Baby Boomers Chronicles (BBC): 1971

Ah, 1971, a banner year. It was the year of the coming of age. Each of us old enough has had that time, a point crossed, where the previous manner of life will never be again. It was my last full year as a high school student. It was time to seriously prepare for the future; you are not a kid anymore. We have all, or most of us reading, been there at some point.

As a historian, I still consider this year part of what it was to live in the 1960’s. In my mind everything associated with the ‘sixties’ began on November 22, 1963 and ended in early 1973 at the point that the draft was eliminated, still 2 years into the future. At that time, the focal point of the protests was eliminated and America was ready to move on.

As for me, I got my first job, first checking account, first car and everything was happening so fast. I basked in the relative independence that earning my own money provided. I worked part time after school as the custodian at Denver Stapleton Airport for a couple of Jewish concession stand owners. They had a two of gift shops in the airport at the time. I am grateful for the experience of working at an airport, immersed in the hustle/bustle of the world outside of my own backyard. I got a good lesson from my employers on how capitalism worked. I watched them get cheap costume jewelry by the truckload and charge $5.00 for a single pair of earrings. People were willing to pay 0.15c for a candy bar! We always knew that merchandize at airports was overpriced; now I could see why and how. They were probably gathering stones from the street and selling them as “pet rocks”, a craze at the time. Then, we had a run on all those corny ‘smiley face’ souvenir coffee mugs. I wasn’t in a position to understand then, but man, those guys must have been making a ‘killing’.

I met many celebrities and was always on the lookout for opportunities to get autographs. I still have many of these to this day, in shrink wrap, of course. I immediately met Charlie Pride and Colonel Harlan Sanders. Colonel Sanders was in his iconic white suit and very hard of hearing. He reached into his coat to get a pen, and I thought for sure that he was going to pull out a bucket of chicken as he was so good at the part of promoting his brand. I met and shook hands with a relatively young and svelte Edward Kennedy. I said that I would never wash my hands again, but, of course, I did.

So what was going on in the background? January 1, 1971 was the date that cigarette advertising could no longer be shown on television. I missed the imaginative ads and memorable jingles that you find yourself humming under your breath. We also had the debut of a relatively controversial sit-com at the time, “All in the Family”. The producer, Norman Lear, went way out on a limb here, with the country generally pretty touchy on issues of race and class. It was great when Sammy Davis Jr. dropped by with Archie Bunker constantly mispronouncing words and calling his ‘liberal’ son-in-law a “meathead”. We were all more than comfortable with Richard Nixon as president. As a teen, I did not dwell on politics, but I do remember the acronym WIN, Whip Inflation Now. All of this was well before Watergate and the troubles to come. I do remember that my mom never liked Spiro Agnew, Vice President, and always called him ‘Assnew’ at a slip of the tongue. I religiously followed the lunar landings of Apollo 14 and 15 during that year.

Pall Mall Cigarette TV Commercial (1970)

All in the Family- Opening Theme (1971)

To watch and listen, click here

I was driving a 1962 Chrysler Newport with push button automatic transmission, was that a classic or what? The ‘tank’ only got about 9 miles to the gallon, but no worry, gas was only 0.36 cents a gallon. With my minimum wage salary of $1.60/hour, all that money was burning a hole in my pocket. Combine this with a change of wardrobe, and a flashy attaché case, I was hot s***. With mini skirts the rage at school, it was all a teen could do to control that raging libido. The pressure was unimaginable; I never want to go through that again

1962 Chrysler Newport

On the movie scene, I went to the theatre that year to see the “The Andromeda Strain” and “Diamonds are Forever”, the most recent of the James Bond films. How many of us wanted to imitate Sean Connery as James Bond? He showed of us young guys that when a girl said “no”, she really meant ‘yes’. This guy was so cool that when he tossed his hat it never missed the hat rack. The film had all the space, lasers and adventure that I craved. To this date, in my opinion, no one really played of the part of James Bond better than Sean Connery. Who could forget that unforgettable music score, that made the music pop charts with the same title as the film, by Shirley Bassey. I just had to sneak in to the theatre to see Stanley Kubrick’s sublime masterpiece “A Clockwork Orange”. I was technically underage, but I needed to find out what the ‘hubbub’ was all about.

