Growing up in the 1970s. Part 3. Highlights of the 1970s A Decade of Decadence.

Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin Beauty & the Beast
Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin
Beauty & the Beast
Famous for:

 "Je t'aime... moi non plus" (French for "I love you… me neither") is a French duet written by Serge Gainsbourg. It was written for and sung with Brigitte Bardot in 1967, but that version was not released until 1986. In 1969, Gainsbourg recorded a version with his lover, Jane Birkin. It reached number one in the UK, and number two in Ireland, but was banned in several countries owing to its sexual content. The song has been covered by many different artists.

I adored my teenage years, Britain in the 70s, I had a blast;

life was a gas. (Marc Bolan and T.Rex "Life's a Gas" from the album "Electric Warrior"1971)

  There was so much going on, so much change and so much freedom.

So much of everything, I could write about these glorious years until the cows come home, which is why I am now on part 3!

I will add links to parts 1 and 2 at the end of this post.

The 70s, a decade of decadence;

 a sexual revolution,  musical innovation, youth subcultures, anti-war demonstrations, protests and rebellion, streaking (running naked through packed sports events).

Where fashion was concerned, the slogan could have been;

”Anything goes”.

It was the Age of Aquarius.

The inspiration for the musical; Hair.

 The Age of Aquarius
 The Age of Aquarius refers to the advent of the New Age movement in the 1960s and 1970s.

Hair tells the story of the "tribe", a group of politically active,hippies of the "Age of Aquarius" living a bohemian life in New York City and fighting against conscription into the Vietnam war.

By 1970,Hair was a huge financial success, and nineteen productions had been staged outside of North America. 

It was a decade of beginnings; the first Earth day celebration, the first Gay Parade in New York City, the first test tube baby, Louise Brown.

 It was also, a decade of endings, The Beatles Split up, Elvis died and the Vietnam War finished.
Atari introduced the Pong game.

Atari Pong

A decade of property booms, oil crises, five official states of emergency, four general elections and four Prime Ministers.

 A decade of change, heat waves, haircuts and Ford Cortinas.

State of Emergency Dominic Sandbrook
State of Emergency

Dominic Sandbrook

Find out what it was like living in Britain in the 70s, and read reviews of this informative book, "State of Emergency" Dominic Sandbrook  HERE 

The most significant change was for women; Germaine Greer caused uproar with her first book;

“The Female Eunuch” Published in 1970, which became an instant bestseller, a book pushing for equality and women’s rights.

"The Female Eunuch" Germaine Greer
"The Female Eunuch"

Germaine Greer

See details and read reviews of this ground-breaking book; "The Female Eunuch" Germaine Greer HERE 

As late as 1971, women were banned from going into Wimpy bars on their own after midnight, the explanation for this, being that only prostitutes were out alone at that hour.

Only eight short years later, Britain had its first woman Prime Minister;

 Margaret Thatcher.

Women had come a long way!

Margaret Thatcher First woman Prime Minister of Great Britain
Margaret Thatcher

First woman Prime Minister of Great Britain

I missed the tail end of the 70’s, the last three years, as I had left England for Greece in February 1977, but oh, I heard all about the goings on there.

 My father sent me letter after letter, informing me of the strikes, the unrest, inflation, no family news, just that, doom and gloom!

I was more worried about missing out on the punk rock era and Vivienne Westward;

Anarchy in the U.K

Vivienne Westward Queen of Punk
Vivienne Westward

Queen of Punk

What I didn’t miss out on though, were the countless hairstyles;

pageboy, afro or long and flowing.

We wanted to look like Farrah Fawcett and would watch hours of “Charlie’s Angel’s” to study how she achieved that coveted look.

 Farrah Fawcett
 Farrah Fawcett 
Flew to fame in "Charlie's Angels"

Suddenly it was all about unisex, men and women wore the same clothes, used the same perfume, had the same haircut, both boys and girls had the layered, feathered
 “Rod Stewart cut”

 The Shag

The shag haircut
The shag haircut

 A most unfortunate name!

Around this time, there was a popular hair setting gel on the market; Dippity Doo, it came in either pink or green, different strengths I suppose.

It left your hair stiff and crunchy!

I’m sure Marc Bolan, of "Telegram Sam" fame, with his unruly, shaggy corkscrew curls, must have secretly bought this by the ton!

Marc Bolan
Marc Bolan

Metal Guru
"I ain't no square with my corkscrew hair""

"Telegram Sam" T.Rex from the album "Slider" 1972

Setting gel

For that hard and crunchy finish.

 The 70s were all about Glam Rock;

 David Bowie, Elton John, Rod Stewart and many, many more.

Rod Stewart Glam Rock
Rod Stewart
Glam Rock

"If you want my body, and you think I'm sexy, come on sugar let me know"

You weren’t hip if you didn’t have the right gear:

 Platform shoes, flared trousers, leopard skin, snake skin and fur, all accompanied by copious amounts of glitter.

David Bowie
David Bowie

In the beginning Ziggy played guitar
Shiny was the name of the game.

