main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org

Nite Owl: But the country is disintegrating. What's happened to America? What's happened to the American Dream?
Comedian: It came true. You're lookin' at it.

Ah, the Seventies: A time when love was free, peace was the sign of the times, people were shouting "me, me, me" through self-esteem, self-discovery and individual identity, and polyester was the fabric of choice. A period in history where the men wear polyester leisure suits with flaring trouser cuffs and huge ties while sporting heavily sprayed and manicured hair, sideburns included. Not to be outdone, the women wore feathered, Farrah Fawcett hair above their slinky dresses with no bras underneath. Black people sported huge, poofy Afros as a Take That to past straightening practices. Heck, even white people had afros if they could grow them! Most people spent at least 92 percent of their waking lives at the disco or behind the wheel of a car big enough to tow the Titanic. Disco music with a tense "waka-chu-waka" beat often plays during chase scenes, or on pornos.

Elsewhere, Western Terrorists (and the Arab ones) are trying to blow up people, the US is still losing in The Vietnam War, and the blockbuster movie is invented, twice. Media Technology reaches a turning point, as 8-track audio cassettes and the first VCRs (U-matic in 1971, Betamax in 1975 and VHS in 1976,) appear for the first time, as do the first Laserdiscs (1978), the very first optical disc storage medium, and the very same technology that would later make CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray possible. However despite the new media technology, the old media technologies, namely the LP and Film are both still king as they had been for most of the 20th century. Movies such as Taxi Driver and The Godfather begin to deal with subjects once considered taboo due to the loosening censorship laws, and pornographic film becomes legal. The world learns the meaning of Kung Fu thanks to a tough little guy from Hong Kong named Bruce Lee, while Evel Knievel Ramp Jumped everything from cars and trucks to double-decker buses and river canyons.

Television is changed forever by such ground breaking shows as All in the Family, M*A*S*H, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Saturday Night Live and Monty Python's Flying Circus. Meanwhile gentle family shows like The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie and The Life And Times Of Grizzly Adams found their own audience while The Fonz was ruling the kid's imagination while giving Robin Williams his big time start as the master comedian in Mork and Mindy. Meanwhile, Star Trek: The Original Series is Vindicated by Cable and develops a sizable fanbase, spawning a juggernaut franchise that would not die for... well, ever. While the kids have made the best of the Dark Age Of Animation with Saturday Morning Cartoons like Superfriends and Scooby-Doo, they at least had PBS's breakthrough kids shows, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and Sesame Street in their vibrant glory of its youth before they graduated to The Electric Company, Zoom and The Big Blue Marble. Traditional TV genres like the variety show had their last hurrah like Sonny And Cher and Donny And Marie while The Muppet Show became a universally hailed worldwide success.

The Bronze Age of Comic Books begins, featuring death, politics, and "ethnic" superheroes for the first time ever since The Comics Code crippled the medium in the 1950s. That happened when Stan Lee wrote a government requested anti-drug Spider-Man story, which the code was dumb enough to refuse to authorize, forcing Lee to diplomatically defy them to considerable praise.

Punk Rock and Disco, two genres of music which continue to influence music to this day come out during this decade, as does the first primitive electronic music under such bands as the German Kraftwerk, Yellow Magic Orchestra from Japan and Suicide from New York City. The break up of The Beatles however was the defining moment of the music era as it created a power vacuum for any aspiring musician to make it big. The early years of the decade nonetheless, are considered to be the zenith of Hard Rock (and rock music, in general), as easy listening was off the charts and modern pop music wouldn't drive rock from the "top-40" until 1976. Alternative Rock, Heavy Metal and Rap Music took their first steps here too.

While this arguably began late in The Sixties, the '70s also changed the world completely, shaping it to its form nowadays. The Cold War slows down as American and Soviet relations improve for the first time since 1945. American distrust for authority while brewing during the war, suddenly appears in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Crime and grime are on the rise and respect for law and order - from both criminals and their victims - begins to decline in favour of the good old fashioned "heads blown off" method.

