Crazy Things That Happened in the '70s

OK, so we know the '80s had the most ridiculous trends, the '20s had Prohibition, and the '50s had poodle skirts, but here's what you need to know about all the crazy things and funny events that happened in the 1970s.

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The Sexual Revolution

Reading At Woodstock
Ralph Ackerman / Getty Images

Sex was huge in the '70s!

After the birth control pill was approved by the FDA in 1960, the 70s came roaring in with the wheels already set in motion for the for "free love" movement from the previous decade. Sex became a big focus for the public, not only in practice but in the issues surrounding sex as well.

  • 1971: Sex becomes an equal rights issue – The Supreme Court case Reed v. Reed declares sex discrimination a violation of the 14th amendment.
  • 1973: Sex becomes a women's rights issue – Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the US.
  • 1978: Sex becomes somewhat of a non-issue – The first test-tube baby is born. Sex is no longer necessarily needed to create a baby.
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The Drug Fun Is Done

No Drugs sign

Infrogmation/Wikimeda Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Drugs were a big influence on '70s pop culture as well. LSD use hit its peak, drugs affected several big stars at this time, and the government's view on drugs became a lot stricter in the '70s. 

  • 1970: Drugs are bad – Under the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug on the basis that it has "a high potential for abuse."
  • 1971: Drugs are worse – Drugs become "public enemy number one."
  • 1973: Drugs are punishable – The DEA is established.
  • 1977: Drugs kill – "The King," Elvis Presley, dies of a drug overdose.
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The World Changes

Margaret Thatcher Smiling Widely at Press Conference
Bettmann Archive / Getty Images

A lot of newsworthy things happened around the world in the 1970s, some of them had a more lasting impact than others.

  • 1972: Munich Massacre – A terrorist attack at the Olympics forever changes the games that bring the world together.
  • 1973: War ceases – The Vietnam War ends.
  • 1976: Disease hits – The first Ebola outbreak hits. Multiple outbreaks over the course of the year killed 88% of its victims.
  • 1979: Regimes shift – "The Iron Lady," Margaret Thatcher, becomes the first female prime minister of Great Britain.
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The Music Scene Explodes

The Jackson 5 performing on stage
Doug McKenzie / Getty Images

The events leading up to the Vietnam War, and those following it, affected the way pop culture moved as well. Some great songs came about from anti-war protest movements ​and inspired great things like Woodstock in 1969.

  • 1970: The Beatles announce their breakup.
  • 1973: The Jackson 5 scores their first hit, propelling them to be the biggest R&B band of the '70s, "bringing Black consciousness and spirituality to '70s pop."
  • 1978: "Saturday Night Fever" is released, igniting a resurgence in the popularity of disco.
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Entertainment Reaches New Highs

Scene from 'The Godfather'
Steve Troughton/Flickr/Public Domain

In addition to producing some of the greatest music of the last century, the '70s also provided us with some incredible entertainment that's still around over 30 years later! The birth of modern stand-up comedy, as well as special effects developments, gave way to some pretty incredible shows and movies.

  • 1973: Going gangster – The Godfather wins Best Picture. This movie still ranks on all-time best movie lists today. "Francis Ford Coppola’s epic crime saga redefined the gangster film forever."
  • 1975: Comedy gains traction – Saturday Night Live debuts, giving some of the biggest names in comedy national exposure.
  • 1977: The underdog prevails – Rocky wins Best Picture, beginning a commercially successful series and launching Sylvester Stallone's career.
  • 1977: Sci-Fi takes center stage – The first Star Wars movie is released. This gives way to an epic movie franchise that is still producing movies in the series to this day! 
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Scandal Hits the US

President Nixon Saying Farewell
Bettmann Archive / Getty Images

The Watergate Scandal, one of the most infamous scandals in presidential history hit the US in 1972.

  • 1972: A Crime and a coverup – Five men are caught breaking into the Democratic National Headquarters located at the Watergate business complex. As the investigation into this and related events develop, President Richard Nixon and his advisors attempt to cover up the crimes.
  • 1974: Saving face – Nixon resigns so as not to be impeached.

While this only touches the tip of everything that happened in the '70s, many of these crazy events still have influence over pop culture, policy, health, and more to this very day.