Mental Floss

Common Misconceptions About the 1980s

Ellen Gutoskey
How much actual stranger danger was there?
How much actual stranger danger was there? / Daronk Hordumrong/Shutterstock

The ’80s was an era of big hair, even bigger shoulder pads, and a trendy hairdo called the mullet. Only it wasn’t called the mullet yet: The term wasn’t attributed to the hairstyle until Beastie Boys’ 1994 song “Mullet Head” was released. (Though mullet head as an insult meaning “stupid person” dates back to the 19th century.)

If you thought you remembered talking about “mullets” back in the 1980s, you’re probably not the only one. It’s hard to keep all the facts straight when dealing with such a larger-than-life time period—even if you yourself lived through it. 

On this episode of Misconceptions, Justin Dodd is tackling some of the most prevalent misconceptions about the decade, from how much “stranger danger” actually existed to how people really felt about the taste of New Coke. Plus, should you really be blaming Nirvana and other grunge rock groups for killing all your favorite hair bands?

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