The botched Apollo 13 mission (1970) (Although the feat of getting the astronauts home alive was hailed as a Crowning Moment Of Awesome for NASA), the Munich Olympics massacre (1972) and the American defeat in Vietnam (ended in 1975) broke forever the sense of security and confidence Westerners had from 1946, although it began to crumble with the assassinations of John F. Kennedy (in 1963), Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy (both in 1968). Munich was notorious for introducing mass awareness of terrorism and the fallibility of basic security, and it was just the beginning. The energy crisis has Westerners running out of gas for the first time, showing the world just how dependent we all are on the Middle East, thus the post war economic boom that dominated The Fifties and The Sixties ends in recession, turning the American manufacturing Belt into the "rust belt". The welfare state-based economy begun with the New Deal loses support and gets replaced by the next decade with the lassez-faire "New Economy"; heavily dependent of the banking industry, with its effects of mass speculation making finances more exciting — and risky.

The environmental movement gains rapid speed as a result of the fuel shortages. In 1970, the first Earth Day is held, and in 1971, Greenpeace is founded. Many people worry that the world is on the edge of an environmental catastrophe. Among other things, people go informal with ties and suits being thrown away (except for going to work: "casual fridays" began in The Nineties) and fashion rules being eliminated stating that "there are no rules in fashion"; the animal rights movement also has its origin during this period; political correctness is born as well as Moral Guardians raise their voice; single parenthood transitions from taboo to become commonplace while gay rights gain steam; women become an important part of the workplace; divorces quickly begin to outgrow marriages and couples begin to live together without marrying at all.

Covers roughly the period from the Kent State Massacre of 1970 to the inauguration of Ronald Reagan politically (replace with Margaret Thatcher if you're British). Culturally, roughly speaking, it started with the Altamont Free Concert in 1969 and ended with either the Disco Demolition Night of 1979 or with the start of MTV in 1981. The most representative years are arguably 1972 through 1976: the years before that still have some baggage left over from the '60s (and, in some cases, even the '50s), while at about 1977 the tropes begin to shift: the sideburns get shorter; mass entertainment (movies especially) moves in the direction of pure escapism for the first time since the mid-'60s; the "women's-lib" movement goes mainstream and loses most of its earlier radicalism; and the (then) avant-garde musical styles of punk, New Wave, heavy metal, and (to a lesser extent) rap start to slowly eclipse the more proletarian or petit bourgeois styles of hard rock, R&B, and soft pop. Much of the sleaze and cynicism of the earlier part of the decade also begins to fade by this time: While disco is sweeping the nation, the Watergate legacy is repudiated by the election of the almost ridiculously idealistic and pure-hearted Jimmy Carter as President, and the rise of the Moral Majority within fundamentalist and evangelical Christian sects does a creditable job of rolling back (for a time, and to a degree) the sexual carnival of the '60s. But, needless to say, neither lasted beyond 1979 (the Carter administration, if not dead on arrival, clearly died with the hostages crisis), setting the bases for the turbulent 1980-1985 period.

See Also: The Roaring Twenties, The Great Depression, The Forties, The Fifties, The Sixties, The Eighties, The Nineties, Turn of the Millennium and The New Tens.

Popular tropes from this time period are:

Works that are set (but not made) in this time period are:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Copernicus Breathing
  • As mentioned below, xxAbarenbou Kishi!! Matsutarou'' is based on a 70s manga but was animated over 40 years later.



