My 6th hour class and I had an interesting, albeit, off-topic conversation today. If you had a one-way ticket on a time machine, would you go back in time, or into the future? General consensus mostly favored heading back in time. The past is known. The future is uncertain. Considering this through a smaller lens this evening, I started thinking about the decades I’ve lived, and how I rank them. I was born in 1975, so technically I experienced half of that decade. To be honest though, I don’t remember the first five years of my life. I like to think sometimes I remember that trip to Disney World in ’78, but it’s more likely I just remember stories told to me about it a few years later. It’s really unfortunate. There are plenty of reasons I would have liked being a bit older and truly knowing the 1970s.
Sports: Both my favorite football and baseball teams had their greatest success, as Pittsburgh’s Steel Curtain won four Super Bowls and Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine won two World Series Championships. My alma mater, Indiana University, went undefeated in 1976 en route to winning the men’s basketball national championship. To this date they’re the last team to run the table and complete a perfect championship season in men’s college hoops. Hell, even my hometown school, Notre Dame, made their only final four appearance in ’78. Oh yeah, the Irish also won two football national championships in ’73 and ’77 respectively. I’m also a huge Indycar fan. The thought of watching A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Johnny Rutherford, and the Unser brothers battling the hell out of each other for Indy 500 glory every year? Yeah buddy. Good stuff there! Needless to say, a very good decade for the sports and teams I love.
Music: I know a lot of people think ’70s and their mind goes to Disco. Sure, Disco was a pretty big deal for a few years, but it didn’t define the decade. Rock ‘n Roll was very good in the 1970s. The biggest and baddest band of the ’70s just so happens to be my all-time favorite band…..Led Zeppelin. Another one of my favorite bands, Steely Dan, released album after album of great tunes.Though I’m not a fan of anything Aerosmith has done from the 1980s to present day, 1970s Aerosmith was tremendous: Dream On, Draw the Line, Sweet Emotion, Back in the Saddle, Walk This Way, Last Child, Same Old Song and Dance…Seriously, I don’t want to sound like a proponent of drug and alcohol abuse, but those guys clearly wrote better stuff when they were whacked out of their minds! There was The Eagles, and their multitude of hits, if that was your bag. Even Elton John and Billy Joel made some good songs in the 70s. There were successful 60s bands still making good music this decade. There were future successful bands like the Police, Talking Heads, U2, Van Halen, just starting to break in near the end of the decade as well. I know the music of the ’60s was more important, but the 1970s had no shortage of great bands and material.
Fashion: Ok, this is where perhaps someone who truly experienced the decade may disagree with me, but looking back through film, television, and photos, I really dug peoples’ look in the 1970s. The big collars, the various colors and designs. It says something when the first sentence of Wikipedia’s “1970s in Western Fashion” page has a quote from Vogue magazine stating, “There are no rules in the fashion game now.” That’s what I’m talking about. Hell, I would loved to have rocked the Ascot with regularity!
Cars: The Muscle Car Era. Are you kidding me? Ok, I know my history. The muscle car era actually died in the 70s. Most consider its peak to be mid-60s to 1970. Thing is though, even today, most folks aren’t driving around in brand new vehicles. I figure most people are driving something on average about five years old right? Our current family vehicles are a 2012 and a 2016 respectively. Point being, a lot of cars on the road in the mid-70s were probably from the late-60s…..the sweet spot of the muscle car era. My all-time favorite car? The 1968 Chevy Camaro. If you’re gonna hold me to the 70s on this one, no problem. A 1970 Chevelle or Monte Carlo would do just fine as well.
As I’ve said, I didn’t really live the 1970s. If I had, I’d probably recall all the bad crap the decade produced…..The oil crisis, recession, final years of the Vietnam War, etc, etc. Since I didn’t really experience it in any meaningful way, I have the luxury of looking back and sort of cherry-picking all the cool aspects of the decade. I gotta say, for whatever bad the 1970s produced, there sure seemed to be a whole lot of cool as well.
Now perhaps next blog I’ll get on to discussing the decades I actually do remember during my lifetime!