I this had this song’s melody stuck in my brain all summer of 1971. There was this track from the “Rolling Stones” “Sticky Fingers” album. I liked the first 4 minutes of the song, the rest was primarily instrumental. Mom always said that Mick Jagger was the ugliest guy in the music business. I told her, while that may be true, it cannot be argued that he was also the damned richest, and that covered a multitude of sins. Those guys were so prolific and kept banging out the hits. So enjoy!

Can't you hear me knocking-Rolling Stones (1971)

This song was a reflection of the mood that I and many others had at the time. It was one of resentment toward a hard-hearted unmoving establishment. As the theme song for the film “Billy Jack”, “One Tin Soldier” was “our mood”. I saw “Billy Jack” and loved to watch the title character ‘kick ass’ using all his Vietnam Vet judo and karate moves. We chafed at the idea that all those beautiful wild ponies were being hunted down and sold by the bad guys for dog food. Billy Jack, just like Harry Callahan in “Dirty Harry”, also from 1971, allowed audiences to live out their frustrations with society and leave the theatre relieved that, at least for a moment, justice had been done. Absolute catharsis is what we wanted.

One Tin Soldier by Coven (1971)

So there is 1971 in a nutshell, if you were here, what was happening for you? The list of the top popular music hits in 1971 is linked below, which were your favorites? Thanks for visiting; I look forward to seeing you again!

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Borsia profile image

Borsia 5 years ago from Currently, Philippines

Ah 1971! It was a great year for me. I was a junior in High school. I drove an MGB and one of 2 motorcycles a Kawasaki 120 dirt bike or a Honda CB350 street bike. I had a cute GF who loved sex, well protected.

There were riots in my school both race riots and students against the war riots.

The police once sent 3 cops to quell a group of about 500-600 students. They were instantly mobbed and someone managed to hand cuff them together in the confusion. My best friend snatched one of their Mace cans and used it on one of the Deans. My aunt was under investigation by the FBI for starting one of the biggest antiwar riots at Berkeley.(They were never able to get enough on her to prosecute.)

I was at the Rolling stones opening night in Los Angeles in the 4th row center stage. We had better seats than Bianca. When Mick did a Tarzan swing on a rope off the stage he almost hit me in the head. I saw them live 4 times over the years.

We saw many of the bands before they became really famous in the small concert hall in my town. a list too long to go into but we saw most of the greats.

I lived in the country my family were farmers so I could work whenever I wanted, often when I didn't. I was the #1 tractor driver and I loved doing it. I also drove the trucks taking fruit to the big exchange warehouse.

And the "drugs" back then. Pot was cheap and most mushrooms were magic, hash was real from Eastern temples complete with foil wrappings and embossed with seals. Mescaline was common and so much more. All in all it was THE time.

CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana


I was 11. Going on my first HAYRIDE WITH A GIRL!

Going roller skating and thinking "One bad apple" by Donnie Osmond was the best! The Three Dog night comes to mind, I think the first 45 I bought was 'Joy to the World".

Watching the wonderful world of Disney on Sunday nights.

Also, being able to play ALL day long "around the neighborhood" and my parents did not have to worry about me.....

It was a good time for me.

Thanks Cred, another trip down memory lane.


feenix profile image

feenix 5 years ago

Hey, Cred,

Well, this article brought back a lot of fond memories.

In 1971, I had been recently discharged from the Army, worked for a large L.A.-based life insurance company, drove a 1969 Corvette Stingray, wore my hair in a huge "Jackson Five-style Afro," had a girl friend who worked as a go-go dancer and I was a real "disco duck."

At some point in the future, I will post a photo of the way I looked back in those days. ;-)

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geordmc 5 years ago from Beliot, Wisconsin


1971 I was moving from Missouri to Arlington Heights outside Chicago mid freshman year. From there it went south, not my favorite decade. Voted up & awesome, funny.

Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

HaHa Cred! Who can forget Billy Jack...the first Billy Jack flick anyway. Too bad they didn't stop the cig ads sooner; and Pet Rocks- folks went krazy over those things. Hey, thats funny you thought about Col. Sanders pulling a chicken leg out haha. Dirty Harry was one bad dude wasn't he. Another great trip through the BBCs Cred!