    Live-Action TV 

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 

Works that were made in this time period:

    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Eastern European Animation 


    Han-guk Manhwa Aenimeisyeon 


    Live-Action TV 

  • ABBA. Debut album in 1973, first number 1 in 1977.
  • AC/DC. Formed in 1973, debut album came out in Australia in 1975.
  • Aerosmith. They formed in 1970 and rose to become among the most popular hard rock bands of this decade, many of their best known songs came from the 70s.
  • Agnes Chan. Hong Kong pop singer who was brought to Japan in 1972 and was very famous in Asia in this decade.
  • The Allman Brothers Band. Formed in 1969, became one of the standard-bearersnote  for Southern Rock in the 1970s.
  • The B-52s. Formed in 1976, debut album in 1979.
  • Bad Company. Formed in 1973.
  • Joan Baez. Started her career in the '60s, but had her biggest commercial success in this decade.
  • The Band. Formed in the '60s, continued until their "farewell concert" in 1976 (released two years later as the rockumentary film and triple-album The Last Waltz).
  • Syd Barrett. Continued recording up until 1974.
  • Bauhaus. Formed in 1978, debut single in 1979.
  • The Beach Boys. Continued releasing well-received new material up to 1973, their 1960s songs had a resurgence in popularity from 1974 onwards.
  • Beastie Boys. They formed in 1979.
  • The Beatles. Released their last hit album in 1970, prior to disbanding.
  • The Bee Gees. They formed in the 1960s, but reinvented themselves in this decade. Releasing some of their greatest hits. Their most famous song, "Stayin' Alive" topped the charts in 1978.
  • Black Sabbath. Formed in 1968-1969, debut album in 1970. Signature album "Paranoid" and their three most famous songs were released later that year.
  • Big Star. Formed in 1971, disbanded in 1974, reunited off-and-on from 1993-2010.
  • Blondie. Formed in 1974-1975. They gained mainstream success by 1978; scored a number-one hit in 1979.
  • Blue Oyster Cult. Formed in 1967, debut album in 1972. Their best-known song, "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" was a hit in 1976.
  • Tim Buckley. Career started in the sixties, still made albums throughout the seventies, until his death in 1975.
  • Marc Bolan. Led T. Rex to Glam Rock greatness in the 1970s.
  • Boston. Debuted in 1976.
  • David Bowie. Rose to stardom in this decade (he'd been recording since 1964), and became iconic and influential enough, especially in his native England, that two of the above-mentioned works set in it — Life on Mars and Velvet Goldmine — are titled after songs of his. The latter is a No Celebrities Were Harmed take on his Glam Rock period (his starmaking Alter Ego Acting persona of Ziggy Stardust debuted in 1972).
  • James Brown: Still scoring hits in the charts until the advent of disco.
  • Bill Bruford. Started his career in the 60s, but peaked in the 70s.
  • Kate Bush. Debut album and first hit song in 1978.
  • Buzzcocks. Debuted in 1976.
  • John Cale. First solo album released in 1970.
  • Cameo. Debuted in 1974.
  • Can. Debuted in 1968, released some of their most acclaimed albums in the 1970s.
  • Captain Beefheart. Started his career in the 1960s, still active in the 1970s when he was appreciated more by the punk movement.
  • Carpenters. They debuted in 1969, but all their commercial hits were released in this decade.
  • The Cars. Debut album in 1978; "Just What I Needed" is probably still their Signature Song.
  • Johnny Cash. Debuted in the 1950, still going strong during the 1970s.
  • Harry Chapin. Debut album in 1972. Died in a car accident in 1981.
  • Cheap Trick. Formed in 1973, debut album in 1977.
  • Cher. Recording career started in the 1960s. Released several commercial hits between 1971 and 1974.
  • Chic. Debut album in 1977. Their two number-one hits were both in this decade.
  • Eric Clapton. Started in the 1960s, self-titled solo debut was released in 1970.
  • The Clash. Formed in 1976, debut album in 1977.
  • George Clinton. Started in the 1960s, first Parliament and Funkadelic albums were released in 1970.
  • Alice Cooper. First major hit for the band in 1971. Signature song in 1972, first solo album for the singer in 1975.
  • Elvis Costello. Debuted in 1977.
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival. Formed in the 1960s. Released a number of hits (most of which peaked at #2) before disbanding in 1972.
  • Jim Croce. Started in the 1960s with his wife Ingrid. First solo album released in 1972. Died in a plane crash in 1973.
  • The Cure. Formed in 1976 as "Malice", renamed in 1977. Debut album in 1979.
  • The Damned. Formed in 1976.
  • Deep Purple. Debuted in 1968. Released some of their greatest hits in this decade including "Smoke on the Water".
