View Full Version : What was being a teen like in the late 60s - early 70s?

08-17-2010, 09:26 AM
Okay, I was born in the 90s so I'm obviously not an expert of 60s-70s.

I'm trying to get information from everywhere I can, but I was wondering if there is anyone on this forum who was born in the late 60s- early 70s, if so what was it like being a teenager back then?

How did you dress? What music did you listen to? What did you do for fun?

I'm writing a YA contemporary with a duo narrative where the male POV lives in the early 70s and the female POV lives in the present day.

Any and all thoughts are really appreciated.

Thanks. :)

08-17-2010, 09:36 AM
Born then or a teenager then? I was born by the early 70's but hardly remember them. It was the 80's that we remember so well.

Try this, though:


I've heard it captured things well. I can't say, myself.

08-17-2010, 09:39 AM
@backslashbaby - Thanks! I'll have to check that show out. I meant a teenager during the 70s...but maybe during the 80s would be better. Anyways, I appreciate the link. :)

08-17-2010, 09:59 AM
I'm a little unclear on what you're asking here - Born in the early 70s or a teenager in the early 70s (and therefore born in the late 50s).

I was born in 1964, so I was a teenage boy in the late 70s/early 80s in the UK. Strange as it may seem, I don't think teenagers are different mentally or emotionally now to then - only in surface details. Obviously the music, fashions were different.

How did I dress? When out of school uniform, pretty much the same as I do now casually - T-shirt and jeans. Those who went to nightclubs/discos might dress up a bit more, but I was never in that crowd.

Music? Punk was big in the late 70s, but there were always plenty who weren't into it. I went to a Catholic boys' school, so this may distort things a bit. Prog rock was big (Rush, Marillion, both just starting). Quite a few into heavy metal (the famed New Wave of British Heavy Metal, or NWOBHM for short). Other than that, the more musicianly chart rock music, such as Dire Straits (Love Over Gold was a big album, in fact the second one I ever bought). What was NOT cool in that school was anything that girls tended to like, so out were Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, any of the New Romantics, and most of the synth duos from the early 80s - ESPECIALLY Soft Cell, with their openly gay lead singer.

Being gay was NOT cool, and there was a lot of homophobia around. Someone in my year who was very effeminate had a very hard time. This was made worse when AIDS first become public knowledge (1981).

By the way, I bought music on vinyl then, moving on to cassettes later. CDs didn't come in until the mid 80s. I was swapping Beatles and Dylan albums with friends on tape. I'd say for anyone with a serious interest in music (rather than just listening to what was around on the radio) it's much easier to find stuff now. If there's a track I haven't heard before but would like to try out, nowadays the first place I'd look would be Youtube. Back then, short of blind buying a single or an LP, you had to wait until something turned up on the radio. In the early 80s, a big show for me was Anne Nightingale's request show on BBC Radio 1 on Sunday nights - I heard a lot of great stuff on there. The singles charts were much more essential then than they are now.

What did I do for fun? People were much less paranoid about letting kids out of the house then (even so, we all had warnings not to talk to strangers etc). I tended to be a loner outside school, but I read a lot, went to the cinema, listened to music...which I still do!

Incidentally, home video didn't start until the end of the 70s, and many households (ours included) didn't get a VCR until the mid 80s. You watched films in the cinema (which often came back a few months later, sometimes in a double bill) or you waited five years for them to turn up on TV. Certain big films' premieres on TV were far bigger events than they are now.

There were only three channels on British TV until Channel 4 started in 1982, a day I remember vividly. Back then, there tended to be BBC1 households and ITV households, as to which of the two mass-audience channels you tended to watch. (We were a BBC household.) BBC2 was a minority-audience channel. TV was a family activity, especially with drama series and comedies in the evening - it was unusual to have more than one set, unless the second one was a small portable, which we had in the kitchen. "The Young Ones" was big with older teens when it was first broadcast. As many people didn't have VCRs, you watched the programme when it was broadcast, or on a repeat, or not at all. Back then, in Britain it was an assumption that British TV was superior to American TV which with a few notable exceptions (such as M*A*S*H) was thought rather trashy, and there was more of it on main channels in prime time than there is now. (Nowadays of course, it's a common assumption that the best US television leaves British TV for dust - which is a bit unfair on the best British TV.)

