Forget smartphones and the internet - CDs only arrived three years into the decade.
It was a tumultuous time. Britain went to war, historic industries were shut down and the weather went wild.
As these classic pictures from Kent towns in the 1980s show, our county felt the full force...
The country had quite the soundtrack as it entered the new decade.
The 1979 Christmas number one - Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall - was only knocked off top spot in January 1980 by the Pretenders with Brass in Pocket.
This was followed by Too Much Too Young by The Specials.
It's a world away from 2020's festive chart-topper Dont Stop Me Eatin' by LadBaby.
In Kent, the year was marked by industrial disputes at both Rochester Metal Box and Grain Power Station.
It was to be a decade dominated by Margaret Thatcher's battles with the unions.
This would have huge ramifications for traditional industries in Kent and Medway.
In June 1981, Chatham Dockyard worker's representatives arrived in Parliament to plea for the saving of the yard.
Days earlier Defence Secretary John Nott had announced it would close. Unions and workers battled in vain for three years to save the yard but it shut in 1984.
By March, 2.4m people - or 10% of the UK workforce - were unemployed.
It was also the year the first London Marathon was held. Meanwhile Bucks Fizz, including Cheryl Baker, now of Tunbridge Wells, won the Eurovision Song Contest with Making Your Mind Up.
The year was dominated by the Falklands War.
The conflict began when Argentina invaded the Islands in March.
The war ended in June as the Argentines signed their formal surrender aboard HMS Endurance, seen below returning to Chatham Docks in August.
The Falklands War sparked a turnaround in Margaret Thatcher's political fortunes, with the Conservatives' approval rating soaring to 44% by November, 13 points ahead of Labour.
The year also saw John Paul II become the first pope to visit Canterbury Cathedral.
It was a chilly start to the year, with the River Medway freezing solid at Rochester in February.
Once it had warmed up a few months later, the first ever Maidstone marathon was held in June.
Margaret Thatcher won a landslide at the General Election, with a majority of 144 seats.
It was also the year the first compact disc (CD) went on sale, James Dyson produced his prototype vaccum cleaner and Saga Magazine began publication.
The best-selling single of the year was Culture Club's Karma Chameleon.
It was a sad day when more than 7,000 workers lost their jobs as Chatham Docks closed on March 31, having been a shipbuilding yard for more than 400 years.
The Queen paid a visit to the Medway Towns in October.
During the same month she also opened the law courts in Maidstone.
Nationally, the year was dominated by the miners' strike, following the announcement of the "accelerated closure" of several pits - including Snowdown near Dover.
Band Aid took the festive number one spot with Do They Know It's Christmas.
There were more royal visits to Kent in 1985, with the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and Princess Diana all making trips to the county.
The miners' strike, which at its peak involved 142,000 mineworkers, ended in March after a year of bitter feuding.
It was also the year Bob Geldof, now of Faversham, brought Live Aid to London, raising millions for people starving in Ethiopia.
The biggest selling album was Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms, which became the first CD to sell more than one million copies.
History was made at Canterbury Cathedral in February 1986 when Margaret Thatcher and French President Francois Mitterand signed the deal committing the UK and France to building the Channel Tunnel.
About 200 protesters, concerned about the impact on the environment and ferry jobs, turned out to express their disapproval, with one managing to hit Mitterand's car with an egg.
The top-grossing film of the year at the box office was Top Gun, closely followed by Crocodile Dundee.
Meanwhile, the EastEnders Christmas special attracted the highest audience of all time for a TV drama - a record which stands to this day. Incredibly, 30.15 million people - more than half the population - tuned in to see Dirty Den serve divorce papers on his wife Angie.
This year will always be remembered in Kent for the sinking of the Herald of Free Enterprise and The Great Storm.
On March 6, Townsend Thoresen's ferry capsized while en route to Dover from Belgium. Some 193 people died – 38 of them crew members.
The Great Storm hit in the early hours of October 16, as gusts of up to 110mph blasted the county. Houses and cars were crushed by falling trees as the hurricane struck, and four people lost their lives.
In June, Margaret Thatcher secured her third term in office, although her majority was reduced to 102 seats from 144.
The following month, the Prime Minister ratified the Treaty of France with Francois Mitterand, and construction of the Channel Tunnel began in December. It finally opened in 1994.
And the biggest-selling single of the year? None other than Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up.
In Kent, Tides swimming pool in Deal was opened by Barbara Windsor, while La Parisienne nightclub in Folkestone welcomed its first punters.
Meanwhile, a countrywide seamen's strike which started on January 31 sparked traffic chaos as queues of lorries with nowhere to go built up on the roads.
It was a year for firsts, with the inaugural Red Nose Day held in March raising £15m for Comic Relief.
And two months later pupils took the first ever GCSE exams.
On Friday, September 22, 1989, the IRA detonated a 15lb bomb in the recreation room of the Royal Marines School of Music in Walmer, near Deal.
The blast, which could be heard two miles away, killed 11 bandsmen and injured a further 21 people. No one has ever been arrested or charged over the atrocity.
1989 also saw the closure of Kent's last colliery at Betteshanger, following that of Snowdown and Tilmanstone two years earlier.
A flu epidemic struck in November, with more than one million people in the UK infected by Christmas Eve. Between 19,000 to 25,000 deaths in the UK were attributed to the disease. The outbreak led to an increase in the use of flu vaccinations.
In the world of music, the top-selling single of the year was Ride On Time by Black Box, heralding the arrival of the rave scene in nightclubs in the 1990s.
To see more classic pictures of Kent in years gone by, click here.