  • Devo. Formed in 1972; first album 1978 (although they did have a single release and two movie appearances prior to their first full-length LP).
  • Neil Diamond. Became famous in the 1960s. Albums Hot August Night, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Serenade and Beautiful Noise were released in the 1970s
  • Bob Dylan. Career started in the 1960s. Released a number of hits within this decade.
  • Eagles, Formed in 1971,note  debut album in 1972. Their most popular song, "Hotel California," and its parent album came out in 1976.
  • Electric Light Orchestra. Formed in 1970, debut album in 1971, commercial success began in 1974.
  • Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Debut album in 1970.
  • Gloria Estefan. The first Miami Sound Machine records came out in 1977.
  • Faces. Debut album in 1970.
  • The Fall. Formed in 1976, debut album in 1979.
  • Fela Kuti.
  • Fleetwood Mac. Formed in 1967, released some of their greatest hits in this decade.
  • Foreigner. Formed in 1976, debut album in 1977.
  • Leif Garrett. Had a steady acting career throughout the decade before releasing his debut single in 1976.
  • Genesis. Started in 1967, had their most successful period in The Eighties, but was influential in Progressive Rock in this decade.
  • George Harrison. Career started in the 1960s. Released a major hit album in 1970.
  • Hawkwind. Formed in 1969. Debut album in 1970.
  • Heart. Previously known as "The Army", "White Heart", and "Hocus Pocus". Debut single in 1975, debut album in 1976.
  • Michael Jackson. Debut album in 1972. Released his first "adult" hits in 1979.
  • The Jam. Formed in 1972, debut album in 1977.
  • Jean Michel Jarre. Debut single in 1971, debut album in 1972. First hit album in 1976.
  • Jethro Tull. Started in 1967, had their most successful and productive period in the 1970's. Had two #1 albums in the decade — both concept albums that took up the entirety of the album.
  • Billy Joel. Career started in 1964, but his solo career took off in 1972—1973. He scored his first top 10 hits around the end of the decade.
  • Elton John. Career started in the 1960s, but John first enjoyed mainstream popularity in this decade.
  • Journey. Formed in 1973, debut album in 1975.
  • Joy Division. Formed in 1976-1977, first recordings in 1978.
  • Judas Priest. Formed in 1969, debut album in 1974.
  • Kansas. Formed in 1973, debut album in 1974.
  • Carole King. Her breakthrough solo album Tapestry was released in 1971.
  • The Kinks (A British Invasion band from The Sixties that was still going strong). Their 1970 hit "Lola" is still one of their most famous songs.
  • KISS. Formed in 1973, debut album in 1974. Signature Song "Rock and Roll All Nite" came in 1975.
  • Kraftwerk. Debut album in 1970. A hugely influential Electronic band.
  • Led Zeppelin. The group formed in the 1960s, but reached the height of their popularity in this decade.
  • John Lennon. Debut solo album in 1970. Released a major hit album in 1971.
  • Paul Kanter (and the Jefferson Starship)
  • Nick Lowe. Solo debut released in 1978.
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd. Formed in 1964, debut album in 1973. First hit in 1974.
  • Bob Marley. Started in the 1960s, became the face of Reggae in the 1970s.
  • Paul McCartney. Released his first solo album in 1970.
  • Ronnie Milsap. Debut album in 1971, first major hit in 1974.
  • The Misfits. Formed in 1977.
  • Mission Of Burma. Formed in 1979. One of their songs gained an audience through a college radio station before they even managed to release a single.
  • Joni Mitchell. Debuted in 1968, had many successful albums during this decade.
  • The Moody Blues. Formed in 1964. Released a number of hit albums within this decade. "Nights in White Satin" regained popularity this decade.
  • Giorgio Moroder. Famous Record Producer.
  • Van Morrison. Started in the 1960s but enjoyed most of his commercial success in this decade.
  • Motörhead. Formed in 1975, debut album released in 1977.
  • Mott the Hoople. First album in 1969, but best known for their work during this decade.
  • Neu!. One of the major bands of the German movement which was dubbed Krautrock.
  • New York Dolls. Debuted in 1973.
  • Mike Oldfield. Debut solo album in 1973. Oldfield had previously performed and recorded both in a duo (with his sister Sally Oldfield) and in collaborations with various bands.
  • John Otway. First album in 1977.
  • Dolly Parton. Her recording career started in the 1960s, but she gained mainstream success in this decade.
  • Patti Smith.
  • Tom Petty. Debut album released in 1976.
  • Pink Floyd. While formed in the 1960s, they released their most notable works within this decade:
  • The Police. Formed in 1977, debut album in 1978. "Roxanne" and "Message in a Bottle" were 1979 hits.
  • Elvis Presley
  • Procol Harum. Recording career started in 1968. They continued releasing successful albums and singles to 1975.
