1970s Facts: Rock Music, Disco Culture, Technology & More!

Sridevi Tolety
Nov 16, 2022 By Sridevi Tolety
Originally Published on Dec 13, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
President Richard Nixon signed legislation that officially banned cigarette advertisements on radio and television. Click here to find out more such 1970 facts.

The decade of the '70s was the transitional period for the United Stated and also for the rest of the world.

Significant shifts in entertainment, political aspects, technological and lifestyle were observed. Things in a post-moon landing world were more innovative, creative, and colorful than before.

Anyone who thinks of retro music goes back to the year 1970. Why?

Well, a lot of musical changes took place in the 70s decade. Not just music, but countries worldwide were awakening to the new unheard possibilities of the microprocessor and never before head communication techniques. The birth of new laws and amendments to existing ones were happening everywhere.

Wars waged, leaders stepped down, women started owning their place in politics and society. The year 1970 and the decade following it became a turning point in several spheres of life, from space, politics to music and technology. Keep reading to find all about it!

Do check out our similar articles on 1981 facts and 1979 facts too.

Challenges To Mainstream Rock Music

The year 1970, in many ways, was a year that commenced the digital revolution and celebrated the electronics field. With integrated circuits and transistor already making their way in the 60s, companies were now keen on using technology that could be compressed into smaller sizes to be used in products such as television and calculators.

1970 was also the year when several major changes were made in terms of fundamental rights. Congress approved the equal rights amendment which got added to the constitution.

This amendment stated that any gender was equally eligible for any right, and this bright, forward a massive step in terms of gay rights and women's rights.

The voting age in the United States was lowered to 18 from 21 posts the ratification of the 26th amendment. Another significant step from the United States government was the declaration of abortion by the supreme court to be a constitutional right.

In the United Kingdom, a three-day week strike to save on electricity was imposed along with decimalizing their currency. United Kingdom's monarch, the queen celebrated her silver jubilee in the 70s as well. 1970 was also termed to be a golden age for movies and music. Why? Well, read on to find!

Star Wars became a huge pop culture phenomenon in terms of movies, and it changed the film industry with its unique special effects that still influence many popular entertainment industries. Star wars debuted in 1977 and became a hit throughout the following years.

The '70s most popular and influential bands were the British rock band Led Zepplin, David Bowie. Along with Led Zepplin, other British artists like George Harrison, Simon, and Garfunkel had hit songs in America during the '70s.

In 1977, Russian dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov joined the New York City Ballet. Some of the tragic news included the passing away of Rock n' Roll king, Elvis Presley.

On August 16th, 1977, Elvis Presley passed away and left behind a stellar musical legacy. Another famous singer Janis Joplin was also found dead on October 4.

The year 1970 also had several changes and challenges in mainstream rock music. With the immense popularity of rock stardom, a return rock n roll and flam rock (such as Queen, David Bowie, and Roxy Music) were elicited.

There would always be a need for several dancers that was met by a movement known as the disco movement.

The disco movement was initially shaped in the '60s by the twist phenomenon. This culture was overpowered by the mainstream pop post the success of the film Saturday Night Fever in 1977.

However, the decade of '70s was renowned for its rock culture and rock ideology. British punk musicians mainly articulated this ideology.

The rock ideology was akin to a music scene developed on self-sufficient labels via the supposed underground media. The rock was committed to the true essence of rock and roll and throughout 1970 tried to stay away from commercial degradation.

The Candidate (Film By Ritchie [1972])

Like we said before, 1970 was a transitional period, especially for the United States.

President Richard Nixon resigned on 8th August due to his involvement in the Watergate scandal. President Nixon displayed the famous victory sign as he came out from the White House post his resignation and after signing the SALT II treaty with Soviet Union leader Leonid Brezhnev and President Jimmy Carter.

During this time, when the United States had also invaded Cambodia, many protesters came out and crowded the city streets in protest and even had college campuses shut down.

Speaking about America and its politics, an American film drama based on political campaigning in the United States was released by the name, The Candidate. This film revolved around a lawyer Bill McKay and his candidacy. Bill McKay runs for the position of United States Senate from California state.

It is shown that Bill reluctantly comprises his principal, ethics, and beliefs to win the position. The depiction of post-1960 American politics was greatly appreciated. In contrast to Hollywood's optimistic and heroic depictions of American political leaders in films such as Mr. Smith goes to Washington, this movie gives a more cynical perspective of political to the audience.

Another major political event in the United States to take place was the oil crisis of 1973.

When Arab members of the OPEC declared that petroleum shipments would be stopped to those nations that supported Israel during the Yon Kippur War. Thus allies in western Europe, the United States, and most of the western world suffered from inflationary pressure and recession.

Back then, although the US had its own oil reserves, an inevitable significant loss was still experienced on their side and other European economies.

However, the United States was also in the news for its involvement in the Vietnam war, which did not have any solid evidence to prove. However, the reason for their involvement was estimated to be linked with the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

With the continued cold war that was being fought between the West and East, an arms race was also instigated to find an ultimate weapon to outpower each other.

