Charlie Sloth

On Air Now 16:00 – 17:45

What happened in 1986

  • US national holiday Martin Luther King day was observed for the first time. The black civil rights leader was only the third person to have a US holiday dedicated to him after Christopher Columbus and George Washington. Dr King was a peaceful campaigner for civil rights in the US and won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work. A date near his birthday on the 15th of January is chosen each year to celebrate his life.
  • Mirroring Band Aid, an estimated 30 million people came together for Sport Aid. The event raised £100 million for starving people in Africa. The whole event was kicked off by Sudanese runner Omar Khalifa at the UN HQ in New York. He carried a torch lit in Khartoum in Sudan.
  • This year also saw millions of people come together for charity in the Hands Across America. In the event, millions of people held hands for 15 minutes along a path across the continental United States. Participants paid ten dollars to reserve their place in line; the $100million profits were donated to local homeless charities.
  • More than 1,700 people were suffocated to death in Cameroon when a cloud of poisonous volcanic gas erupted from Lake Nyos and engulfed their homes. An unknown disturbance brought the huge quantities of dissolved carbon dioxide gas to the surface of the lake. The vast amounts of gas flowed downhill from the lake and suffocated 1746 people.
  • The Oprah Winfrey Show launched. It was the first US chat show to be presented by a black woman. It quickly built into a phenomenon, becoming the highest-rated talk show in US history.
  • At 20, Mike Tyson became the youngest man ever to win the World Boxing Council heavyweight championship of the world when he beat Trevor Berbick of Canada in Las Vegas. The record had been held for nearly 22 years by Floyd Patterson, who won the title on 30 November 1956.

In the music

  • Run DMC released a landmark single in hip hop - Walk This Way. A collaboration with rock giants Aerosmith it made Run DMC the first hip hop group to break into the US mainstream. At the time rock dominated everything, but through this collaboration they became the first rap group to be played on MTV, be on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and to have a platinum-selling album. Following their single My Adidas, they started the rap trend for signing sports merchandising deals after signing with the German sportswear company.
  • Erick B and Rakim released their debut Eric B Is President on small Harlem label Zakia. By the summer of 1986 the tune has blown up the streets and larger label 4th & Broadway signed them up. Hip hop infamy for the duo was on its way.
  • Billy Ocean was born in the Caribbean but moved to the UK where he worked for a car manufacturer by day and sang in the clubs by night. By 1986 his music career had taken off in the US as he released his biggest hit. Taken from the soundtrack to the film Jewel Of The Nile, the single When the Going Gets Tough the Tough Gets Going took Ocean to global fame.
  • The Beastie Boys released their debut album Licensed to Ill. A mix of punk, hip hop and fratboy jokes, the album divided people. Right wing groups thought it was sexist; hardcore hip hoppers thought of the Beasties as plagiarists. But thanks to the infectiously dumb hit single Fight For Your Right (To Party), the album became one of the biggest selling hip hop albums of the 1980s.
  • Andre Harrell left Def Jam to start his own label entitled Uptown, showcasing a more slicker refined sound bridging hip hop with RnB.

Key Releases



Grammy awards


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