In a year where Coca Cola was reformulated, two star-studded concerts raised over $70 million for African famine and two world leaders met for the first time, 1985 was full of unforgettable moments.

1985 newspapers are a great way to look back at how these 1985 events were reported at the time. 

1985 Timeline

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Live Aid

New Coca Cola Fails

January

January 1: The first mobile phone call in Britain is made by Ernie Wise to Vodafone.

January 3: The Israeli government confirms the resettlement of 10,000 Ethiopian Jews.

January 3: Leontyne Price performs her last operatic appearance on a televised performance of Aida at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

January 5: Thousands of Jewish refugees are airlifted from Sudan to Israel.

January 7: Sakigake, a Japanese space probe, is launched to Halley’s comet. Sakigake was the first deep space probe to be launched by any country other than the USA or Soviet Union.

January 13: Otto Bucher, a 99-year-old from Switzerland, becomes the oldest man to record a hole in one at GC La Manga’s 130-yard 12th hole in Spain.

January 13: An express train derails, killing at least 428 people in Ethiopia.

January 14: Martina Navratilova becomes the third person to win 100 tennis tournaments.

January 14: The Great British Pound (GBP) sinks to a low of $1.11 in the US.

January 15: Tencredo Neves becomes the first elected president of Brazil in 21 years. He dies before taking office.

January 16: Playboy announces the end of stapling the centrefolds of its magazine.

January 19: Born in the USA is released by Bruce Springsteen, and peaks at number 9 in the charts.

January 21: -28°C is recorded at Caesar’ Head in South Carolina.

January 21: -37°C is recorded at Mount Mitchell, North Carolina.

January 21: Ronald Reagan is inaugurated as President of the United States for the second time. Jessye Norman sings Simple Gifts.

January 22: -34°C is recorded in Mountain Lake Bio Station, Michigan.

January 22: Due to the unprecedented cold weather across the United States, 90% of Florida’s citrus crop is damaged.

January 22: The third Miss Teen USA is won by 16 year old Kelly Hu, of Hawaii.

January 23: The first House of Lords debate is televised.

January 28: We Are the World is recorded by the supergroup USA for Africa. The group included Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder and Cindi Lauper.

January 29: Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of Great Britain, is refused an honorary degree by Oxford University.

January 31: P.W. Botha, the President of South Africa, offers to free Nelson Mandela if he denounces violence.

February

February 1: -61°F is recorded in Maybell, Colorado.

February 1: -68.8°F is recorded in Peter’s Sink, Utah.

February 4: 20 countries sign the United Nations treaty outlawing torture. The US did not sign. 

February 7: New York, New York becomes the official anthem of New York City.

February 9: Like a Virgin, Madonna’s album, has been number 1 for three weeks.

February 14: Whitney Houston’s self-titled debut album is released. It goes on to win the Grammy Awards for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Best Female and Billboard Album of the Year 1986.

February 15: The World Chess Championship is abandoned.

February 16: 43,816 is the largest NBA crowd to date in Detroit.

February 17: In the US, a first class postage rises from 20 cents to 22 cents.

February 17: Murray Haydon is the third person to receive an artificial heart.

February 19: Cherry Coke is introduced by Coca-Cola, in both cans and bottles.

February 19: William Schroeder is the first artificial heart patient to leave hospital. He spends 15 minutes outside the hospital in Louisville, Kentucky.

February 19: Eastenders premieres on the BBC.

February 24: Birendra, Bir Bikram Shah Dev is crowned the King of Nepal.

March

March 1: In the US, the Pentagon accepts the theory that an atomic war would cause a nuclear winter.

March 3: Bill Shoemaker becomes the first jockey to win $100 million.

March 3: In Britain, the National Union of Mine Workers end a 51 week strike.

March 10: India beat Pakistan in cricket’s World Championship final.

March 11: Mikhail Gorbachev becomes the Soviet leader, replacing Konstantin Chernenko.

March 13: A funeral service is held for Konstantin Chernenko in Moscow.

March 15: symbolics.com is registered – making it the first Internet domain name.