Back then, if you were to guess the inflation prices in terms of US Dollars, then here are a few values in terms of 100 Dollars in the '70s and what they would be in terms of today's money. Say you took a new car for $3900.00 in just a decade, 1979 the price became $5770!

So to say, a 100$ in 1970 would now cost $703.62.

Other political insights from 1970 include the union of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin. The Egyptian president shake hands with the Israeli prime became a piece of big political news, indicating good relations between the two countries.

The first woman president of Argentina came in the '70s when Isabel Martinez de Peron became the president.

Disco (Music)

Have you ever heard about players going on strike? 1972 was such a year when baseball players went on strike, a first in sports history.

The white middle-class and working-class of conservative American society went to protests, urban riots and alienated the counterculture as a response to the late '60s turbulence. At the same time, African Americans decided to wear more Afro-style clothing and hair.

This, you could say, was what life was like in the '70s. Life of about half of four billion people, the world's population in 1970!

But until now we have been talking about lifestyle, and how can we miss music when we talk about lifestyle, right? And when anyone speaks of 1970 music, disco definitely comes up!

A popular subculture and dance music genre that originated from the 1970 United States, disco defined a typical nightlife scene in urban areas. The sound and beats involved string sections, four-on-the-floor beats, electric piano, syncopated basslines, electric rhythm guitars, and synthesizers.

Disco started out as a mix of music in the late 1960s and early '70s from African Americans, Italian Americans, and Lation and Hispanic Americans in New York City. It was more of a reaction by the counterculture people to the dominance of rock music and stereotyping dance music.

Several dances like the Hustle and the Bump were developed to popularize disco in the United States. Disco formed a major part of the social happenings of the '70s

Ranger boats were a rage during the 1970s, and in 1970 mainly, around 1200 boats were manufactured with steering and lights. The demand for these boats was high and was built in a local firehouse. Wood and fiberglass were used to build the boat.

Some of the department stores that closed in 1970 were Larocque's Department Store, Freimans, Horizon, The Bon Marché, and many others. Mostly these stores were discount stores but had to shut down due to various business reasons.

Few other interesting facts from 1970 include the overthrowing of Haile Selassie from Ethiopia and ending one of the longest-running monarchies in world history. The Sears Tower (now the Willis Tower), a 110 stories high building, was completed after three years in 1973. It was one of the highest buildings in the world at that time.

Computer Science Development

Did you know that the first commercially popular and successful video game belonged to Atari? Atar's video game pong became an instant hit and left a significant mark on the video gaming industry.

The '70s also welcomed Japan as it entered the space race with the US, France, and USSR. America's first space station Skylab was also launched on February 8th to orbit. Apart from video games and space, the '70s decade saw the inception of the world's finest technological companies by two childhood friends, Paul Allen and Bill Gates, Microsoft.

What else did the computer industry see in the '70s decade? Let's find out!

Modern computing took its full stature in the '70s as Intel 40004; the first general microprocessor was invented in 1971. The C programming language was also developed in the '70s, and the Unix operating system was integrated along with it in 1973.

Personal computers came into the picture along with pocket calculators as the methodology of large-scale integration became possible; this allowed microchips (integrated circuits) to be used for many applications. These applications took shape in the form of home computers, too, as Apple II, Atari 400/800, Commodore PET, NEC PC-8001, and TRS-80 came into the market.

The availability of such personal computers led to the development of the internet and the first bulletin board systems. Cray-1, the first supercomputer, was introduced by Cray Reasearch Inc in 1976 that could perform 230,000,000 calculations per second!

Can you imagine the speed with which it could have done all those calculations? Supercomputers by Cray Inc continued to remain popular throughout the '70s decade.

Fiber optic, an essential part of today's technology, was also developed in the '70s by Corning Glass. It claimed that the glass fiber invented by them was so clear that it could be used for communication via pulses of light.

No sooner did they announce that AT&T and GTE started working on fiber optics to transmit image and sound data as well. This was a critical phase for the communications industry.

Robots came into light as computers got integrated into machines, particularly in Japan. This led to the mass production of automotive vehicles that were both fuel-efficient and lightweight.

In fact, environmental consciousness increased, and thus vehicles incorporated specific changes to implement the environmental factor into them too. Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic made some of such brilliant vehicles along with several other Japanese manufacturers.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 1970s facts then why not take a look at 1972 facts, or 1971 facts.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Sridevi Tolety

Bachelor of Science specializing in Botany, Master of Science specializing in Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs

Sridevi Tolety picture

Sridevi ToletyBachelor of Science specializing in Botany, Master of Science specializing in Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs

With a Master's degree in clinical research from Manipal University and a PG Diploma in journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sridevi has cultivated her passion for writing across various domains. She has authored a wide range of articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories that have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. Sridevi is fluent in four languages and enjoys spending her spare time with loved ones. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, cooking, painting, and listening to music.

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Gowri Rao picture

Gowri RaoBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

With a bachelor's degree in Economics from Krea University, Gowri is a highly skilled data analyst and an expert in regression and causation modeling. Her interests in economic trends, finance, and investment research complement her professional expertise. In addition to her professional pursuits, Gowri enjoys swimming, running, and playing the drums, and she is also a talented tutor.

Read full bio >