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US History
1950 - 1975

ART and ARCHITECTURE

            Seventies art reflected the trends prominent in the sixties.  Earth art was popular, it combined environmental and minimalist ideas. Land and Environmental art, variations of earth art, were also quite popular. Other popular art forms were illusionism and pop art. In architecture, architects attempted to consider the needs and feelings of the people who would use their buildings. San Francisco’s Transamerica Building was erected in 1972 and the classical Piazza d’Italia in New Orleans was built in 1979.

 

            BOOKS and LITERATURE

            Many books published in the seventies were written around the theme of a man’s spiritual roots. The Poetry of Rod McKuen was very popular. Toni Morrison was one of the strongest writers from this decade.

 

            EDUCATION

            Social movements heavily impacted the nation’s schools and campuses. Anti-war movements in particular, were highly seen at college campuses. The massacre at Kent State was the most devastating event, ending with four students being shot down by officers. In 1975, Congress guaranteed equal educational access to the handicapped.

 

            TECHNOLOGY

            The floppy disk first appeared in 1970, and the next year Intel introduced the microprocessor. Apollo’s 17 and 18 were launched in this decade. Atari produced the first video games. The VCR was invented and it would change home entertainment forever. Jumbo jets revolutionized flying. The neutron bomb was developed as well.

 

TV and MOVIES

            With the increasing popularity of the television, box office sales were declining. The Seventies was the comeback decade for the movie. New advances such as Panavision and Dolby sound helped in attracting more viewers. George Lucas’s “Star Wars” was one of the highest grossing films in history. This science fiction adventure film used many special effects. “Rocky” starring Sylvester Stallone was a big hit. The “Godfather,” “Jaws,” and the “Exorcist” also made big impacts. The disco era was interpreted in the movie “Saturday Night Fever.” Most of these movies were followed with sequels or in “Star War’s” case, prequels as well.

            Leading television shows were “Saturday Night Live,” “The Brady Bunch,” and “Happy Days.” “Sesame Street” was also starting.

 

            MUSIC

            The Seventies saw the deaths of many influential musicians such as Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison. It also was the time of the break up of one of the most successful bands in music history, The Beatles. Disco dancing was becoming popular.  Top names in the industry were Aerosmith, the Bee Gees, Elton John, Bruce Springstein. Bob Marley made reggae music popular.

 

SPORTS

In pro football, the 1972 Miami Dolphins had their record breaking undefeated season. Other standouts were the likes of Joe Namath. In baseball, the late Roberto Clemente got his 3,000 hit. He later died on a plane crash en route to Nicaragua. He was baseball’s first Latin American superstar. Basketball stars such as Julius Erving, Pete Maravich, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird were among dozens of great NBA players to play in the seventies. Muhammad Ali was in his prime before he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

 

FADS and FASHIONS

            Mood rings, Star Wars figures, Rubik’s Cube, fruit striped gum, sea monkeys, and pet rocks are only a few of the trendy fads in the Seventies. The hippies of the sixties greatly influenced the fashion in the seventies. Bellbottoms and platform shoes were in style. Knits, denim, and corduroy were the fabrics of choice.





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