Top 50 culturally significant moments of last 50 years – from Live Aid to TikTok

The top 50 most significant cultural moments of the last 50 years have been compiled in a list – from Abba's 1974 Eurovision win, to England reaching the final of the Euros in 2021.

The list of memorable cultural events dates back to 1972 – when London's first Gay Pride march, and the release of David Bowie's iconic album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars”, were picked out as highlights.

An impressive 14 historic moments were selected from the 80s – including the launch of MTV, the first episode of EastEnders, and the original Live Aid event at Wembley Stadium.

And more recent highlights include the Queen opening Buckingham Palace to the public (1993), the publication of the first Harry Potter book in 1997, and the launch of YouTube in 2005.

The list spans all the way to the release of the new series of hit Netflix show Stranger Things in May this year – which sent Kate Bush’s 1985 hit, “Running Up That Hill”, rocketing back up the UK charts.

Dr Ruth Adams, senior lecturer in cultural & creative industries at King’s College London, was commissioned by Honda to curate the list, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Honda Civic.

The car, which launched on July 12, 1972, has gone on to sell over 27.5 million units worldwide – with order books for the 11th generation hybrid model opening today (July 12).

Dr Ruth Adams said: “Certain cultural events take on a significance not just for the individuals who were there, but they become part of our collective memory and identity.

“These events represent our shared experience and sensibility. We see ourselves reflected in them – often at our best, sometimes at our worst.

“They shape what sociologist Benedict Anderson described as the “imagined community” of a nation, the “social glue” that binds us together.

“The mass media and, latterly, social media have brought these events into our homes and on to our screens, giving us a sense of togetherness with others in this national audience.

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“The UK has become a “smaller” country over the past half century. We are “closer” to one another than ever before.

“Car ownership becoming a reality for most has allowed people to travel more freely than previous generations – broadening outlooks, and facilitating mass participation in leisure and culture.

“Opportunities have been seized to transform cultural moments into enduring movements, with a capacity to change attitudes and even legislation – making manifest a vision of a more mobile, diverse, and tolerant culture.”

A OnePoll survey of 2,000 people, commissioned by Honda, revealed which life events they associated with the car they had at the time – with first jobs (22%), being on holiday (20%), and having a child (19%) emerging on top.

In addition, 41% said they go for a drive to process a big piece of news, and nearly a third (30%) said they were in the car listening to the radio when a major world event happened.

Rebecca Adamson, head of automobile at Honda, said: “Fifty years and eleven versions of Civic has given us the opportunity to reflect on what was happening at the time, and exponential progress in so many aspects of society.

“Cars have been part of our movement – and although the cars we drive have constantly evolved over the last five decades, the emotional attachment we feel with them, and the association of memories with them, is timeless.”

