What were The 70's really like?

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Ed Storer

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I graduated college in 1972. Fortunately I had a 1-H (second selection group) draft status, so I never got to see Southeast Asia until I had a company-paid trip to China in 1994.

American cars sucked. I bought a Fiat, then an Audi - both were fun to drive. My guitar lived in the closet. I had fun at the disco's. Lot's of sex, no drugs, listened to rock-n-roll as well as country.

The economy had it's ups and downs - we were introduced to OPEC and lines at the gas stations.

I smoked cigarettes and drank quite a bit (I no longer do either). I bounced around a little bit, but wound up in a niche of my profession where I could really use my talents.

All-in-all, I remember the 70's fondly.
 

blowtorch

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Fair enough. What decade does work best for you?
I'm Gen X and came of age in the 80s. HS class of 84 (so very orwellian, hey).
So I love the early 80s, as everyone loves the time they came of age and had those important milestones. And I'm very comfortable in the dystopian nostalgia of it all

However in some ways I think I'd've been more at home in the 50s, with Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee and Elvis and Little Richard, but you know, there was also Perry Como and "Cookie Lend Me Your Comb" and "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?"

plus, you know, a lot of societal stuff that really kind of sucked back then
 

guitar_paul1

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I moved with my wife to Seattle in 75. After growing up in Eastern Washington/North Idaho, it was heaven. Bought my first new car, first house and we had our first kid all in 77. I was like, oh crap I better keep this job. It worked out OK.

Playing bars and rock concerts like I mentioned in my previous post took a distant back seat.
 

mr natural

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King Crimson got really aggressive and yet very delicate at times. Space 1999. I think some guy golfed on the moon. Tuna casserole with elbow macaroni was a staple in our house. High mortgage rates. You could buy a bong at the mall. Weird cars. Non-existent parental supervision. Lancers wine from Portugal. Smoking on aeroplanes. Playboy magazine and Omni. GI Joe’s helicopter toy. George Carlin before he got cynical, shoveling driveways or mowing lawns. Crazy decade.
 

willie ray

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As an Aussie kid living on the East Coast I look back on,

panel vans..... KB gold beer
cheesecloth... flares[bellbottoms]
countdown....the beginning of pub rock
surf mats....chiko rolls
the beach....people screamin' from bluebottle stings
chicks....alcohol,tobacco ads on tv endlessly
the movie 'Stone'...it was R rated man!
Sherbet....John Paul Young
'C'mon aussie C'mon' one day cricket commercials
only two tv channels......surfies v westies
safari suits...go go boots
Abigail...Norman Gunston
the amount of junk food you could buy with just one dollar
we thought we were so cool but we were really
just so "daggy"[Strayan for uncool]
 

Skully

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Fair enough. What decade does work best for you?

For all that was good about the '70s, it was, as President Carter put it, a time of national malaise. Vietnam hangover, Watergate, energy crisis inflation. In the U.S., we lost a lot of our national pride and feeling of invulnerability. A bit of that's a good thing, I guess.

I started the decade in Sears Toughskin jeans and spent a lot of time in corduroy, much of it beige, searching out the biggest of big bell Levi's -- Super Bells! I don't like corduroy and I can't stand beige or bell bottoms. Just yesterday, my daughter got into my car wearing corduroy pants, and I explained how I spent much of the '70s wearing them. Levi's 501 jeans were a welcome change in fashion.
 
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Dismalhead

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I thought the skateboard craze really took off in the mid-'70s. The guys at Cadillac Wheels invented urethane skateboard wheels in 1972, went full-time manufacturing them in '74, and then Skateboarder magazine, which had a brief run during the clay wheels skateboard fad in the mid-'60s was relaunched in 1975 and lasted until about 1982. I think by '77 (or maybe it was '78), I started seeing Tony Alva posters in the local Woolco department store in south Jersey the following year, next to Farrah, Kiss, Led Zeppelin, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and other poster superstars.

