Well, y’all, it’s hard to believe the bicentennial was nigh on 40 years ago. Some of you were already married, some weren’t even born, and I was in pre-school, oblivious to the fashion faux-pas going on in society. Scarves and bandanas for women, pointed shirt collars for men. And prints so loud coming together in a dangerous cacophony such as this! It’s as though clothing designers suddenly decided to make garments of sofa and wallpaper material.
Other fun facts of ’76 include:
- Apple Computers was formed by double Steves, Jobs and Wozniak.
- Gymnast Nadia Comaneci earned her first Perfect 10.
- Eva Peron told Argentina not to cry for her.
- North and South Vietnam united to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
- The United States Treasury Department reintroduced the two dollar bill. I still have several!
- Jimmy Carter won the Presidential election.
- The world’s first laser printer was introduced by IBM.
- Eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes dropped dead at the age of 70.
- The musical groups Black Flag, The Clash, U2, The Cure, Foreigner, Joy Division, and Madness were all formed in 1976. (source: rwrant.co.za/20-facts-the-year-1976)
When I think about bands forming, I think about a group of dudes (yes, I realize that’s sexist) in a basement, slowly getting gigs and paying their dues for years until being launched out of obscurity. Right? But Foreigner had major hits the following year, selling four million with songs like “Feels Like The First Time.” Way to get it going right off the bat, Foreigner!
Per www.thepeoplehistory.com, the cost of living was much lower:
Average Cost of new house $43,400.00
Average Income per year $16,000.00
Average Monthly Rent $220.00
Cost of a gallon of Gas 59 cents
And a microwave oven cost $169.00. I could buy one for that price now. Although the interwebs says that sales of microwave ovens exceeded that of gas ranges in 1975, I didn’t know ANYONE who had a microwave then. I didn’t know anyone who had one in the 1970s at all. And I didn’t have one until my first college apartment. Do you recall Tappan microwaves?
As far as music goes, these were the songs the people requested on heavy rotation:
1. Silly Love Songs, Paul McCartney and Wings
2. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, Elton John and Kiki Dee
3. Disco Lady, Johnnie Taylor
4. December 1963 (Oh What a Night), The Four Seasons
5. Play That Funky Music, Wild Cherry
6. Kiss and Say Goodbye, The Manhattans
7. Love Machine, Pt. 1, The Miracles
8. 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, Paul Simon
9. Love Is Alive, Gary Wright
10. A Fifth of Beethoven, Walter Murphy and The Big Apple Band
So tell me–when did you get your first microwave? Did you have awful yellow and avocado green tupperware dishes to put inside it? Do you remember when earning 16K was a decent salary, and not the price of a used car? Did you vote for Jimmy Carter or Gerald Ford? Did you know the popular vote for Carter was 40 million and for Ford it was 39 million? That’s a pretty close call.
And did you know Carter was the first president to be born in a hospital? Wow! Were you born in a hospital?