March 21: 19 are killed in Langa, in South Africa.

March 26: Pope John Paul II announces the first World Youth Day.

March 30: Ireland beats England 13-10 at Lansdowne Road, Dublin to win its 10th Five Nations Rugby Championship, and its 6th Triple Crown.

April

April 3: The government in France adopts an equal electoral system. 

April 7; The Easter Parade in New York is televised for the first time.

April 23: Coca Cola introduced ‘New Coke’, a sweeter version of their original drink. 

April 25: Parliament in West Germany rule that it is illegal to deny the Holocaust.

May

May 1: Ronald Reagan ends the embargo against Nicaragua.

May 4: Bobbysocks! wins the 30th Eurovision Song Contest for Norway, singing La det swinge in Gothenburg, Sweden.

May 11: At the Bradford City football ground, 56 die and 265 are injured in the worst fire in English football history.

May 11: Crazy for You by Madonna goes to number 1.

May 16: Michael Jordan is named NBA Rookie of the Year.

May 22: A View to a Kill, the last James Bond film to star Roger Moore, premieres in San Francisco.

May 23: Ronald Reagan awards Jimmy Stewart, an actor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and promotes him to Major General on the Retired List.

May 24-25: A cyclone hits Bangladesh, over 10,000 die.

May 27: Britain agrees to return Hong Kong to China in 1997.

May 31: The New Orleans Saints, an American Football team, is sold for $70,204,000.

May 31: A tornado outbreak in Canada and the US sees 41 hit Ohio, Pennslyania, New York and Ontario. 90 people are killed from these tornadoes.

bobbysocks 1985

Bobbysocks! (Image source by Wikimedia)

June

June 4: In the US, the Supreme Court strikes down Alabama’s moment of silence law.

June 6: Balu Natarajan wins the 58th National Spelling Bee by spelling the word “milieu.”

June 10: Claus von Bulow, a British socialite, is acquitted of attempted murder charges against his wife.

June 10: Coca Cola announces they are bringing back their original formula.

June 21: American, Brazilian and West German forensic pathologists confirm that remains exhumed in Brazil were those of Nazi doctor, Dr Josef Mengele.

June 23: A bomb destroys Air India Boeing 747 in the air, near Ireland. 329 are killed.

June 27: Route 66 is decertified. The route is from Chicago to Santa Monica.

July

July 2: Andrei Gromyko is appointed as the President of the USSR.

July 3: Tinker Bell takes her first nightly flight at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

July 3: Back to the Future is released. The film goes on to become a cult classic.

July 5: Nicholas Mark Sanders, from England, begins the circumnavigation of the earth. He covers 13.035 road miles in 78 days, 3 hours and 30 minutes.

July 6: Martina Navratilova beats Chris Evert to win her 6th Wimbledon title.

July 7: Boris Becker wins his first Wimbledon title. He becomes the youngest man, at age 17, to do this.

July 10: Playboy and Penthouse publish nude photos of Madonna.

July 12: Doctors discover a cancerous growth in Ronald Reagan’s colon.

July 13: In one of the most famous events in 1985, two Live Aid Concerts took place in Wembley Stadium, London and John F. Kennedy Stadium, Philadelphia. 

July 15: Deborah Carthy-Deu, from Puerto Rico, is crowned the 34th Miss Universe.

July 16: A bill to abolish the Greater London Council receives royal approval.

July 19: Christa McAuliffe is chosen to be the first school teacher to fly in the space shuttle. She would later die in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in January 1986.

live aid 1985

Live Aid at JFK Stadium (Image source: Wikimedia)

August

August 10: Michael Jackson buys ATV Music for $47 million. ATV Music includes every Beatles song.

August 12: In the second-deadliest aviation disaster, 520 people die when Japan Airlines flight 123 crashes in Ueno, Japan.

August 14: Political violence begins after the funeral of Victoria Mxenge, a civil rights lawyer who was assassinated. Victoria was respected and liked by the Congress of South African Students.

