Even if you're too young to have lived during the 70s, everyone alive fondly recalls the bygone era with an heir of nostalgia. Perhaps you remember playing Pong, listening to Elton John and the Jackson 5, seeing "Saturday Night Fever" at the movie theater, or eating a yummy Manwich while kicking back and watching "Welcome Back Kotter" on the TV? The 70s rode in on the tail of the hippy-dippy 60s and rode out on the disco inferno. So, put on your bell bottom jeans and platform shoes, and keep that incredible gold sequin jumpsuit handy, and take a fun, nostalgic journey through the 70s.
Fun 70s Nostalgia
Say hello to shag carpet, mood rings, pet rocks, Magic 8 Balls, pocket transistor radios, Rubik's Cubes, and a few more groovy nostalgic memories from the 70s.
Remember growing up with Sesame Street and all you learned from Big Bird, Elmo, and all the other Muppets?
How about the freewheeling fun of dancing around the roller skating rink to your favorite disco music?
Wasn't it great when your parents got that new Chevy Impala, and you could just load your favorite 8-track tapes into the car's 8-track player?
Or how about being the first kid in the neighborhood to carry a boombox around on your shoulder?
And what madcap fun it was to watch Laugh-In and stay up late for Saturday Night Live!
Of course, there were also those mornings when girls had to get up early to try to replicate Farrah Fawcett's feathered hairstyle with a teasing comb and a can of hairspray.
And how about those times you and your friends had so much fun practicing the Bump, the Hustle, and the Y.M.C.A. dance?
Wow! 70s music! It was so revolutionary and brought so many amazing artists to the scene. Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, The Eagles, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin are just a few who rose to fame in the 70s. Music listeners had dozens of genres to choose from at different times during the decade. Funk, Soul, R&B, Pop, Hard Rock, Soft Rock, Glam Rock, Punk, Beach, Jazz, Reggae, and Disco all carved out their place in the music world of the 1970s. Even hip-hop was born in the late 70s.
Everyone mourned when Jimi Hendrix left the world in September of 1970. However, it could be that the most important album of the decade was Jimi Hendrix's "Band Of Gypsys." It was recorded live on January 1, 1970 at the Fillmore East in New York City. John McDermott, a Hendrix biographer, says, "It's difficult to accurately measure the lasting impact "Bands of Gypsys" has made on rock, funk, R&B, and hip-hop."
Songs That Helped Define the 70s
You're bound to remember these iconic songs from the 70s:
"American Woman" - The Guess Who (1970)
"I'll Be There" - The Jackson 5 (1970)
"What's Going On" - Marvin Gaye (1971)
"I Shot the Sheriff" - Bob Marley (1973)
"Bohemian Rhapsody" - Queen (1975)
"That's The Way Of The World" - Earth, Wind & Fire (1975)
"Dancing Queen" - ABBA (1976)
"Stayin' Alive" - The Bee Gees (1977)
"YMCA" - The Village People (1978)
"I Will Survive" - Gloria Gaynor (1978)
"We Are Family" - Sister Sledge (1979)
Television Shows From the 1970s
You might find it hard to believe, but during the 70s, whole families sat down together to watch TV after dinner.
"The Brady Bunch," "Welcome Back Kotter," "All in the Family," "Sanford and Son," "The Jeffersons," and "Happy Days" had everyone laughing uproariously.
Crime dramas such as "Starsky and Hutch" and "Charlie's Angels" captivated the entire family.
Androids even populated the small screen with shows like "The Six Million Dollar Man" and "The Bionic Woman."
"Little House on the Prairie" and "The Dukes Of Hazzard" featured iconic characters that everyone fell in love with.
Television even transported families to the grandeur of Hawaii with "Hawaii Five-O."
Best Movies From the 1970s
The 1970s were record-breaking box-office years as escapist fun for all audiences soared to new heights. It was also the most fantastic decade for horror films.
