Thriller is 35—here are some other iconic things from 1982

The best album of the 80s turns 35, joining these other iconic pieces of pop culture.

November 30, 2017


Not many albums have a legitimate claim to being the best of all time, but Michael Jackson’s immortal Thriller has always been in the running, ever since its original  November 30th, 1982 release. The defining album of the 80s that gave us “Wanna Be Startin’ Something,” “Billie Jean,” and “Beat It” turns 35 today, and remains an enduring masterpiece of pop.

Even putting aside its estimated 100 million in worldwide sales, immense cultural impact, and the world’s best zombie-based music video, Thriller would still be a landmark achievement, so let’s all take a moment to relive the magic of the best album of the 80s:

All this being said, Thriller isn’t the only iconic piece of pop culture that hit the big 3-5 milestone in 2017.

Here are some others:

E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial (June 11th)

The lovable alien that shattered box office records and  launched a thousand childhood nightmares was also released in 1982, and was promptly made into a terrible video game by Atari that same year.

Diet Coke (July 9th)

Aspartame’s claim to fame, Diet Coke was introduced to test markets in July 1982 and by 1984 had become the third best-selling soft drink overall, behind Pepsi and its namesake.

The first CD player (October 1st)

The Philips CDP-101 first hit the Japanese market in 1982, paving the way for compact discs’ ascendance over cassette tapes a few years later. The first CD ever released? Billy Joel’s 52nd Street, of course.

The Dark Crystal (December 17th)

Puppets never seemed so disturbing. Well, at least not since E.T.

Cheers (September 30th)

The best pre-Sunny sitcom about a bar wasn’t a huge ratings success when it first aired: it ranked 74th out of 77 shows in viewership during its premiere season. It wouldn’t become a bonafide TV sensation until its later seasons, eventually earning a top-ten rating during eight of its eleven seasons.

The first documented use of an emoticon (September 29)

Carnegie  Mellon University computer scientist Scott Fahlman posted the following message to a departmental bulletin board, touching off a emoticon arms race that would eventually lead to the Eggplant and 100 Era:

19-Sep-82 11:44 Scott E Fahlman 🙂
From: Scott E Fahlman

I propose that the following character sequence for joke markers:


Read it sideways. Actually, it is probably more economical to mark things that are NOT jokes, given current trends. For this, use:


Seth Rogen

Kirsten Dunst

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