Biba was all the rage.

Biba Chic
Biba Chic

Biba, created by Barbara Hulanicki.

From a mail order company in the 60s, to global phenomenon of the 70s.

"I love old things. Modern things are so cold.
I need things that have lived."

Barbara Hulanicki

Laura Ashley created her romantic floral prints.

Laura Ashley
Laura Ashley Design

Laura Ashley, a welsh secretary, living in London,
 started out, making napkins, tea towels and tablecloths, in an attic in Pimlico.

Kate Bush wow’ed us.

Captivating Kate Bush
Captivating Kate Bush

Wow, Wow, Wow.

Blondie, aka Debbie Harry, wore double denim.

Blondie Debbie Harry
Debbie Harry

"Nothing has changed much since the 70s, women need to shrug off criticism,
as I did, back in the day"
Debbie Harry

Ossie Clarke gave us bohemian flair.

Ossie Clarke 70s Designer
Ossie Clarke creation.

70s Designer, from "Up North" in Salford.
Clarke met his untimely death at the age of 54, when he was stabbed to death, in his council house, in Kensington & Chelsea, London, by his former Italian lover, Diego Cogolato.

Gypsy wanderlust reigned.

Gypsy inspired
Gypsy inspired

"Luckily , I was raised by a kind of gypsy family,
 which is why I always got on better with people who worked in circuses,
 than with other kinds of actors.
My mum was so carefree with us in a beautiful way. We were used to sleeping anywhere"

Lou Doillon, daughter of Jane Birkin and sister of Charlotte Gainsbourg.

The 70’s began minus two heartthrobs;

 two idols who were no longer “available”.
In 1969, not one, but two members of The Beatles, had the audacity to get married!

That was the beginning of the end for The Beatles.

John & Yoko Married in Gibraltar 1969
John & Yoko
Married in Gibraltar

Paul & Linda  Married 1969
Paul & Linda
Married 1969

Highlights of The 70s


The first floppy disk is introduced.

Egyptian President Nasser Dies and is replaced by Anwar el Sadat.

Gamal Abdel Nasser President of Egypt
Gamal Abdel Nasser
President of Egypt


Mick Jagger marries Bianca in St. Tropez, France.

Mick marries Bianca in St,Tropez, France Bianca wears suit by YSL
Mick marries Bianca in St.Tropez,

Bianca wears a white suit by YSL


Terrorists attack the Olympic Games in Munich.

Watergate scandal begins.

Richard Nixon 37th President of United States
Richard Nixon

37th President of United States


Paul Getty kidnapped.

U.S pulls out of Vietnam.

Paul Getty III
Paul Getty III

Kidnapping victim.
 Died in captivity in 1973.
Heir to the Getty oil fortune.


Patty Hearst kidnapped.

Mikhail Baryshnikov defects from U.S.S.R.

Mikhail Baryshnikov
Mikhail Baryshnikov

"I do not try to dance better than anyone else.
I only try to dance better than myself"


Arthur Ashe is the first Afro-American to win Wimbledon.

Microsoft is founded.

I met MGG (My Greek God).

Arthur Ashe
Arthur Ashe

Defeating Jimmy Connors in 4 sets.
Wimbledon 1975

Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot becomes prime minister (and virtual dictator) of Cambodia after Prince Sihanouk steps down.

Israeli commandos attack Uganda's Entebbe Airport and free 103 hostages held by pro-Palestinian hijackers of Air France plane.

Pol Pot
Pol Pot

A monster ranking with Hitler, having sent millions of
Cambodians to their death in work camps.


Elvis Presley dies.

Marc Bolan Dies.

I swapped England for Greece.

Marc Bolan rides his white swan for the last time.

Marc Bolan rides his white swan for the last time.


Mother Teresa wins The Nobel Peace Prize.

Sony introduces the Walkman.

Sony Walkman Father to the iPod
Sony Walkman

Father to the iPod


Shah leaves Iran after years of turmoil. Ayatollah Khomeini takes over.

Conservatives win British election; Margaret Thatcher becomes new prime minister.

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The last Shah of Iran.
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

The last Shah of Iran.

And thus we leave the phantasmagorical 70s and head towards the 80s, towards an era of big hair, shoulder pads and filofax.

I had all three!

If, like me, you adored the 70s, treat yourself to this wonderful book, take a trip back in time, to that decadent decade of "Glam Rock" and "Disco dancing".

"A likely Tale,Lad" Mike Pannett
"A likely Tale, Lad"
Mike Pannett

"A Likely Tale, Lad" is a fabulous, humerous book from Mike Pannett, (A Yorkshire born Lad) about growing up in the 70s, full of nostalgia.

I've read this and other books by the same author and can't praise them enough.

See details of  "A likely Tale, Lad" HERE

For more 70s fun, see another couple of posts about this unforgettable decade of extravagance at the links below:

See The 70s. Growing up in Leeds Part 1. HERE

See The 70s. Growing up in Leeds Part 2. Christmas HERE

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