Credence2 profile image

Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast) Author

Hi, Borsia, didn't we have a time. Damn, sex was everywhere. It was all I could do to stay out of trouble, but it wasn't easy. Then came this animated movie "Fritz the Cat" that said it all. You were not going to see that on the Saturday Morning TV cartoon lineup. We are all jaded today, all the novelty has worn off, back in those days it was all new.

We had a race riot at a school recently intergrated under forced busing back in 1970. I will mention that in the 1970 edition of the chronicles.

I did see the Stones in concert until 1975, boy, they were great.

Sounds like you had a great time, now we are all tangled in the muck of politics. I don't think that I would want to go back, the damn girls had you agitated all of the time. What came next were those 'hot pants'.

I did not get involved much in the drug scene, prior to freshman year at the "U" mom admonished me to stay away from the LDS, yeah, right. I kept my promise, no contact with Latter Day Saints, but as for the occasional doobie, that was another matter. Thanks for looking in and come back again, soon!

Credence2 profile image

Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast) Author


Hi, Chris, thanks for stopping by, it is always those "first" that stay with us a lifetime.

The Osmond Brothers along the Jackson 5 certainly put a lot of fun music on the charts. I certain remember Three Dog Night and followed their music, they had a distinctive sound haunting and inviting.

I was where you were in the middle sixties, childhood is a time most of us never appreciate while we are there, but when you get older most of us remember far more good times than bad.

Until next time, thanks Cred2

Watching the wonderful world of Disney on Sunday nights.

Also, being able to play ALL day long "around the neighborhood" and my parents did not have to worry about me.....

It was a good time for me.

Credence2 profile image

Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast) Author

Feenix, welcome to the party, I knew that you would get a kick out of this. I bet you were the man about town in those days.. You gotta let us see the photo of you during prime time, the big afro. You can be sure that I will tune in. Come and visit again, Cred2

Credence2 profile image

Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast) Author

Hi, geordmc, thanks for joining the party. Seems like we were contemporaries, you and I, for the most part. Sorry, the seventies were not your cup of tea. But for one brief, shining moment many of us stood on top of the world in a way that we wont ever again. Thanks Cred2

Credence2 profile image

Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast) Author

Hi, alastar, I know that you are keen on the movies. A lot of these movies had memorable lines. This one from "Dirty Harry", I virtually memorized for many years after the film.

Confronting a wounded bank robber after a foiled robbery, Harry says:

I know what you're thinking. "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk

in "Billy Jack", I loved the scene where he told, Bernard, the bad Sheriff's wayward son after he was caught raping one of the local girls near the lake:

Well Bernard, I have to teach you a lesson, you have two choices, either you drive your car into the lake (brand new corvette sting ray convertable) or I dislocate your elbow and generally kick your (a88). It was so funny watching that kid floor it and drive the car into the lake.

You have to check the scene when in town he kicks the Sheriff upside his head, but he had a nice narrative he shared with him just prior to it. I the music clip, you can see where the Sheriff gets it good.

Thanks for dropping by as always, Cred2

Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

Oh yeah Cred! I remember that hilarious scene in Billy Jack now- awesome it was!

Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

I still say the 70's had the best music ever.. 70 was my last year in high school. thank you for this hub.. brings back so many memories.

I voted up and awesome


Credence2 profile image

Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast) Author

Thanks, Alastar

Credence2 profile image

Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast) Author

Hi, Debbie, thanks for dropping in and confirming your membership to the (BBC). Didn't we have a time? The young folks do not know what they had missed. Nice to hear from a contemporary, come back and see us again...Cred2

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago

Hi Cred2,

What a trip that was. I left school in 71' and it was a blast.

I was making more money than I knew what to do with. I remember getting a taxi from one pub to another 150 yds down the road, lol what a dumb-ass! but it was super cool ha ha

Great hub, it brought back a load of good memories. I saw the stones in 69' in Hyde Park. I was there to see King Crimson and the stones were supporting. What a day.

Voted up etc.

Credence2 profile image

Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast) Author

Hi, molometer, did we not do the crazy things? One thing about it when the Stones put on a concert, they put on a concert, never disappointed. I am glad that you came along for the ride and I hope that it was worth the price of admission. Hurry back!

marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA


I 'virtually' came running over to this at your recommendation!

OMG, although 10yo, I guess I was precocious, as I remember all these memories like yesterday... what a fabulous Stones song and BILLY JACK... (Oh man, do you know how many times I sang that song, saw this movie and just sobbed... probably kinda ridiculous!)