Also, TV was more censored then than now. There was a 9pm "watershed" after which programmes might not be suitable for children. Sex and nudity tended not to be problematic, but strong swearing was out, and that was a taboo that didn't start to be broken in scripted drama until 1979/1980, and films almost always had strong language cut. (Channel 4, which started in 1982, was a pioneer in leaving films and TV shows uncut. I'm not counting certain notorious examples of swearing on live TV such as the Sex Pistols on the Today show in 1976.)

In my later teens, there were boys who had girlfriends and were almost certainly sexually active. In my last year at that school (1982-83, when I was eighteen), the head girl of the local Catholic convent school was pregnant.

This is obviously a UK perspective (I'm sure fashions and trends were different in the USA and elsewhere) but I hope it's of use.

08-17-2010, 11:16 AM
Google "what happened in 1976" or a date of your choice.

08-17-2010, 04:07 PM
> what was it like being a teenager back then?

Born in 63, so I'm off a couple.

> How did you dress?

Jeans and T-shirt. On colder days, a pullover flipped inside out and brown corduroy pants with larger-than-usual leg endings (a few years later I saw the introduction of elephant pants - circa 74).

> What music did you listen to?

Rock, mostly. Beatles, Rolling Stones, CCR, Boston, The Doors, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin. And in the late-70s I migrated to Genesis and the likes.

> What did you do for fun?

I had my Mustang bike with playing cards - tied with clothespins to the frame - strumming the wheels. My friends and I made a tree house in the woods behind our house during summer. Then at 13, two things changed my life. Someone gave me a HeathKit catalog. And I became an addict to the Six Million Dollar Man TV show.

Hope this helps.


Julie Worth
08-17-2010, 04:27 PM
You know all those images of Woodstock and Vietnam War protests and Martin Luther King and water cannons and dogs? All that was true. And then the 70's came along and people took their clothes off and ran through the streets. It was definitely an upward progression until disco ruined everything.

08-17-2010, 05:00 PM
Mentally/emotionally, there wasn't much difference between teenagers then and now. The Wonder Years, previously mentioned, got the look and feel pretty well. So will a lot of sitcoms and dramas from the seventies.

The single greatest difference in teen culture has probably been the advent of the Internet and widespread availability of cell phones. You couldn't text your friends then, you couldn't see what everyone was up to by checking their Facebook pages. If you weren't in physical proximity or both near a landline, you were out of communication. If someone lived far away, you didn't have a lot of daily contact with them. (Long distance calls were still pretty expensive.) You didn't make friends and chat daily with people in other countries you'd never met personally.

This also means that regional differences were greater then. Today, a meme that starts in New York will spread around the world in hours, and kids in Sweden, the US, and Brazil will all get the joke. Back then, it was very unlikely that kids in the UK and kids in the US were watching the same shows, reading the same books, or listening to the same music. (If they were, there was a significant time lag.)

As mentioned above, very few people, especially teens, were okay with gays. Even those who didn't actively dislike gays would not want to be identified as gay, ever. High school GLBT groups? Not a chance.

The Soviet Union was still the Evil Empire. Many people believed there was a real threat of global nuclear war in their lifetime, hence the popularity of movies about nuclear war in the 70s and 80s. Teenagers knew the adults could very well blow up the world before they got a chance to grow up. If they were around in the 60s, they remembered the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was a slightly different tone, I think than today, where many people are pessimistic about the future but few believe that the human race will literally be exterminated.

Going back to the Internet, I don't think you can overestimate the influence of pornography. Porn was around back then, but it was found in seedy X-rated theaters, "adult" bookstores (also, back then "adult" had not yet become synonymous with "sexually explicit") and magazines your dad kept hidden in the attic. Most teenagers did not have easy frequent access to sexually explicit images, certainly not the volume and variety that exists today. Teens today are rather blase about sex acts and images that would have shocked most adults in the 70s. Back then, Playboy was considered pretty risque; today, people barely even consider it porn.

That's not to say it was an age of innocence and teenagers didn't know about or have sex. Of course they did. Birth control and abortion was a lot harder for teens to get, though, and a much bigger deal.

Kids (not just teenagers) were allowed to wander around by themselves unsupervised in a way that would be considered child neglect today.

08-17-2010, 05:01 PM
Born in 1960.

