Never Gonna Give You Up Turns 30 This Year. Here's What 1987 Was Like

By Holly Brockwell on at

We recently took a trip back to 1994, and it's given us the nostalgia bug.

Today, we're going back three decades to 1987, when Maggie Thatcher was re-elected, British Airways was privatised, and that immortal Rick Astley song hit the airwaves for the first time. Here we go.

We were never gonna give Rick Astley up

And we never did.

Back then, of course, Never Gonna Give You Up wasn't a meme, it was just a catchy pop song by an unsexy ginger guy (the Ed Sheeran of his day). The Stock Aitken Waterman hit was the first single from his first album, and although he did others, he probably needn't have bothered if we're honest.

NGGYU went straight to number one and stayed there for five weeks, eventually becoming the best selling single of the year. However, it wasn't until a full 20 years later, in 2007, that Rickrolling began on 4Chan and quickly spread to the rest of the internet. Of course, internet hyperlinks weren't a thing in 1987, so if you'd wanted to Rickroll someone then, you'd have had to post them a VHS with a misleading label. I really hope someone did.

Never Gonna Give You Up turns 30 this July, and is often spotted discussing house prices in its local wine bar.

We thought the Acorn Archimedes was the pinnacle of tech

What a machine, though. 8-bit stereo sound, RISC OS (well, if you paid for the upgrade), BBC BASIC, a three-button mouse, a whopping 256 colours on the monitor...!

A bargain at just £800 (£2,000 in today's money).

We played Zelda for the FIRST TIME EVER

While Japan had already been buddies with Link for a while, 1987 was the first time Americans and Europeans got to set foot into the magical kingdom of Hyrule. We'd never be the same again.

However, we're going to guess precisely no one bought it as a result of this cringetastic rap:

Thankfully, the UK ad for the NES was much more metal:

"At Argos, Boots [Boots?!], Debenhams, Dixons, J. Menzies, Rumbelows [RIP], Toys R Us, Virgin [RIP], Woolworths [RIP] and other good stores."

We watched Sylvester McCoy regenerate into Sylvester McCoy

Worst regen ever? Sixth Doctor Colin Baker refused to come back for the regeneration episode, so they just put a blond wig on Sylvester McCoy and had him regenerate into himself.

And the catalyst for the regeneration? He'd fallen off his exercise bike when the Tardis crashed and hit his head. The 80s were not good to Doctor Who.

We drank Pepsi Michael Jackson

If you thought rewriting the lyrics to great songs for the purposes of advertising was a new phenomenon, check out the Pepsi version of 'Bad' at 1:33 (but honestly watch the whole thing because 80s ads are hilarious).

This was three years after Jackson's head tragically caught fire while filming a Pepsi ad due to an error with the pyrotechnics. This caused third-degree burns and was allegedly the beginning of Michael's addiction to painkillers.

We begged our parents for a Sega Master System for Christmas

And who could refuse after this not-at-all-nightmarish ad?

Games £27.95 or less... those were the days.

We were repulsed – or inspired – by Gordon Gekko's 'Greed Is Good' speech

The speech that launched a thousand stockbrokers came from the film Wall Street, released in December 1987. Just two months earlier, the global markets had suffered catastrophic losses in the Black Monday crash.

Gordon Gekko was played by Michael Douglas, and Bud Fox by Charlie Sheen. Tom Cruise was interested in the role of Bud but by the time he met with director Oliver Stone, it had been cast. Stone apparently considered Warren Beatty and Richard Gere for the role of Gekko, but neither was interested, so he went with Douglas against several people's advice.

Douglas won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Gekko, and thanked Stone in his acceptance speech.

We used the word 'diskette'

Which could refer to either the 5.25-inch proper floppy disk, in the sense that it was actually floppy, or those newfangled 3.5-inch dealies. You could get a pack of 10 double-sided, double-density diskettes (what a beautiful phrase) for just £6.99 at Argos, or £14.99 for just five of the 3.5-inchers.

Image: 1987 Argos catalogue, Retromash

Total bargain considering they were certified 100% error free (PEBCAK and ID-10-T errors notwithstanding).

We'd never been to IKEA

Because there weren't any until October 1987, and the first one was in Warrington, so we didn't bother making the trek. Little would we know how much that blue and yellow warehouse of dreams would come to mean to us.

We were too busy buying 'Natural Mahogany Finish' hostess trolleys from Philips (really, Philips?) for 250 actual pounds.


What else?

Share your favourite bits of '87 in the comment section. Because that's a thing you can do here in 2017.