  • Public Image Ltd.. Formed in 1978, releasing their debut album and their first hit single within the same year.
  • Queen. Formed in 1970, debut album in 1973. Their three most famous works came this decade.
  • Gerry Rafferty. First solo album released in 1971.
  • The Ramones. Formed in 1974, debut album in 1976.
  • Lou Reed. Started in the 1960s with the Velvet Underground, Self-titled solo debut was released in 1972.
  • The Residents: Debuted in 1973.
  • Rodriguez. Issued debut album in 1970.
  • The Rolling Stones. Formed in 1962, the group released a series of hit albums within this decade.
  • Linda Ronstadt. First active in the mid-1960's; first album 1969 but would become the top-selling female artist of the 1970's.
  • Roxy Music. Formed in 1971, debut album in 1972.
  • The Runaways. Formed in 1975, debut album in 1976.
  • Rush. Formed in 1968, debut album in 1974.
  • Scorpions. Formed in 1965, debut album in 1972.
  • Scritti Politti. Formed in 1977, debut single in 1978.
  • Gil Scott-Heron. Debuted in 1970.
  • Neil Sedaka. Started in 1957. Took a hiatus in the Sixties after The Beatles came out. Revived in this decade and had some of his biggest songs during it.
  • Bob Seger. Started in the 1960s but found his first major success in this decade.
  • Sex Pistols. Formed in 1975, debut single in 1976.
  • Simon & Garfunkel. Career started in the 1950s. Released their last hit album in 1970 featuring their big hit "Bridge Over Troubled Water", before ending their partnership.
    • Paul Simon. Career started in the 1960s. Released a number of hit albums within this decade.
  • Carly Simon. Debut album in 1971.
  • Simple Minds. Formed in 1978, from the remnants of previous band Johnny & The Self-Abusers. Debut album in 1979.
  • Siouxsie and the Banshees. Formed in 1976, debut album in 1978.
  • Slade. Glam rockers who were arguably the biggest band in Britain around 1972-4.
  • Sly And The Family Stone
  • Patti Smith. Debut album in 1975.
  • Bruce Springsteen. Debut album in 1973.
  • Squeeze. Debut album in 1978.
  • Ringo Starr. Debut solo album in 1970.
  • Status Quo. Formed in 1960s, but released notable commercial hits in this decade. None were big in the U.S. though.
  • Steely Dan. Debut album in 1972. The duo had previously recorded a number of demos and an unsuccessful single.
  • Steppenwolf
  • Al Stewart
  • Rod Stewart. Solo recording career started in 1969. First major hit in 1971.
  • The Stranglers. Formed in 1974, first album was in 1977, had significant chart success from 77 through to the Eighties and onward.
  • Barbra Streisand. Her singing career started in the 1960s, but Streisand released several major hits in this decade.
  • Styx. Debuted under this name in 1972. Previously known as Tradewinds and TW4. They had their first major hit in 1975.
  • Donna Summer. First single in 1971, first album in 1974. First hit in 1975.
  • Supertramp. Formed in 1968. Classic lineup formed in 1972. Had first major hit in 1975. Released their best selling album in 1979.
  • Sweet. Formed in 1967, first album in 1971.
  • Talking Heads. Formed in 1975. Debut single and album in 1977.
  • James Taylor. Sweet Baby James was released in February 1970.
  • Television. Formed in 1973, debut single in 1975.
  • Teresa Teng. One of the highest selling Asian artists of all time. Her songs broke through Red China.
  • Thin Lizzy. Formed in 1969. First single in 1970, first album in 1971. Only hit in 1976.
  • Uriah Heep. Formed in 1969. Debut album in 1970. Only hit in 1973.
  • Van Halen. Debut album in 1978. Considered one of the most successful debuts by a rock band, reaching a top 20 position in the charts.
  • Village People. Debut album in 1977. First hit in 1978.
  • Scott Walker. Released five solo albums and reformed the Walker Brothers 1975-1978.
  • Jeff Wayne
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Whitesnake. Debuted in 1978.
  • The Who. They formed in the 1960s. But released notable works within this decade:
  • Jack Wild. Debuted in 1969, but cut two more records in 1972 and 1973, and also did some acting work in this decade.
  • Paul Williams. Debuted in the late '60s, composed most of his most well-known songs in this decade.
  • Wings. Formed in 1971.
  • Wire. Formed in 1976, debut album in 1977.
  • Stevie Wonder. Debuted in the 1960s, released some major best sellers during this decade.
  • X. Formed in 1977.
  • XTC. Formed in 1977, debut album in 1978.
  • Yes. Formed in 1960s, but released several hit albums in this decade. First hit in 1972.
  • Neil Young. Debuted in 1968. Released his greatest chart hits in this decade.
  • Frank Zappa. Recording career had started in 1966. Solo career took off in this decade, with two of his most successful albums released in 1979.
  • Warren Zevon. His self-titled major label debut was released in 1976.
  • ZZ Top. Debut album released in 1971.