Thanks for the cool memories... am steady listening to the Stones and laughing that we have the same Mother!

Voted UP & ABI. Hugs, mar.

Credence2 profile image

Credence2 4 years ago from Florida (Space Coast) Author

Marj, In 1971 this was who we were. Who could not relate and side with Billy Jack, racial injustice, greed, envoironmental issues are wrapped up in one guy who certainly thumped a melon or two to make his point. The 41 years, considering the technology and changing world circumstances, it seems like 100. But for a brief shining moment, we could savor the relatively simple times of what was!!

Thanks again for visiting the Chronicles!

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

1971 - broke up with my future husband the night before high school graduation. Oh the drama!

Bridge Over Troubled Water - the album or cassette - was new.

Headed off to college in the fall. Had to sell my textbooks back to the bookstore to eat the last month of the quarter because I'd so mishandled my finances. Checked my texts out of the library to study for finals!

Only quarter in 5 year college career I made the Deans List. Also only quarter I didn't work.

Drove my parent's Chevy II station wagon. It had two accessories: a heater and outside rearview mirror.

Still have the letter from a publisher telling me he thought he'd be hearing about me one day. Don't think he has yet!

Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

Credence2 profile image

Credence2 4 years ago from Florida (Space Coast) Author

Kathleen, so kind of you to drop by and visit. I certainly hope that you enjoyed the "Chronicles" where we can share a little about 'what was". Nice to see that we are roughly contemporaries, so when I speak of the 1970's as if they were just yesterday, you will be one that I won't lose in the translation. I will be revamping many others installments to the Chronicles that I will rewrite to be more like this one. Look forward to seeing you again.

Thanks, Cred2

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CJ Sledgehammer 4 years ago

Hey Cred2:

I don't have much to say about 1971, since I was only 4 years old. But, I am somewhat of an "authority" on music's greatest decade!!! :0)

Okay, I checked out the top 100 songs from 1971. From that list I like:

#15 Riders On The Storm - Doors

#28 Without You - Harry Nilsson

#42 It Don't Come Easy - Ringo Starr

#49 Country Roads - John Denver

#62 Day After Day - Bad Finger

#66 Don't Pull Your Love - Hamilton, Joe Franks and Reynolds

#72 Peace Train - Cat Stevens

#76 How Can I Mend A Broken Heart - Bee Gees

#77 I am, I Said - Neil Diamond

#84 Precious and Few - Climax

#88 Morning Has Broken - Cat Stevens

#98 Old Fashioned Love Song - 3 Dog Night

#110 Sooner or Later - Grass Roots

Thanks, Cred2...that was fun!!!

Best wishes and be well - C.J. Sledgehammer

Credence2 profile image

Credence2 4 years ago from Florida (Space Coast) Author

Hi, CJ, thanks for dropping by, hope that the new year meets all your expectations.

Sorry to say that you missed out, the sixties was a phenomenal as the eighties.

Here is my take on your selections for 1971

#42 It Don't Come Easy - Ringo Starr

#62 Day After Day - Bad Finger

#72 Peace Train - Cat Stevens

#76 How Can I Mend A Broken Heart - Bee Gees

#88 Morning Has Broken - Cat Stevens

#98 Old Fashioned Love Song - 3 Dog Night

I am surprised that "Old Fashioned Love Song" was not more prominent, back in the day, I was hearing it all of the time up to the point where the vinyl was being worn from the grooves of the LP's.

We must do this again sometime....

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CJ Sledgehammer 4 years ago


I had so much fun compiling my favorites of the 80's, I wrote another hub about my favorite tunes and t.v. shows of the 70''s up and running even as we speak. When you have a moment, please stop on over and tell me what you think.

Happy New Year!!!

Peace be with you and yours - C.J. Sledgehammer

P.S. I really did not miss out on too much of the sixties, because as a wee lad I watched all the 60's shows in syndication and listened to all their tunes. In fact, by night fall, I should have a 60's hub up and running as well. Cheers!!!

Credence2 profile image

Credence2 4 years ago from Florida (Space Coast) Author

Hi, CJ, I will have a look, gotta check your nostalgia bug, as we are both seriously infected. I am gonna pay you a visit right now.


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