Best 70s Films for Little Kids
70s kids were so excited to be taken to a Saturday matinee by their parents. Some of the best 70s children's movies were:
Animated musicals: "The Aristocats," "Charlotte's Web," "Robin Hood," and "The Little Prince"
Adventure films: "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory," "Benji," and "Bedknobs and Broomsticks"
Dramatic movies: "Where the Red Fern Grows" and "Black Beauty"
Comedy crime movie: "Bugsy Malone"
Fantasy film: "Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too"
Movies Remembered By 70s Teens
Nearly everyone recognizes the ominous notes from the iconic "Jaws"' theme song. It's also likely that everyone had chills run up and down their spine when they watched all the films listed below on TV or Netflix. Still, can you imagine what fun it was watching them in a crowded movie theater sitting with your teen friends?
"A Clockwork Orange" (1971)
"The Andromeda Strain" (1971)
"The Exorcist" (1973)
"The Rocky Horror Picture Show" (1975)
"Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977)
"Star Wars" (1977)
Other Fantastic 70s Movies
During the 70s, movie theaters were packed. People were seeing some of the best and most iconic films ever made. Movies such as "The Godfather," "The Sting," and "Taxi Driver" all hit theaters in the 70s. But the film that most defines the decade is "Saturday Night Fever" (1977), starring a young John Travolta.
Saturday Night Fever
Do you remember the great opening scene of 'Saturday Night Fever" where Tony Manero (John Travolta) is strutting down a Brooklyn street to the beat of the Bee Gee's "Stayin' Alive?" "Saturday Night Fever" exemplified the 70s and influenced fashion and hairstyles for years. With its disco music soundtrack, platform shoes, polyester suits, bell bottom pants, gold chains, and elaborate hairstyles, "Saturday Night Fever" became the quintessential emblem of the 70s.
Still, "Saturday Night Fever" didn't invent disco music. By the mid-70s, the sound of disco was well established. But disco was dying out by 1977 when "Saturday Night Fever" hit movie theaters. "Saturday Night Fever" brought disco music back to life, and it achieved widespread mainstream success. Songs like "Stayin Alive," "How Deep is Our Love," and "Night Fever" put the Bee Gees on the map, and the resulting album quickly became one of the best-selling soundtracks of all time.
The 70s Tech Revolution
The 70s were groovy, but they were also technologically revolutionary. HBO, VHS, and Apple home computers were all introduced during the 1970s.
Home Box Office (HBO) made its debut in 1971. Its first broadcast was a long-forgotten film, "Sometimes a Great Notion," followed by an NHL hockey game.
In 1975, Sony created Betamax, a revolutionary videotape-playing product that brought favorite movies into the family home. This was followed in 1977 by VHS, and the first video store opened in 1977.
The Apple II, first sold in 1977, helped lead a revolution that made computer technology available to everyone.
Groovy Computerized Toys From the 1970s
Did you know that it was during the mid-1970s that toys planted the seeds of computing in the minds of kids?
Can you imagine what a mind-blowing thrill it would be if you were a 70s kid playing your first game of Pong? Atari Pong, the first video game, was under Christmas trees for the first time in 1975. The Pong console was connected to the back of the family television. Pong allowed both kids and their parents to play table tennis by batting the balls around with in-game paddles.
Mattel Auto Race
You see a kid walking down the street, and his eyes are glued to the game in his hands. Could he be playing Pokémon Go? Or is he doing something else on his smartphone? Well, if the year is 1976, he's playing Mattel's Electronic Auto Race. Auto Race was the first electronic handheld game. Compared to today, Auto Race was simple to play, but back in 1976, it was revolutionary. It was so popular that a year later, Mattel created its electronic Football game. And to be clear, you were playing American football.
Imagine math drill-and-practice; that's what Little Professor did. It taught math. It was a handheld computer that appeared on the scene in 1976. It had a calculator-like keyboard, backed up by a cute little white mustached professor with his nose in a book. It had few bells and whistles. It simply displayed a math problem, and you entered the answer. If you were right, you were given another problem. If you were wrong, it flashed EEE on the display. Surprisingly, over one million Little Professors were sold in 1977.