    Music genres 

    Newspaper Comics 


    Professional Wrestling 


    Tabletop Games 


    Theme Parks 


    Video Games 

    Western Animation 

  • Chuck E. Cheese
  • Apple Computer got its start during this time too, although it wouldn't be a serious competitor to IBM until the mid-'80s.
  • Nike adopted its iconic "swoosh" logo in the closing years of the decade.
  • McDonald's brought fast food to the masses, introducing breakfast items on its menu for the first time and opening its first foreign restaurants (first McDonald's in Great Britain in 1974). The Big Mac hamburger (introduced in 1968) first became popular at this time. Ronald McDonald (who had gotten a classy makeover in 1967 with the now-familiar yellow jumpsuit and striped socks) was joined in McDonaldland by his friends Birdie, the Hamburglar, the Grimace (originally an octopus-like creature who loved milkshakes) and the Fry Kids. Mayor McCheese is a relic of this era, nowadays only turning up in parodies.


The SixtiesThe 20 th CenturyThe Eighties
Sayonara FootballGaming and Sports Anime and MangaSekai De Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai
Hip HopMusic of the 1980sTwo Live Crew
The Football WarHollywood HistoryNational Reorganization Process
Sesquipedalian LoquaciousnessImageSource/PhotographySexy Soaked Shirt
Serial KillerThe New TensDeep South

alternative title(s): The Seesaw Seventies; The Me Decade
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy