June 3, 2024 | Sarah Ng

The 35 Craziest Things That Happened In The 1970s

A Wild Decade

The 1970s was a decade of heartbreak, innovation, and change. These are the craziest moments that can't be forgotten.


A Disappointing Break-Up

On April 10, 1970, The Beatles made a heartbreaking announcement: They were breaking up. This was just ahead of the release of Let It Be, the band's final album.

The Beatles - Fabulous (24th October 1964)Bradford Timeline ,Flickr

Horror At Kent State University

In opposition to the Vietnam War, a group of Kent State University students took to protesting. However, on May 5, 1970, the unthinkable happened. National Guard soldiers opened fire on the students—and four of them lost their lives.

1970 - Kent State University students demonstrate to protest the widening of the war in Southeast Asia.TommyJapan1, Flcikr

A Terrifying Feat

Philippe Petit, the French highwire artist, brought his unique talents to The Big Apple. He was taken in by authorities after successfully walking a tightrope strung between the Twin Towers.

Philippe Petit on World Trade Center - 1974James Robert Smith, Flickr

Losing Legends

1970 was a tough year for losing music legends. Jimi Hendrix overdosed on September 18, while Janis Joplin passed on October 4 for the very same reason.

Portrait of Jimi Hendrix from 1968.Avalon, Getty Images

Landing On Venus

Venera 7 was a Soviet spacecraft that landed on Venus on December 15, 1970. It became the first to land on another planet and send data back to Earth.

Reproduction of the Venera 7 landerEmerezhko, CC-BY-SA-4.0, Wikimedia Commons

The Fashion World Gets A Shock

The famous French fashion designer Coco Chanel passed on January 20, 1971. 

The following day, Yves Saint Laurent scandalized the fashion world with one of his collections. It was greatly inspired by the 1940s, but it enraged everyone—and was even referred to as "Paris's ugliest collection."

Coco Chanel In Los Angeles, 1931Los Angeles Times, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

A Cult Leader Meets His Dark Fate

Cult leader Charles Manson and his four followers faced the music on March 29, 1971: They were sentenced to death.

Charles Manson FactsInside Charles Manson's crazed cult, 60 Minutes Australia

The President Makes A Shocking Announcement

Following the "Watergate" scandal, President Richard Nixon resigned on August 8, 1974. 

Richard Nixon Resignation - 1974Wikimedia Commons,Picryl

The World Became More Magical

On October 1, 1971, one of the most popular resorts on earth opened: Walt Disney World. It has been enchanting visitors ever since.

Walt Disney WorldCraig Adderley, Pexels

Drama At The CMAs

At the 1975 CMAs, John Denver won Entertainer of the Year. In response, Charlie Rich did something that shocked audiences: He lit the envelope containing Denver's name on fire before announcing his name. 

Charlie Rich 1973 in white shirtEpic Records, Wikimedia Commons

A Beloved Classic Premiered

On June 30, 1971, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory premiered—and it would become a beloved classic, inspiring future Wonka films.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory imageCaptain Miller, Flickr

An Unthinkable Massacre

In 1978, The Jonestown Massacre was an event too tragic to comprehend. Reverend Jim Jones orchestrated a mass suicide. Over 900 of his followers died by cyanide poisoning in Guyana.

Image of Jim Jones In  - 1977Nancy Wong, CC-BY-SA-4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Fighting On The Track

On February 18, 1979, the Daytona 500 hits television screens for the first time. Though Richard Petty was the winning driver, the event was burned into people's memories because of a scuffle that happened on the track. Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough got into a full-blown fight.

This was a momentous date for NASCAR.

The King's 1979 Oldsmobile - Richard Petty's Daytona 500 race carJim Culp, Flickr

Disco Demolition Night

One of the low points of the 70s had to be when the Chicago White Sox hosted a "Disco Demolition Night." On July 12, 1979, the anti-disco fervor escalated into a destructive riot.

1979-International-Womens-Day-Protests-In-TehranUnknown Author, Picryl

A Rock Album For The Ages

One of the best rock songs ever made is Stairway to Heaven and it can be found on the Led Zeppelin album now known as Led Zeppelin IV. At the time, the album was untitled, coming out on November 8, 1971.

Promotional photograph of the band Led Zeppelin, 1971Atlantic Records, Wikimedia Commons

A Revolutionary Arcade Game

Pong was a game fashioned after Ping-Pong. Created in 1972, it would eventually become one of the most popular arcade games. It wasn't long before you could find the game in most restaurants and bars.

Pong Arcade gameAsier03, CC-BY-SA-4.0, Wikimedia Commons

The Godfather Premiere

On March 15, 1972, audiences got to feast their eyes on one of the most quoted films of all time, Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather. Today, it's considered one of the greatest films ever made.

