Popular Fads of the 70s

Written by philip powe
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Popular Fads of the 70s
One of the iconic items of the '70s was the disco ball (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The 1970s were a turbulent, often bizarre, time in U.S. history. Many of the items we take for granted in society today have roots in the fads of the 1970s. Other fads were not as long-lasting and fell to the wayside but are still burnt into our collective consciousness.


The bass-line rift and heavy backbeat of drums was the iconic sound of disco music in the mid- to late '70s. It was more than a music but became a way of life for many U.S. residents on the weekend. Fuelled by the movie "Saturday Night Fever," the disco scene exploded on the pop landscape. It generated more movies and the phenomenon of the discotheque. The music was unavoidable on the radio and many bands perform songs with a disco beat.

Pet Rock

Inventor Gary Dahl hit the jackpot with the creation of the pet rock. The pet rock was packaged in a yellow cardboard container with a small amount of straw placed in the bottom and a book on how to care for it. The rocks were rounded river stones that were then placed inside the box on the straw. The average cost of the pet rock was £3.20 to £5.10.

Printed T-shirts

T-shirt companies created a fad by using iron-on transfers or screen printings to post messages on T-shirts to represent the feelings of the wearer. The shirts wear either purchased from department stores or from small shops in shopping malls. The advantage to purchasing from a shopping mall was the variety of shirts. These small shops printed different shirts and could customise them while you waited.

Mood Rings

Mood rings appeared in the mid-1970s and were proclaimed to tell the wearers mood by changing colours. Many designs of the rings and shapes of the stone where used. The main key to the ring, though, was the glass stone. It was heat reactive and changed colours according to the amount of body heat the stone received.

Video Games

The early '70s saw the advent of the first coin-operated video games. Pong became a hit in the mid-70s when it pitted two opposing players against one another. The most popular of the 1970s coin-operated games was Space Invaders. It pitted the player against an invading army of aliens and struck a chord in young and old. Atari cornered the market on the home video console when it introduced the 2600 in the late 1970s. This console allowed the owners to purchase cartridges that played games.

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