The Fonz
Studio 54 Mark
"The Bird" Fidrych
"May the force be with you"
"How Deep is Your Love?"
Close Encounters
Freddie Prinze
Tony Orlando
"Short People"
Your Erroneous Zones Roots
Claudine Longet
Gary Gilmore
Joan Crawford dies
Groucho Marx dies
Elvis dies

1978

"The plane, boss, the plane!"
Looking Out for No. 1
King Tut
William Bakke
"Are we not men? We are Devo"
"Food fight!"
Camp David
Proposition 13
Aldo Moro
Laverne & Shirley
"Nanoo! Nanoo!"
The Thorn Birds
Grease
William and Emily Harris
Hot tubs
Jonestown
Pretty Baby
David Begelman
Karol Wojtyla
Roddy Llewellyn
Lisa Halaby
Anorexia
Phillippe Junot
Louise Brown
Angel Dust
Dan White
The Reggie! bar
Charlie Chaplin dies
Charlie Chaplin's body stolen
Hubert Humphrey dies
Totie Fields dies
Morris the Cat dies

1979

10
Bolero
Corn rows
Skylab
Salt II
The Village People
Iran hostages
Nightline
Kramer vs. Kramer
John Wayne Gacy
Superman
Herpes
Mariette Hartley & Jim Garner
LaCoste
Gas lines
Jordache
Hanta Yo
Palimony
Sweeney Todd
Mother Teresa
The Shah
Three Mile Island
The China Syndrome
"My Sharona"
The World According to Garp
Megan Marshack
Jane Byrne
Love Canal
Mommie Dearest
Twinkie defense
Margaret Thatcher
Lord Mountbatten dies
John Wayne dies
Mr. Ed dies

1980

"You know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing."
Nathan Pritikin
Official Preppy Handbook
Abscam
Solidarity
Linda Ronstadt & Jerry Brown
Christopher Cross
Heaven's Gate
The Blues Brothers
John Anderson
Shelley Hack
Abbie Hoffman
U.S. Olympic Hockey Team
Who Shot J.R.?
Who shot Herman Tarnower?
Mount St. Helens
American Gigolo
"Voodoo economics"
Operation Blue Light
Pyramid games
Fame
Freebasing
Crystal Cathedral
William Agee & Mary Cunningham
Toxic shock
John Lennon dies
Mark David Chapman

1981

PMS
Luke & Laura
Di & Charles
"Bette Davis Eyes"
Reds
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Mehmet Ali Agca
"Honey, I forgot to duck"
John Hinckley
Sandra Day O'Connor
Fernando Valenzuela
Billy Jean King & Marilyn Barnett
Jack Henry Abbott
Reaganomics
Medfly
Pac-Man
Gang of Four
Dress for Success
101 Uses for a Dead Cat
Bulimia
MTV
Skinheads
Rubik's Cube
Natalie Wood dies

1982

Late Night
"Gag me with a spoon"
Yuri Andropov
Falklands
Iran & Iraq
Alfred Bloomingdale & Vicki Morgan
I'm OK, You're OK
Garfield
Tylenol
Conan
E.T.
Real Men Don't Eat Quiche
John DeLorean
Inversion boots
Deely Bobbers
"Theeey'rrrre hee-eerrre!"
Roxanne Pulitzer
Prince William
Strawberry Shortcake
The Smurfs
Paul Newman's Salad Dressing
Jane Fonda's Workout
Satchel Paige dies
Grace Kelly dies
John Belushi dies

1983

"Go ahead. Make my day.
Linda Hunt
Teflon Presidency
"I have a black, I have a woman, two Jews and a cripple."
Dial-a-porn
Tootsie
The A-Team
KAL 007 Out on a Limb
Grenada
Samantha Smith
Flashdance
Marine barracks bombing
Thicke of the Night
Risky Business
"Beat It"
Evil Empire
Couch Potatoes
Wacky Wallwalkers
Cabbage Patch Kids
Shiitake mushrooms
Benigno Aquino
The Big Chill
Sally Ride
Hitler diaries
"Every Breath You Take"
Paraquat
Ginny Foat
Klaus Barbie
Pine tar
Karen Carpenter dies

1984

"Where's the beef?"
Mousse
Vietnam War memorial
"Who ya gonna call?"
Splash
Spinal Tap
Vanessa Williams
Geraldine Ferraro
Bernie Goetz
"Girls Just Want to Have Fun"
The Terminator
Konstantin Chernenko
Trivial Pursuit
Marvin Gaye
Bhopal
Desmond Tutu
"My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."
Yuppies
Mesquite
Akitas
Tofutti
Moonwalk
Break dancing
Mayflower Madam
"Like a Virgin"

1985

"I can't deny that you like me! You like me!"
Sean & Madonna
"Hey, Vern!"
Missing kids & milk cartons
Bitburg
Miami Vice
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
Band Aid
Osteoporosis
Moonlighting
Reeboks
Bran
Live Aid
Christie Brinkley & Billy Joel
Pete Rose & Ty Cobb
Boris Becker
Uli Derickson and Flight 847
Mikhail Gorbachev
Achille Lauro
Titanic
New Coke
Josef Mengele
Gary Dotson
John Walker
William "Refrigerator" Perry
Hulk Hogan
Dr. Ruth
Manute Bol
Bob Geldof
Swatch
Gummi Bears
Blackened Redfish
Herbalife
"You look mah-va-lous"
Yugo
"Wake me up before you go go"
McMartin Preschool
Halley's comet
Rock Hudson dies

1986

"I'm not really a doctor but..."
Andy & Fergie
Andrew Wyeth & Helga
Garbage Pail Kids
Wheel of Fortune
Patrick Duffy returns to Dallas—it was just a dream
Max Headroom
Channeling
Maria Hanson
The Challenger
The Statue of Liberty
Chernobyl
"Crocodile" Dundee
Herb the Nerd
Hands Across America
Eugene Hasenfus
"Yeah, that's it. That's the ticket."
Ivan Boesky
Joe Isuzu
Baby On Board
Camcorders
Home Shopping Network
ALF
Wine coolers
Howard the Duck
Al Capone's vault
Yale marriage study
Urine tests

1987

"Why are black men...not good swimmers? Because they don't have the buoyancy."
U2
Garbage barge
"Well, isn't that special!"
Dirty Dancing
Donna Rice
Baby Jessica
Debbie Gibson & Tiffany
Al Sharpton & Tawana Brawley
Bad
Iran-contra hearings
Fatal Attraction
Moonstruck
Jim & Tammy Bakker
L.A. Law
Ishtar Baby M
Robert Bork
Terry Waite
Spuds Mackenzie
Pit bulls
Rabbity baseballs
La Bamba
Pouf skirts
Freeway gunmen
Crystals
Fawn Hall
Jessica Hahn
thirtysomething
The Crash
Mathias Rust
California Raisins
He-Man & She-Ra
Andy Warhol dies

1988

"Where was George?'
"Read my lips."
Jesse Jackson
Yellowstone
Jimmy the Greek
Retin-A
Brian Boitano
Sonny Bono
Flo-Jo
Big
Orel Hershiser
Faith
Robin Givens & Mike Tyson
Burt & Loni
Astrology
Roger Rabbit
Tracy Chapman
M. Butterfly
Princess Bea
USS Vincennes
Ed Meese
Medical waste
The Last Temptation of Christ
Radon
Ben Johnson
Aloha Flight 243
Morton Downey Jr.
Fax
Oprah Winfrey's diet
The Phantom of the Opera
Mark & Brigitte
Bruce & Julianne
The Shroud of Turin
Computer viruses
Dan Quayle

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