Highlights of the 70s Era

Updated April 17, 2017

The decade spanning 1970 to 1979 saw some of the craziest fads ever, from streaking -- running naked through packed sporting events -- to Pet Rocks, which were invented in 1975 by Gary Dahl and marketed with a care manual and instructions for teaching it "tricks." It was a time of anti-war demonstrations and protest marches, of political upheaval and musical innovation.


Fashions in the '70s embraced the hippie culture with bell-bottomed trousers, love beads, platform shoes and long hair for both men and women. Other common fashion choices in the 1970s were long, flowing maxi dresses that completely covered women's legs or, at the opposite extreme, hot trousers and micro-mini skirts that left little to the imagination.


Two major musical influences from the previous eras came to an end: The Beatles broke up in 1970 and Elvis died in 1977. Major names and bands in the 1970s included David Bowie, Debbie Harry and Blondie, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson, who was 12 in 1970.


The '70s era was a tumultuous decade for politics and world events. During this time minority groups, gay people and women sought increased recognition and equality, and women and African-Americans played a more active role in politics. The U.S. presidents during the decade were Richard Nixon (1969-74), Gerald Ford (1974-77) and Jimmy Carter (1977-81).

It was the decade of the Watergate scandal. the first Earth Day celebration and the first Gay Pride March in New York City. The Vietnam War ended officially in 1973 although hostilities continued until 1975.


Disaster movies, such as "Airport" and "The China Syndrome," heralded the beginning of an genre. "Midnight Cowboy" at the start of the decade and "Kramer Vs. Kramer" at the end were huge hits. Horror buffs scared themselves with "The Exorcist" while crowds laughed over "Blazing Saddles." "Saturday Night Fever" popularised craze for disco dancing.


Atari introduced its Pong game. The first floppy discs appeared in 1970, with Intel microprocessors appearing in 1971. In 1973, the first test tube baby, Louise Brown, was born.

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About the Author

Deborah Jones started her freelance writing career in 1990. Her work has appeared in The Writer's Forum, "Reader's Digest" and numerous D.C. Thomson magazines. Jones has a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and a postgraduate certificate in education, both from the University of Derby.