1980 – As Told By Magazine Covers

The end of the Seventies and the start of the Eighties is captured on the front of the publications of the time.

They say you can tell a lot about a period of time by looking at the covers of the magazines published at the time. Well, OK – it might just be me that says that. But as a snapshot of a time period, magazines – a weekly or monthly guide to changing tastes – seem as good a way of tracking the shifting cultural and social mores of a year than anything else.

1980 is an interesting year – picked pretty much at random – because it marks the end of one decade and the start of another, both very different in attitudes, fashions, music and film. As either the end of the 1970s or the start of the 1980s (depending on how pedantic you are), it feels like a fascinating crossover point where everyone is very consciously trying to find a place in the forthcoming brave new world and reject the past. The 1980s feel unlike any other decade shift we’ve had – even the crossover into the 2000s didn’t feel as determinedly eager to signal its new, fresh, rip-it-up-and-start-again approach. Whether or not that was a good thing or not will remain a matter of opinion – but the 1980s, as a whole, feels uniquely dated and singular.

Here, then, is a collection of magazine covers that encapsulate the end of the old and the start of the new. How many predicted things to come, how many clung to the past and how many were wildly wrong about everything I’ll leave for you to decide. Many of these magazines would not survive the decade, and most of those that did would be radically changed by the end.

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