50 ICONIC CULTURAL MOMENTS:

  • 1972 – London's first Gay Pride march takes place
  • 1972 – David Bowie releases “The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars”
  • 1973 – Slade's “Merry Xmas Everybody” takes the Christmas No.1 slot for the first time
  • 1974 – ABBA wins Eurovision Song Contest with “Waterloo” at the Brighton Dome
  • 1975 – The Sex Pistols play their first ever live show
  • 1977 – Saturday Night Fever brings disco to the cinema
  • 1977 – Star Wars takes UK cinemas by storm
  • 1979 – The UK elects the first ever female Prime Minister
  • 1980 – The Rubiks cube launches in the UK
  • 1980 – PacMan computer game is released
  • 1981 – MTV launches, with the first video being “Video Killed the Radio Star”
  • 1981 – The first London Marathon and Great North Run take place
  • 1982 – Channel 4 launches on 2nd November
  • 1983 – Breakfast TV launches on BBC1, at 06.30 on 17th January
  • 1984 – London Fashion Week launches at Olympia
  • 1984 – Torvill and Dean make history with their ice skating performance at the Winter Olympics
  • 1984 – Satellite TV launches in the UK
  • 1984 – Band Aid is formed and releases “Do they Know It’s Christmas”
  • 1985 – The first episode of EastEnders airs on BBC1
  • 1985 – The original Live Aid event is held at Wembley Stadium
  • 1987 – Scott (Jason Donovan) and Charlene (Kylie Minogue) marry in “Neighbours”
  • 1988 – Acid House scene erupts across the UK, leading to the birth of rave culture
  • 1991 – Linda McCartney launches the first meat-free food range in UK supermarkets
  • 1993 – The Queen announces the opening of Buckingham Palace to the public for the first time
  • 1994 – The Channel Tunnel (or “Chunnel” as it was known) opens, connecting the UK to mainland Europe by road
  • 1994 – First television broadcast of Glastonbury Festival
  • 1995 – Damien Hirst wins The Turner Prize
  • 1996 – Girl Power movement begins with the arrival of The Spice Girls
  • 1996 – England hosts and reaches the semi-final of Euro 96, with “Three Lions” becoming the unofficial national anthem
  • 1997 – The first Harry Potter book, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”, is published, introducing a new generation to reading
  • 1997 – New Labour comes to power, with D:Reem’s “Things Can Only Get Better” as the theme tune
  • 1997 – Banksy's first mural appears in Bristol
  • 2000 – The first series of Big Brother launches in the UK
  • 2000 – The first home broadband service is installed in Basildon
  • 2000 – Tate Modern opens in London, and has now attracted over 40 million visitors since launch
  • 2002 – The first season of Pop Idol airs, with Will Young declared the winner
  • 2003 – England wins the Rugby World Cup
  • 2004 – The first season of Strictly Come Dancing airs, won by Natasha Kaplinsky and Brendan Cole
  • 2005 – YouTube launches, changing the way videos are shared and watched
  • 2010 – The first episode of The Great British Bake Off is aired on BBC2
  • 2011 – 50 Shades of Grey is released, and becomes the best-selling British book of all time
  • 2011 – Prince William marries Kate Middleton
  • 2012 – London bathes in the glory of the Olympics and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee
  • 2013 – Disney's “Frozen” inspires kids worldwide – cue the singing of “Let it Go”
  • 2014 – Everyone (it seemed) did the Ice Bucket Challenge
  • 2014 – The first same-sex marriages take place in the UK
  • 2017 – TikTok launches, bringing dance routines to social media
  • 2020 – Sir Captain Tom Moore achieves a UK No.1 cover with “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, alongside Michael Ball
  • 2021 – England hosts, and reaches the final of, the Euros
  • 2022 – “Stranger Things” sends Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” to No.1, 37 years after it was released

HONDA CIVIC MODEL HISTORY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • 1972 – Civic Gen 1 launches on 12th July, and goes on to sell 27.5 million units over the next 50 years
  • 1979 – Civic Gen 2 is launched, and the range extends to include a sedan, hatchback, and wagon
  • 1983 – Honda debuts the Civic Gen 3, with a wider wheelbase and more angular design
  • 1987 – A new range of engines accompanies the Civic Gen 4, featuring Honda’s VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) system
  • 1991 – The Civic Gen 5 debuts a sleeker and more aerodynamic form
  • 1995 – Civic Gen 6 arrives
  • 1997 – The first performance-focused Civic Type-R is unveiled
  • 2000 – A new Civic is launched for the new millennium – the Civic Gen 7, which adds hybrid technology in 2001
  • 2005 – The Civic Gen 8 offers even more futuristic styling, making it one of the most distinctive cars on the road
  • 2011 – The Civic Gen 9 blends strong performance and efficiency with improved interior comfort
  • 2017 – The all-new Civic Gen 10 arrives, and is a major leap forward
  • 2022 – Civic Gen 11 complete's Honda's 2022 “Electric Vision” commitment to electrify all mainstream models

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