The Godfather (1972)Paramount , The Godfather (1972)

The King Of Horror

The horror genre would never be the same after the 1970s thanks to Stephen King whose first novel Carrie terrified its many readers after being published on April 5, 1974. Two years later, the film adaptation would become a classic in its own right. Of course, this was only the beginning of King's illustrious career.

Portrait Photograph Of Stephen King By Alex Gotfryd, C. 1977Alex Gotfryd, Wikimedia Commons

The Beginning Of HBO

Cable got an upgrade on November 8, 1972. Enter: HBO, or Home Box Office. This premium cable channel would be destined to bring us some of the best shows in the business.

Life-Shattering Secrets factsFlickr, Al Ibrahim

Ted Bundy Finally Gets Apprehended

In 1975, authorities apprehend Ted Bundy for the first time after he evades an officer. They later make a chilling discovery: handcuffs, pantyhose with eye holes, and a ski mask. Bundy would eventually be linked to 36 murder cases.

Ted Bundy Mugshot full - 1979Florida Department of Corrections, Wikimedia Commons

The Opening Of The World Trade Center

On April 5 1973, New York City's skyline underwent a drastic change. The World Trade Center stood at 1,360 feet. For a short time, they were the tallest buildings on earth, that is, until the Sears Tower usurped its record.

World Trade Center - 1970SEdgar de Evia, CC-BY-SA-3.0, Wikimedia Commons

The Loss Of One Of History's Greatest Artists

Pablo Picasso was 91 when he passed on April 8, 1973.

Pablo Picasso in his Paris studio - 1920Bettmann, Getty Images

A Tennis Match To Remember

On Septermber 20, 1973, the Battle of the Sexes tennis match made history with Billie Jean King emerging victorious against Bobby Riggs.

Billie Jean King looking at side.Mitchell Weinstock, Flickr

Rock Fans Mourned Everywhere

Jim Morrison was only 27 years old when he tragically passed in Paris. The fateful date was July 3, 1973.

Portrait of Jim Morrison -  1969Elektra Records, Wikimedia Commons

The Computer Company That Took The World By Storm

On April 1, 1976, three men started a company that would shape our lives in shocking ways. Steve Jobs, Ronald Wayne, and Steve Wozniak launched Apple Computer, Inc.

Steve Wozniak and Steve JobsAthanasios Kasampalis, Flickr

Oh Happy Day

The television show Happy Days would changes the lives of many after it hit screens on January 15, 1974.

Happy Days At Arnolds -  1975ABC Television, Wikimedia Commons

The Galaxy Would Never Be The Same

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope hit theaters on May 25, 1977. At the time, nobody knew that it would become such a successful phenomenon, with a fan base still utterly devoted to this day.

Star Wars Episode IV- A New Hope - screenshotAntMan3001, Flickr

The End Of A Chilling Summer

The "Son of Sam" murderer, David Berkowitz, spent a summer in NYC doing the most unforgivable deeds. Authorities finally brought him in on August 10, 1977.

David Berkowitz Arrested August 10 1977Vernun Argus, Wikimedia Commons

The First Blockbuster

On June 20, 1974, Jaws came out in theaters. It's considered the first summer blockbuster.

Money-Making Facts About Hollywood IndustryThomas Hawk, Flickr

The Start Of SNL

The very first episode of SNL aired on October 11, 1975. Its host was George Carlin, and oddly enough, he's the only host to have not acted in any of the sketches.

Portrait Photograph Of George Carlin, C. 1972The Bellringer, Wikimedia Commons

An Old Hollywood Icon Dies

Joan Crawford was one of Hollywood's most esteemed leading ladies—but she sadly passed from cancer on May 10, 1977.

Joan Crawford - 1930′s/ 40′sDennis Amith, Flickr

Saying Goodbye To The King Of Rock And Roll

Elvis passed from a heart attack on August 16, 1977. He was only 42 years old.

Portrait of Elvis Presley - 1970Ollie Atkins, Wikimedia Commons

A New Era For Gamers

The Atari VCS (Atari 2600) console came out on September 11, 1977. At the time, players could choose from only nine games.

ATARI - VCS CX-2600 S. - 1981.Association WDA. Flickr

A Summer Lovin' Musical

On June 16, 1978, Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta stole hearts with their performances in Grease, which was a major box-office hit.

John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John ‘Grease’Stephen Luff, Flickr

Michael Goes Pop 

Though Michael Jackson started his career with Motown, he pivoted in a dramatic way on August 10, 1979 with his album Off the Wall. Pop music would never be the same.

Michael JacksonHollywood Branded, Flickr


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