I loved the magazine and read it every month, but I was merely a so-so-skateboarder back then, and eventually gave it up when my four wheels became much larger and had an engine attached to them.

s-l1600.jpg
Still have my '77 Hang Ten skateboard. One of the few things I have left from my childhood. Same model as this one in about the same shape. I went everywhere on that thing for a couple of years:

f369876471.1.jpg
 

Dismalhead

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I was 13 when the decade came to a close. I remember stingray bikes, BB guns, M.A.S.H. & Eddie’s Father on TV, Skating rinks were HUGE. Some of the best music of my life…Any Bay Area people remember Bob Wilkins Creature Features?

Brother and I watched it every week. Saw Night of the Living Dead for the first time on Creature Features.
 

beyer160

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Popular culture was greatly affected by the previous ~10 years of Vietnam, so when that was over in the early 70s there was an undercurrent of hope that created a sense of open-mindedness and acceptance of new things, such as punk rock.
I was too young, but a friend of mine was in the first high school class that didn't get drafted ('73, I think). He said it was like a weight he hadn't even known he was carrying being lifted from his shoulders. Subsequently, he and his friends made the most of their new lease on life.
My kids cannot believe there were actual ciggerette machines back then.
I was in a dive bar in Miami a couple of years ago, and they still had a cigarette machine. We all went and stared at it.
 

Esquire Jones

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I'm Gen X and came of age in the 80s. HS class of 84 (so very orwellian, hey).
So I love the early 80s, as everyone loves the time they came of age and had those important milestones. And I'm very comfortable in the dystopian nostalgia of it all

However in some ways I think I'd've been more at home in the 50s, with Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee and Elvis and Little Richard, but you know, there was also Perry Como and "Cookie Lend Me Your Comb" and "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?"

plus, you know, a lot of societal stuff that really kind of sucked back then
Class of 84 here, too.

I remember divorce becoming thing. And the whole period was like a sense that the old order was changing or morphing or ending. I could sense it.

My Dad had Bitches Brew and Coltrane on vinyl. My Mom had Linda Ronstadt and Judy Collins on 8 track. I bought Aerosmith albums at the non-chain grocery store for $3.99.

Get home for dinner before dark.

Skateboards and bikes. Hand me downs.

And then, all of a sudden B-52’s Rock Lobster?

What a life.
 

jays0n

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I thought the skateboard craze really took off in the mid-'70s. The guys at Cadillac Wheels invented urethane skateboard wheels in 1972, went full-time manufacturing them in '74, and then Skateboarder magazine, which had a brief run during the clay wheels skateboard fad in the mid-'60s was relaunched in 1975 and lasted until about 1982. I think by '77 (or maybe it was '78), I started seeing Tony Alva posters in the local Woolco department store in south Jersey the following year, next to Farrah, Kiss, Led Zeppelin, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and other poster superstars.

I loved the magazine and read it every month, but I was merely a so-so-skateboarder back then, and eventually gave it up when my four wheels became much larger and had an engine attached to them.

s-l1600.jpg
Yes. As kids we read skateboard magazines and I remember going to the Mall (like our modern indoor malls) and going to the skate shop to get those new giant glorious orange urethane wheels and the dampers or whatever that we put under the trucks. We saved up for that stuff and then could choose from a huge selection of them at the shops in the mall.

We were always on our skateboards, if not doing big jumps in the riverbed behind the cemetery on our BMX bikes.

96A295E2-C412-4129-B692-AE982FDDD44A.jpeg
 

loudboy

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I was 13 in 1970, so I pretty much grew up in that decade.

I had an older sister, so was hipped to a lot of the good music that was coming out. She briefly had a boyfriend who played bass, and showed me the basics - pentatonic patterns, and I was off and running. Iplayed bass for a year or so, and then switched to guitar.

Played my first gig around then, at a Rec Center. There was a dance every weekend, somewhere and they all had live bands. Our town (10K) had at least 3-4 that were made up of HS kids, and were all GOOD. There was circuit of High Schools/Rec Centers and such that kept everyone busy and pay was equivalent to what bands get now, not figuring in inflation. Playing the hits, and as the '70s moved on, we were doing Deep Purple, ABB, Doobies, Stones and then Aerosmith, ZZ Top and a bunch of others, pretty much note for note. When I was a sophomore in 1973, I had an SG and a 50W Marshall half-stack that was paid for with gig money. Our KBD guy had a B3 and a Wurly.

