Learn American History through 50 pop songs

The Eighties Song

Synopsis

The 1980s was known as the ME generation. “He Who Dies With the Most Toys Wins” was a very popular bumper sticker and summed up a new societal theme.  Video games, minivans and camcorders all debuted and became part of the American life.  Internationally the Berlin Wall came down and AIDS swept over the globe. Here in the U.S. Wall Street was deregulated leading to hostile takeovers, leveraged buyouts, and mega-mergers creating a new breed of millionaires thus contributing to the widening the gap between the rich and the poor.

Lyrics

© Copyright 2010 by Mr. and Mrs. Gillenwater

Welcome to the 80’s
The last two decades have been crazy
Now we need to get back on track
Things that slipped through the cracks

First we need a leader
Who’ll put a stop to all things liberal
Handsome screen star Ronald Reagan
A super Great Communicator

He’s got some fine solutions
Tax cuts and a smaller government
His biggest fan is Jerry Falwell
Moral Majority, Evangelical

Lower taxes, saving bread
Bigger business, smaller Fed
1980’s conservatism
Loving their Ronald Reagan

Tax cuts bank rolled cash
Welfare funds deeply slashed
Thinking federal spending chronic
It’s stopped with Reaganomics

And on the middle class front lines
Baby boomers changed with time
Trading in all things hippy
For shiny cars and all things yuppie

Wall Street got a bright green light
Deregulated, they took flight
CEO’s became millionaires
Everyone scrambled for their share… of money

Lower taxes, saving bread
Bigger business, smaller Fed
1980’s conservatism
Loving their Ronald Reagan

In foreign matters Reagan awed
Planting seeds for the Cold War thaw
He met with Gorbachev
And promised to reduce warheads

Economic chaos plagued the Soviet Union
By ’89 they sat in ruin
The world watched the curtain fall
And happy Germans destroyed the Berlin Wall

Lower taxes, saving bread
Bigger business, smaller Fed
1980’s conservatism
Loving their Ronald Reagan

In the home calling for
Family values behind each door
A mom and dad, a nightly meal
A return to traditional values

And for a while it did work
The economy started to jump and jerk
But a balanced budget never happened
And the deficit topped $200 billion

After Reagan the first George Bush
Said “No new taxes, read my lips”
Then we landed plum into recession
With an economy that slumped and weakened

Lower taxes, saving bread
Bigger business, smaller Fed
1980’s conservatism
Loving their Ronald Reagan

Vocabulary

Ronald Reagan— Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was the 40th President of the United States (1981–1989) and the 33rd Governor of California (1967–1975).

Great Communicator— Reagan's ability to connect with the American people earned him the nickname "The Great Communicator".

Jerry Falwell— Jerry Lamon Falwell, Sr. (August 11, 1933 – May 15, 2007) was an American Baptist cleric, televangelist, and a conservative commentator.

Moral Majority— The Moral Majority was a political organization of the United States which had an agenda of evangelical Christian-oriented political lobbying. It was founded in 1979 and dissolved in the late 1980s.

1980’s Conservatism— After election of 1980 and the subsequent eight years of Ronald Reagan's presidency the modern American conservative movement flourished. In that election, Republicans took control of the Senate for the first time since 1954, and conservative principles dominated Reagan's economic policy.

Reaganomics— Reaganomics refers to the economic policies promoted by the U.S. President Ronald Reagan during the 1980s.

Baby Boomers— A baby boomer is a person who was born during the Post-World War II baby boom.

Hippie— The hippie subculture was a youth movement that arose in the United States during the mid-1960s.

Yuppie— Yuppie (short for "young urban professional" or "young upwardly-mobile professional") is a term that first came into use in the 1980s which refers to a financially secure, upper-middle-class young person in their twenties or thirties.

Wall Street— Wall Street is a street in Lower Manhattan in New York City which runs through the Financial District.

Deregulated— Deregulation is the removal of government rules and regulations upon the stock market.

CEO’s— A chief executive officer (CEO) or chief executive is the highest-ranking corporate officer in charge of total management of an organization.

Gorbachev— Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (born 2 March 1931) was the seventh and last General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, serving from 1985 until 1991, and the last head of state of the USSR, serving from 1988 until its collapse in 1991.

“And happy Germans destroyed the Berlin Wall”— In November, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, bringing the rise of European democritization.

Deficit— A deficit occurs when more money is spent that made. The federal deficit is the deficit of the entire United States.

“First George Bush”— George Herbert Walker Bush (born June 12, 1924) was the 41st President of the United States (1989–1993). He was also Ronald Reagan's Vice President (1981–1989) and the father of George W. Bush.

“No more taxes, read my lips”— "Read my lips: no new taxes" is a now-famous phrase spoken by then presidential candidate George H. W. Bush at the 1988 Republican National Convention as he accepted the nomination on August 18.

Recession— In economics, a recession is a contraction, or a general slowdown in economic activity over a period of time.

Tiered Questions

Tier 1 Questions

Who was the key political figure of the 1980’s?

Name a historic event that took place in the 1980’s.

Tier 2 Questions

What do you think the line “On the middle class front lines/Baby boomers changed with time/Trading in all things hippy/For shiny cars and all things yuppie” means?

Tier 3 Questions

Pretend you are a baby boomer. Write 2 journal entries. One from the late sixties as you protest the Vietnam War at your college campus and one twenty years later in 1989 as you are promoted to vice president of a large clothing store.

Test Prep Questions

The President:
Helmut! I am sitting in a meeting with members of our Congress and am calling at the end of this historic day to wish you well.
Chancellor Kohl: Things are going very, very well. I am in Berlin. There were one million people here last night at the very spot where the Wall used to stand—and where President Reagan called on Mr. Gorbachev to open this gate. Words can’t describe the feeling. The weather is very nice and warm, fortunately. There were large crowds of young people. Eighty percent were under thirty. It was fantastic. . . .

Source: Telephone conversation between Chancellor Helmut Kohl of Germany and President George H. W. Bush, October 3, 1990

1) This conversation is referring to the

  • (1) start of the Berlin airlift
  • (2) expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
  • (3) end of the Cold War and reunification of Germany
  • (4) signing of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and creation of the Hot Line

“Gorbachev Proposes Nuclear Arms Reductions”
“Berliners Travel Freely Between East and West”
“Russia Seeks To Join NATO”

2) These headlines are most closely associated with the

  • (1) military arms race
  • (2) decline of Cold War hostilities
  • (3) failures of the containment policy
  • (4) successes of communism in the Soviet Union

3) A major policy of President Ronald Reagan’s administration was to

  • (1) reduce defense spending
  • (2) lower federal income tax rates
  • (3) end desegregation of public facilities
  • (4) promote regulation of small businesses

4) During the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan used the ideas of supply-side economics to justify

  • (1) increases in social welfare spending
  • (2) expansion of the Social Security program
  • (3) tax cuts for businesses
  • (4) reductions in military spending