Speak & Spell
Do you remember the phone ET used to phone home in 1982? It was a Speak & Spell. It was 1978 when Speak and Spell, an electronic handheld child computer with a robotic voice, began to teach kids how to spell and pronounce words.
Other Fun 70s Toys
Were you a 70s kid? If so, you enjoyed yo-yos, hula hoops, silly putty, ball and jacks, marbles, Barbie dolls, and various board games from prior decades. But the 70s provided you with lots of other groovy toys.
The Hoppity Hop Play Ball
Can you imagine riding a giant bouncing ball? That's what Hoppity Hops were. They were inflatable ride-a-balls that looked like gigantic basketballs, except they had a reinforced ring that made it easy just to grab on, hang on, and playfully bounce along.
You might find this hard to believe, but the Big Wheel replaced the tricycle. First sold in 1969, they were extremely popular with young kids throughout the 70s and beyond. Owning a Big Wheel was the first step for kids to take before learning how to ride a bike.
Think about the fun a child can have on a rainy day, tossing a ball around in the house without breaking anything. Hooray for the Nerf ball! The "world's first official indoor ball" is still wildly popular today.
Weebles were brightly-colored egg-shaped characters. If you were around in the 70s, you might remember the commercial jingle about the toy's ability to stand upright: "Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down."
Black Knight Sidewalk Skateboard
When you or your kids go skateboarding, you have the 70s to thank. Skateboarding had come and gone, but in 1975 when the "Black Knight" skateboard appeared in catalogs, skateboarding was back and hotter than ever. Never to be gone again.
Have you or your kids watched the 2017 Netflix series "Stretch Armstrong & the Flex Fighters?" Well, Stretch had his beginning as an unbreakable 70s action figure doll. Twist, pull, bend, tie him in knots - nothing would break Stretch!
Baby Alive was the coolest baby around in the 70s (other than your baby sister). These little miracle dolls did just about everything a real baby did. They ate, drank, and even wet and pooped their diaper, which had to be changed. Baby Alive dolls are still made today and have learned to do many other things, like talk!
Do you know when boys and girls first fell in love with the iconic Hot Wheels? It was in the 70s. Hot Wheels had futuristic cars, hot rods, muscle cars and trucks. With their high gloss and colorful paint schemes, they looked groovy. Hot Wheels race downhill on their special track at incredible speed. Hot Wheels were fast! They were an instant hit with 70s kids, and they are still groovy today.
Groovy Candy in the 1970s
Have you ever eaten candy that snapped, crackled, or popped in your mouth? Or magically changed from hard candy to chewing gum? If so, you're probably a 70s kid.
Imagine rocks that popped when kids put them into their mouths! Pop Rocks were perhaps the most innovative new candy to debut in the crazy 70s. Introduced in 1975, their garish colors, tingling feel, and the popping sound this "gasified candy" made as it dissolved on the tongue made them a hit with all the kids.
Bottle Caps were made out of a sweet-tart-like material in the shape of pop bottle caps. Tasting like SweeTarts, Bottle Caps came in cherry, root beer, cola, and grape flavors. Bottle caps were a favorite candy of 70s kids.
Yes, little round Razzles were so much fun. As you crunch on Razzles, the candy breaks up and morphs into chewing gum as if by magic. Initially introduced in 1966, its advertising jingle was "First it's a candy, then it's a gum. Little round Razzles are so much fun."
Imagine a candy with a corny joke printed on the candy wrapper. Kids became collectors of the wrappers. It's no joke that Laffy Taffy wrappers are now collector's items, and that's Laffy Taffy's claim to fame. Other than that, Laffy Taffy was just a long slab of flavored taffy.
Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip
Do you remember licking candy off another piece of candy? That was Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip. Kids licked a pressed-sugar paddle with their tongue and dipped it into a packet of flavored powder... then licked the powder off again and again.