By the time I finished college in 1979, I was playing full-time and making the equivalent in today's dollars of around $70K/yr. gigging 4-5 nights a week at the local bars and colleges. Clubs were rip-roaring, every night - the bigger bands were all very good and carried full production. We had a 22' truck, and two full-time roadies - we'd waltz into the gig about 20 minutes before downbeat, and then leave as soon as we were done, rarely alone. <g> Chops were crazy good, playing 4-hour gigs that much.

Socially, Dazed and Confused nailed it, altho we didn't have quite the cliques in that movie. Everybody had a group they hung with, but there wasn't any real animosity between them and you could float between them. I was always in bands with older guys, and would visit my sister at college, so I realized soon that HS pretty much a joke, and put in just enough effort to get by, much to the chagrin of parents/teachers. "Progress not consistent with ability" was my mantra. <g>

It was refreshing to see the bipartisan effort to clean up the environmental disaster that we'd become - I think everyone realized that we were reaching a tipping point and something had to be done. One example - when I was kid, there were virtually no raptors left, now they're everywhere.

It was depressing to see the curtain ripped open that exposed the ugly truth of some of our leaders - it was really the end of the innocence.

It was great to actually be able to afford college, without massive loans.

IMHO, the quality of music steadily declined from 1970-1978 or so, when the punks gave everyone a kick in the ass. Playing in bands in HS doing Stones, ABB, ZZ Top, Deep Purple, etc. and then in college, when people thought "Runnin' On Empty" was a stone rocker kind of stunk for me. Cheap Trick was fun, but don't even mention The Eagles. <g>

To people in my age group, KISS was also a joke - it was the younger kids that liked them, and I don't remember a single cover band back then ever doing a KISS song.

Me, in my college band - 1975:

MG 1977.jpg
 

brookdalebill

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I was 13 in 1970.
Viet Nam was on every young man’s mind.
Protests against the war were common on university campuses.
They were often violent.
The music on the radio was fantastic, if you were a guitar lovin’ kid, like me.
Rock concerts became events.
Boys and girls all had long hair parted in the middle, bell bottom and flared jeans were on everyone’s legs.
Kids and parents were at odds.
TV sitcoms started to tackle social issues.
As the 70’s progressed, Rock got more glam-oriented, Soul gave way to Disco, Disco gave way to Punk, Punk gave way New Wave, New Wave gave way to Hair Metal.
It was great, weird, kinda scary, and full of change.
As I was a kid aged 13-23, I learned a lot.
I’m glad it was “my” time.
Music was everywhere, and it was rich, varied, and performed by brilliant, and often extremely attractive artists.
 
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black_doug

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I was 13 in 1970, too. In Toronto we were only 1 1/2 hours from Buffalo, New York so we watched American TV, and news about Vietnam. My uncle and aunt lived in Niagara Falls, NY, near the Love Canal. I remember my cousins showing us the fence that was put up around it.

I remember the 70s having a lot of changes.

The first half of the decade had some of the best music ever. And all different styles - rock, soul, blues, R’n’B, folk-rock, country, country-rock, and prog. (Yes, then came disco, but only for a few years.)

I remember muscle cars, and station wagons. Motorcycles got bigger and faster, too. Dad bought a LeMans station wagon with a 400 cu inch engine just before I got my license.

The family bought a place in the country, on a lake, in 1970. Dad came on weekends, and Mom stayed at the cottage all summer with my brother and me. We learned to waterski. I did a lot of fishing. I also learned about cliques the hard way. I didn’t fit in with the cool kids at the other cottages down the road and wasn’t welcome. I was just a couple of years younger.

As the decade went on and I became more aware, I realized that things in the rest of the world were not good. The economy was growing but interest rates were high, and then the gas shortages.

Overall, I’d have to say that the 80s were better. I fell in love in 1980, and got married in 83.
 
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