1989 – A Year That Changed the World

by | Jun 26, 2019


I’ve been thinking about 1989 lately. It was a pretty momentous year.

A few things about 1989:

ONE: The world changed. The Berlin Wall came down. The Soviet Union was in the midst of collapse. Pro-Democracy Rallies occurred in Tiananmen Square. It was the year that the Cold War officially ended.

BEIJING – JUNE 5, 1989: (JAPAN OUT) (VIDEO CAPTURE) A lone demonstrator stands down a column of tanks June 5, 1989 at the entrance to Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The incident took place on the morning after Chinese troops fired upon pro-democracy students who had been protesting in the square since April 15, 1989. (Photo by CNN via Getty Images)

TWO: George Bush 41 became president. He was our most recent one-term president.

THREE: Taylor Swift was born in 1989. We know this because she released an album a few years ago called “1989” – in honor of her birth year. It’s pretty good.


FOUR: It was the last year of the fabulous 1980s. Not long ago, I had a younger co-worker tell me they sometimes had “80s Days” at their high school where they’d dress up like they were in the 1980s. I replied “We had those at my school too. Everyday.”

FIVE: I saw the Grateful Dead in Dallas and Houston in 1989. Some great albums were released in 1989: “Doolittle” by the Pixies; “Full Moon Fever” by Tom Petty; “Disintegration” by The Cure; “Pretty Hate Machine” by Nine Inch Nails; “The Stone Roses” by The Stone Roses; “Bleach” by Nirvana; “Cosmic Thing” by the B-52s; and “Mother’s Milk” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, among others. But 1989 also gave us Milli Vanilli’s “Girl You Know It’s True.”

SIX: The Exxon Valdez ran aground.

SEVEN: A huge earthquake rocked San Francisco, killed 57 people and caused over $10 billion of damage.

ca. 1989, Oakland, California, USA — The Cypress Structure collapsed during the 1989 San Francisco earthquake. Oakland, California, USA. — Image by © Dave Bartruff/Corbis

EIGHT: GALLO TRUSTS. In 1989 wealthy families could gift up to $2 million directly into trusts (or to individuals) that skipped a generation without incurring the “Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax.” This loophole was only available in 1989. This law was passed at the behest of the Gallo family – well known winemakers. Thus, there are an inordinate number of “1989 Trusts” in families of wealth due to this 1989 law.

Ernest and Julio Gallo

NINE: The First GPS Satellite was launched.

TEN: The Simpsons and Seinfeld both premiered in 1989.

ELEVEN: Here’s a cutting edge cell phone in 1989, the MOTOROLA MICROTAC 9800X:



  1. John, I had a bottle of wine yesterday too.
    A 2021 vintage.
    It got me thinking as well.

    What exactly are tannins?
    When I drink this wine is my mouth mostly full of them?
    How exclusive is this line of wines from Trader Joe’s select label?
    If you are drinking something classy like red wine is it still frowned upon to drink alone?
    Is it too cold this weekend to try and squeeze in some pickleball?

  2. John, you also saw the Rolling Stones at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas in 1989.

    November 10th/11th 1989 Dallas TX

    There was an RV that got a premium parking space for the venue.

    Some websites to check concert history of your favorite bands:


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