It sometimes takes the benefit of hindsight to determine just how awful a given year really was for pop culture. And with this hindsight, I submit for you the worst year in the past four decades for pop culture--1980.
Sure, some don't agree, and point out movies like "Empire Strikes Back" and "Blues Brothers", both of which came out that year. But 1980 is also responsible for Xanadu, Flash Gordon, and Roller Boogie which should be enough to counterbalance a dozen Godfathers and about a half dozen Casablancas.
Yes, during that year of malaise, gas shortages, inflation and recession, we also had the last dying gasp of disco, which even at its best was a pretty awful musical category. While we waited to hear about how we were going to rescue our hostages from Iran only to find out the mission collapsed in disaster, we had BJ and the Bear, a hit TV show about a trucker and his pet ape getting into adventures across the American South.
We may have had Springsteen and Billy Joel at their primes, but we also had Lipps Inc. We had Dukes of Hazard, but people were enjoying it UN-ironically. Glorious feathered hair gave way to helmet-heads for women, and the outfits were so unflattering--culminating in jumpsuits--that it is a wonder anyone was conceived that year (though Billy Beer might be the reason).
Yes, if there's one year we should wipe from the pop culture universe, I nominate 1980.