When you look back at the 1970s, what most epitomizes the decade?
Is it the rock? The Disco?
Nixon? Ford? Carter?
Platforms? Or long hair?
Wide collars? Or Kurtas?
Mohawks? Or long hair?
Hot Chocolate? Or the Sex Pistols?
Led Zeppelin? Or Yes?
Leisure Suits, or denim and leather?
A propos the latter: In 1973, Trudeau was trying to persuade Nixon to allow Canada to export more oil to the US. Nixon came back with something like, “We’ll allow more oil if you allow water to be exported.” “No way”, answered Trudeau, “We’ll keep our water and keep our oil too.” Within a year, Nixon was asking Canada to export more oil. Which it did.
As a decade by the numbers the 70s was turbulent, the aftermath from new radical ideas of the 60s that turned the world on it’s head. The music that took over after the music died the first time died again when the Beatles broke up. Nam turned from controversy to failure. Tricky Dick got caught on tape acting like a dick and the power of the presidency drained away from its high water mark as the unremarkable Ford and Carter succeeded him. The strongest economy in the world was heading down the drain, inflation was eating away at the American Dream, other countries became emerged as industrial powerhouses to compete with. And worst of all, the game of baseball was destroyed by the designated hitter rule.
As an era the hallmark of the 70s was Sex, Drugs, and Rock&Roll. There was no more social consciousness as the motivation to party, we did it because it was fun and there didn’t seem to be much to look forward to tomorrow. Then suddenly I had to live in an adult world as an adult, as did so many of my generation. Luckily for me that worked out for me, and for many others, but not everyone, the social fabric was torn and the two-tier society began to form.
All in all, the best time of my life, but just because I was young.
~Leisure suits (one of my male BFFs in high school wore ‘em)
~the original “Saturday Night Live”, “Happy Days”, “MASH”, “Laverne and Shirley”, “Barney Miller”, game shows, talk shows – I remember a LOT of TV from back then
~ THE MUSIC! There’s a reason why those of us of a certain age can sing along with the entire soundtrack to “Guardians of the Galaxy” I was a disco baby (“Burn baby burn”) and during lunch period in high school we’d practice dances like The Hustle in the girls’ locker room. The soundtrack to “Saturday Night Fever” was huge. So was the soundtrack to “Grease” my senior year, especially for those of us who were heavily into musical theatre
I remember Watergate but didn’t quite understand the implications other than “Nixon did something bad”, I was at Scout camp at the time; we were allowed to watch it at the director’s cottage “because this is history in the making”. I remember Carter fairly well. Ditto gas shortages, cigarettes being $.50 a pack, bikes with banana seats, not having a helicopter parent (this was still the era when kids would play in the street or explore the neighborhood with the only caveat being “be home in time for dinner”).
There’s a lot more I can add but I think I’ll stop here.
Neon orange paired with bright yellow and longish hair on men in mainstream professions. Before then long hair had been for the artists and rebels. In the 70s my pediatrician looked like Keith Partridge (David Cassidy).
Disco and everything that went with it, drugs and casual sex. In the 70s we got the benefit of everything my brother and the hippies started in the 60s. Except for disco; that was the curse of Lucifer.
Superficially, beards, long hair, and flannel shirts.
At a deeper level, a complete disillusionment/malaise, due to Viet Nam and the failure of the hippie movement to actually make the world a better place, that crept into everything. Music, movies, design in general.