August 20: Hanspeter Beck, from South Australia, finishes a trip on a unicycle from Western Australia to Melbourne. It took 51 days, covering 3,875 miles.

August 27: Mary Joe Fenandez becomes the youngest player to win at the US Tennis Open. She was 14 years and 8 days old.

September

September 9: President Reagan orders sanctions on South Africa.

September 9: A race riot occurs in Birmingham, England.

September 13: The Super Mario Bros game is introduced, created by Shigeru Miyamoto at Nintendo.

September 19: Mexico City experiences an 8.1 earthquake, killing an estimated 10,000 people and leaving 250,000 homeless.

September 20: Walt Disney World celebrates its 200 millionth guest.

September 21: Edward Lee Howard, an American CIA officer, flees to Russia after he was discovered to be a KGB agent.

September 28: Riots begin in Brixton, London after the police shot Dorothy Groce. Dorothy Groce’s son was wanted in relation to a suspected firearms offence, and the police believed he was hiding in her home. The shooting left Dorothy permanently paralysed from the waist down, and she spent over a year in hospital.

September 29: The first of five cyanide-laced Tylenol victims die.

October

October 3: South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands adopt a constitution.

October 4: Henry G Penny completes a bicycle tour of Australia. It took 157 days, covering 14,021 miles.

October 11: Ronald Reagan bans the import of South African Krugerrands to the US. Krugerrands are gold coins that were minted by South Africa to promote the gold to international markets. By 1980, they accounted for 90% of the global gold coin market.

October 12: Intl Physicians wins the Nobel Prize for Prevention of Nuclear War.

October 16: Intel introduces the 32-bit 80386 microcomputer chip.

November

November 6: In Ranger, Texas, an exploratory well explodes, spilling 24,000 cubic metres of crude oil.

November 9: Garry Kasparov becomes the youngest World Chess Champion, at aged 22.

November 11: Yonkers, in New York, is found guilty of segregating schools and housing.

November 14: Holmfridur Karlsdottir, aged 22 from Iceland, is crowned the 35th Miss World.

November 16: Ronald Reagan arrives in Geneva for a meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev.

November 19: The US President and Soviet Leader meet for the first time.

November 20: Microsoft Windows 1.0 is released.

November 23: Larry Wau-tai Chin, a retired CIA analyst, is arrested of spying for China.

November 26: Random House buys Richard Nixon’s memoirs for $3,000,000.

November 27: The Republic of Ireland gains a consultative role in Northern Ireland.

December

December 4: Francois Mitterrand, the President of France, receives Polish leader Wojciech Jaruzelski.

December 9: Phoenix, Arizona gets 3 inches of snow.

December 16: John Grotti assumes leadership of New York’s crime family. He ordered the executions of Paul Castellano and Thomas Bilotti to gain this position.

December 16: The Color Purple, based on the novel by Alice Walker, and directed by Stephen Spielberg, premieres in New York. Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover star.

December 27: Terrorists kill 20 and injure 110 people whilst attacking El Al at Rome and Vienna airports. President Reagan blames Muammar Gaddafi, the leader of Libya.

December 30: The final event in this 1985 timeline is that IBM-PC DOS Version 3.2 is released

Live Aid

Live Aid was created by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds for relief for the Ethiopian famine.

Live Aid was made up of two concerts on 13th July 1985, one in Wembley Stadium in London and one in John F. Kennedy Stadium in Pennsylvania. Wembley Stadium held 72,000 people and JFK Stadium held 100,000 people.

Performers at Live Aid London included: Queen, Status Quo, U2 and David Bowie.

Performers at Live Aid Pennsylvania included: Madonna, the Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin and Duran Duran.

The two concerts raised over $70 million for the Ethiopian famine.

New Coca Cola Fails

Coca Cola introduced a reformulation of Coca Cola as the company had been losing market share for many years. Blind taste tests suggested that consumers were preferring the sweeter taste of rivals Pepsi, so the formula was recreated. However, the reaction of the American public was negative, and ‘New Coke’ was dubbed a massive failure.