Have you ever read Roald Dahl's 1964 book "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?" That's where kids first met the fictional Everlasting Gobstoppers; they met the real thing in 1976. An Everlasting Gobstopper is a flavor and color-changing jawbreaker with layers and layers of sweetness.
Charms Blow Pops
Everyone likes a lollipop now and then, and Charms Blow Pops were the favored 70s lollipop. They arrived in candy stores in 1973 and were a two-for-one deal. When a kid was done licking and crunching the hard candy lollipop, they still had the soft bubble gum center to chew on.
70s Food Nostalgia
During the 70s, convenience was favored over home cooking, except maybe on Sundays. There were meals in a can, meals in a box, frozen dinners, McDonald's, Burger Chef, and perhaps Bob's Big Boy. Yes, you read that right! Why? Because your busy mom and dad had worked all day, so feeding the kids had to be quick and easy. Take a trip down memory lane with some quick and convenient foods of the 70s.
Manwich crushed hamburgers. Remember sloppy joes, the evening meal of tomato sauce mixed with ground beef and piled into a hamburger bun? In the 70s, Hunt's Manwich Original Sloppy Joe Sauce made making sloppy joes quick and easy. You can still buy the mix in supermarkets today.
Getting the kids off to school so mom and dad could get to work made the 70s boom years for breakfast toaster treats that went from the freezer straight into the toaster. On a hectic morning, they were quick, easy, could be handheld and eaten on the run. There were Aunt Jemima Cinnamon Sticks, Kellogg's Danish-Go-Rounds, and Tastettes for breakfast. Kids at home for lunch could pop Betty Crocker Toastwiches into the toaster for lunch.
The aluminum trays. The compartmentalized food. Little kernels of corn finding their way into the gravy and dessert. TV dinners could hardly be compared to home cooking, but they were convenient. Plus, you could have a quick Thanksgiving meal of turkey, dressing, potatoes, vegetables, and dessert on any given day. During the 70s, TV dinners went from the freezer - to the oven - to the table. Home Microwave ovens weren't common until the 80s. Still, if you were alive in the 70s, you definitely had more than a few TV dinners.
Campbell's Chunky Soup
Curiously, in 1970 when Campbell's Chunky Soup made its debut, this thick chunky soup was marketed toward men. Campbell's condensed soups have been popular for decades. But this hearty soup was advertised as a "meal in a can" and a "soup so chunky you'll be tempted to eat it with a fork."
Once upon a time, there was no way to feed a family, using only one pan, one pound of meat, and one package. In 1971, when Betty Crocker's Hamburger Helper came to the grocery store shelves, it was an instant success and revolutionized dinnertime. Then in 1977, when you needed another trusty helper, Lefty came along. Lefty was the cute, red-nosed, puffy white-gloved talking left hand with only three fingers and a thumb that was the spokesman for Hamburger Helper.
I'm betting even today, you have cups of ramen noodles in your cupboard. Cup Noodles arrived in America, by way of Japan, in 1971. Lunch or dinner couldn't get much easier than instant flavored ramen that could be eaten directly from the cup packaging. Americans fell fast in love with inexpensive ramen noodles in the 70s.
Munchkins Donut Hole Treats
Everyone still loves Munchkin donuts! These little sweeties were a delicious and ingenious way to use the dough cut from donut holes. Dunkin' Donuts first sold them at the beginning of the 70s. They came in a brightly colored bucket with a cute Munchkin graphic printed on the side. Yes, 70s kids were the first to love Munchkins!
Do you sometimes crave an Egg McMuffin? Did you know they were created by McDonald's in 1972? It's not likely you've never eaten an Egg McMuffin, but just in case, it's an egg fried in a ring, a slice of bacon, and American cheese, stacked and sandwiched between toasted English muffins. During the 70s, eating breakfast on the go definitely became a thing.
The Wildly Exciting 1970s
The 1970s are famous for fun and funky fashion and the rise of disco. Still, it was also a time of cultural change and technological innovation. Those who grew up in the 70s have wonderful, nostalgic memories of the grooviest parts of this wildly exciting decade, which they still revere and often laughingly recall.