In the music
- Marvin Gaye died after being shot by his father Reverend Marvin Gay Sr. The pair had a troubled relationship and Marvin Jr had moved home after problems with depression and drug addiction. The shooting followed a bitter argument.
- Sade released her debut album Diamond Life which went top ten. In 1985 it went platinum and reached No 5 in US charts.
- Michael Jackson's hair caught fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial. He underwent reconstructive surgery to his scalp and face.
- With an investment of $2,500 a piece Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin started up Def Jam Recordings from Rubin's dorm room. LL Cool J's I Need a Beat was the first record independently released by Def Jam.
- Lionel Richie's hit Hello became Motown's first ever million-selling UK single.
- Beat Street opened at the box office, produced by Harry Belfonte and featuring appearance from hip hop legends Afrika Bambaataa, Doug E Fresh and Kool Herc. Breakdance - The Movie also opened in cinemas.
- The release of both Purple Rain the album and the movie made Prince a superstar. It eventually sold over ten million copies in the US and spent 24 weeks at No 1. Prince's touring band, The Revolution, partially helped to record the album which featured tracks such as Purple Rain, I Would Die For You and When Doves Cry. Prince won an Oscar for Best Song Score at the 1985 Oscars.
- Maxi Priest and Paul Robinson produced the first UK reggae track to reach No 1 in Jamaica, Papa Levi from Saxon Sound's Mi God Mi King.