By
March 06, 1989 12:00 PM

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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