This article originally appeared on

History is shaped by people who, one way or another, have a major impact on the popular consciousness. In the 1980s, great minds from music, film, politics and sport shaped the world in such a way that their influence is still being felt today.

Here are some of the people who had the greatest impact on the 1980s (not listed in order of importance).

25. Michael Jackson

He may have been plying his craft since early childhood, but once the 80s came around Michael Jackson hit another level. Having already enjoyed huge success singing soul and disco, Jackson’s 1982 album Thriller brought a wider variety of pop and rock sounds into the mix in a manner that proved truly groundbreaking, and challenged racial barriers in pop culture.

Jackson was soon dubbed the King of Pop, and became far and away the most popular recording artist of the 80s, helped by his similarly successful follow-up album Bad in 1987. Controversies would derail his career in the 90s, and his story ended on a sad note with his untimely death in 2009, but Jackson remains one of the most important and influential pop stars of all time.