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The 1970s: The Greatest Decade Ever

Updated on July 27, 2014

The Jacksons In The 1970's

The Decade At A Glance

Anyone who was a teenager or adult in the 1970s will probably tell you it was the best time in their lives. The styles, the music and the ambiance of the era are unmatched and will never be duplicated.

From platform shoes to the shaggy hairdos the decade was unique, trendsetting and magical.

Unlike any time before it the 1970s had a feel to it that was exciting, invigorating and full of life. Everyone seemed to be happy to be alive.

It was a special place and time.

The Bee Gees

The Music

To say the music of the period was "off the hook" would be an understatement. No other time in music history put out as much quality music in so many different genres than the 1970s. Literally there was something for everyone. From rhythm and blues to jazz. From rock to disco. From country to blues every kind of music was available and the sounds were incredible.

It would not be far-fetched to say there was really no bad music.

The proof of the quality and endurance of the music is the fact that many of the songs of the time are still playing and being redone today. Many rap artists use or "sample" sound tracks from R & B songs of that time in their music. A lot of modern rock groups "cover" rock classics of the period making them into updated versions. Movies often have soundtracks of 1970s songs in them which is a testament to their longevity and appeal even today.

From the disco friendly sounds of the Bee Gees' "Staying Alive" to the driving rhythm of the Ojays "Money" the music of the 1970s was indeed "off the hook."

1976 Chevy Impala

The Cars

Along with the music of the time the cars had a distinct and unparalleled design and magnetism that made them very appealing to the eye.

The sleek features of cars like the Chevrolet Impala, the Buick Electra 225, the Cadillac DeVille and the Oldsmobile Toronado were innovative, unique and trendy.

"Muscle cars" were a new brand of automobile in the 70's and their impact was immediate and profound. The redesigned Camaro and Firebird which were introduced in the late 1960s were especially popular vehicles that had widespread appeal. Race tracks and city streets were packed with these cars due to their magnificent horsepower and eye-friendly appearance.

The new and improved Ford Mustang was another popular vehicle. In 1969 Ford introduced the Mach series which immediately caught on with the muscle car crowd and grew in popularity during the 1970s.

Much like the music of the time period the cars have maintained their appeal through the years with many young and older people today keeping them as classics. Many young people especially seem to like the cars from that time choosing to modify them with modern customizing kits that show off their time-honored distinction.

All and all the cars of the 1970s were a cultural phenomenon of sorts that has endured the test of time and probably will continue to do so.

Period Platform Shoes

The Fashions

There is no mistaking the impact and long-standing fascination with clothes from the 1970s. The fashions that were introduced at that time are simply futuristic. Even today the styles worn by people in the 70's is fashionable which demonstrates the far-reaching vision that was put into the designs of the period.

Platform shoes and butterfly collar shirts are en vogue even in 2014. Bell bottom pants are still a recognizable fashion statement in the new millennium. These facts speak to the timeless appeal that the clothes from that period have and are a witness to their time enduring attraction.

The hats, the coats, the shoes, the dresses and even the jewelry from the 1970s still resonates with today's generation. Their unique blend of practicality and style make them an everlasting staple in American fashion that for all intent and purpose will be around for a very long time.

ABBA In Concert From 1977

The Soul Train Line

John Travolta In Saturday Night Fever Disco Scene

The Culture

The culture of the 1970’s was as unique as the music, fashion and cars. In fact those things were part of the culture.

The hairstyles of the 70’s were trendsetting and innovative. From the afro and cornrows worn by many African Americans to the full-bodied shoulder length styles worn by others, the hairstyles had their own distinct look and influence.

Unlike years before hairstyles in the time frame were social statements. The afro and cornrow hairstyle was a statement of black pride among African Americans while the long, flowing hairstyles of the rest of the population was a declaration of freedom, liberation from tradition and a laid back attitude reminiscent of a more tranquil existence.

Even the colors of the decade were symbolic. The bold, bright colors represented a liberation of both mind and spirit that even resonated with older generations.

The 1970’s also produced many catch phrases that are still used today like ”peace”, “right on” and “what’s happenin’.”

The modern day fist bump and “pound” originated in the 70’s. And it was not uncommon to see two people “slappin’ each other five” on both the light and the “cool hand side.”

Rap music started in the late 1970’s with groups like The Sugar Hill Gang and artists like Kurtis Blow. And although modern rap is a far cry from what rap was then, it still has its origins in the 1970’s.

From top to bottom and side to side the decade of the 1970’s was one of the most innovative, creative, trendsetting, fashion savvy, enjoyable and pleasant times to be alive. And if you have any doubts about the influence or impact of the decade just look around you because the evidence of the 1970’s is everywhere.


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    • TonyDan profile image

      Tony Daniels 3 years ago from Toledo, Ohio

      Thank you mdscoggins . I was 14 when the 70's started and I enjoyed every minute of the time. It was an exciting time to be alive.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Hi TonyDan great article that really captured the 70's. This brought back great memories, I was a young child during the 70's but really remember listening to the BeeGee's on my record player.