Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Freaks were in a circus tent...Those were the days.*

I'm very much a product of the 70's...when our country came screaming out of the 60's decade of 'free love' into the digital revolution years...yours truly was the ripe age of seven. So the 70's really had a major impact on who I am today. I very proud of that fact for a number of reasons...let me share a few.

Music had soul

Even after 30 years, a lot of the music from the 70's has stood the test of time. The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Queen and AC/DC were all expanding their fan base with great new, driving rock music, while the Commodores, Marvin Gaye, Aretha and Chicago cranked out smooth hit after smoothhit. Pink Floyd brought a new music style to the scene and punk rock was born. Yes...we also watched disco/dance music arrive and leave too.

There were a ton of big hits, and a great song was measured by being a seamless integration of good music, good vocals and a good vibe. Defining the latter may appear vague, but play two distinct styles from the period...say an Eagles' hit and one from Jethro Tull...and you'll get a better understanding of what that probably means.

There were a few 'one hit wonders' in the 70's, but writing only one good song for an entire album release was a sure quick death during the 8-track age. Nobody wanted to listen to eleven bad songs/tracks waiting to loop back around to the one good song!

Television had some morals

As Lassie, Bonanza and even Gunsmoke ended long running series, new family-oriented programs like the Waltons and Little House on the Prairie took the scene with wholesome story lines. Even the sitcoms of the day like Sanford and Son, Happy Days, All in the Family, and Laverne and Shirley wouldn't cross certain moral boundaries and most always contained underlying themes of right and wrong. Who from the era can forget the struggles of the Evan's family in the housing projects of Chicago on Good Times? Dad James always too proud to take a hand out despite numerous hardships while Mom Florida openly prayed to 'the good Lord above.' Scenes like that are few and far between in broadcast programs today.

Remember spending Sunday nights watching the Wonderful World of Disney with the family as a way of winding down the weekend and preparing for a new week? I also recall the debate in my house if the show Wonder Woman was too racy for an 11-year old to watch in 1975....after all the lady had gold boobs!

The 'adult shows' were 60 Minutes, Mannix, Cannon and later Three's Company and Fantasy Island...where story lines had more sexual innuendos...but stopped at innuendo. A single episode of today's Three and a Half Men aired in 1975 would certainly have ended television watching at my house with the television ending up by the road as garbage.

Innovation was king

You might think I'm a decade early with that subtitle, but the 70's gave us waves of new, cutting-edge products. Which one of these modern day staples are a product of the 70's: bar codes, email, inkjet printers, laser printers, LCD's, personal computers or MRI imaging? Try all of them...every last one...not to mention microprocessors, microwave ovens and video games. That's right games...along with skateboards.

With innovation came a push to educate new generations to put the new concepts and products to productive uses. A major shift of more high school graduates heading for college caused an explosion in numbers of colleges and sizes of universities. What you could study and even major also expanded leading the way to even more specialized fields in most disciplines. Seriously...did we have any idea Swallow Therapist were in such demand until after the 70's. We just took swallowing for granted until then I guess.

Innovations from the 70's paved the road for the technical breakouts in the following decades that eventually made such technology as complicated as an iPhone as accessible today as the color television set was back then.

It's fair to say I'm proud to be a product of the 70's. People seemed to dress a little snazzier, step with a bit more swagger, and laughed at funny for the fact it was actually humorous...and not just shockingly offensive.

*From the theme to All in the Family...not a personal social observation by Tony C...well, at least that's what I'm going with here.


David said...

I saw Frampton on TV a while back. He is bald and wears Harry Potter glasses - and well, he still sounds really great.

The 70's were a not so fun time - but I got saved, listened to everything but disco, went to lots of concerts from Traffic (Winwood, Mason) to the Stones, Alman Bros, Aerosmith, Zep, Tull, Floyd, Yes and Styx. We thought life would never end, and now, I am pretty sure it will.

It was a time when Twinkies were WASP soul food - those were the days.

Tracy said...

I'm a child of the 70s also and can so relate to these things. The wonderful world of Disney was my favorite show.

I made sure my sons had a music education so they too can enjoy listening to ACDC, Metallica, Aerosmith, Rod Stewart, Elton John, the Commodores and Earth, Wind & Fire. But they can also sit and enjoy Yo Yo Ma as well. It seems that every decade has it's greats.

Tony C said...

@David- Those last two lines are classic.

ReadingRosie said...

Being a 70's chick myself, I must agree. Even my boys agree that the music was GREAT! Maybe I should rename my blog to Retro Rosie :)

photogr said...

Yep. I do recall the 70s era, and the 60s and the late 50s music wise. Even Disco. Loved palying and listening.

TV had some great shows but never had time to watch them much.

Steven Rossi said...

I'm not a child of the 70s, but I LOVE Good Times. I purchased all of the seasons on DVD and recently finished watching every episode. Talk about quality TV...those were the days indeed.