In junior high, the dress code was good pants (not jeans or t-shirts) until 1976, or dress/skirts for girls. Skirts had to hang at least down most of your thigh. No sleeveless shirts or cleavage permitted. Middrifts became really popular toward the end of the 70's, and those were quickly banned from schools as well. When I was a junior in high school, we were finally allowed to wear NICE jeans to school. The only t-shirts allowed at school were school and sports teams my junior year. In my senior year, it loosened up to include all t-shirts as long as they were "tasteful".

When me and most of our friends got home, we were required to change out of our "good school clothes" until jeans were allowed. Shopping for "school clothes" was a big deal because it was a separate wardrobe.

Sandals were allowed, but not flip-flops. Tennis shoes were nothing like the athletic shoes that are so ubitious today. They were lightweight and a little floppy and brands like Nike and Adidas catered to the heavy-duty sports players and weren't generally known back then. Payless and such self-shop shoe stores were just coming into the Midwest/Detroit area when I was in high school and weren't trusted by a lot of the older folk. They were used to either paying cheap at Kresge's, Kmart or Woolworth and getting shoes that'll last a season or two or going to Hersey's or another shoe store, getting waited on by a salesman and paying for a good shoe that would last 5-10 years.

Oh, and remember that shoes had laces or buckles unless they were a slip-on. No velcro until later in the 1980's. Velcro didn't become extremely common until much later in the 1980's and into the 1990's for shoes.

The family TV was HUGE back then, but the actual screen wasn't that large really. We got our first color TV in 1974 and had it until after I graduated in 1978. It didn't get replaced until 1980 or so. It had a 20" or so screen, but what I remember was that the speakers were on either side of the screen (I remember mesh on both sides). It was a big piece of furniture, not something you moved around easily. No stereo option. No remote. You turned the dial to change the channel and the numbers lit up so you could see the channel in the dark.

Living in Detroit, we were unusual in having five TV channels to choose from. ABC (7), NBC (2), CBS (4), PBS-Detroit (50) and PBS-Windsor (62). The PBS stations were on UFC, so you had to set the big selector there and hand-tune in the smaller one and try to bring in the PBS channels.

I remember getting the first Pong game and hooking it up to the TV and sitting on the floor to play it with my sisters. We hooked it up to the color TV (the game was white on green), so that came out sometime in 74-75. That was BIG excitement in the neighborhood that we had that and all the neighbor kids would come to play before suppertime.

As a teen, there were very few restrictions on me as long as I told my mother where I was going. The neighborhood I lived in was one where all mothers watched and corrected all children. Mothers were constantly talking to each other and everyone knew everyone's business and that was just life. I had to get several blocks away before no one could ID me by name, parent or pet.

Fun was varied things. I was into Star Trek fandom, so I wrote fanfic and had about 10 penpals from around the world who I wrote to. When the mail came in in the morning, there was usually at least one letter for me. I'd respond back and mail it out in the afternoon mail and there could be more mail then. I spent a lot of time biking down to the post office (roughly 1-2 miles away), the library or the Kmart (especially in the summer--one of the few places in town with air-conditioning). I hung with friends and we talked records, books. I had an old manual typewriter and wrote my first book before I graduated high school and had piled up a stack of rejection letters. I had a job walking a couple of neighbors' dogs, and checked in on the elderly neighbors regularly to make certain they were all right. I baby-sat, did craft projects, went to dances and was basically a teen.

The soundtrack of my teen years was disco (Donna Summer, Bee Gees, etc), Barry Manilow, the Carpenters and Motown (hey--I lived in Detroit!). We were the "easy listening" side of music.

In the early 1980's, we got cable and with cable came MTV. When it first started it was mostly Duran Duran (I seriously came to hate that group from over-exposure). VH1 was the "New Age" station and played a lot of instrumental music with the visuals being sweeping pastoral landscapes. Very boring. But they were both just music and a little talking. My ex loved to have MTV on if he was up. I loved to shut it off whenever I had the chance. MTV liked the harder rock that I hadn't grown up with and didn't like much then. VH1 started playing easy listening videos (once the artists caught up and started making them) and things evened out in the video-watching department.

The first home computers came out about the time I graduated. The TRS-80 ran off a cassette player. Didn't even have a disk-drive. When I got my first Apple ][+ in 1981, it had a single disk-drive so I had to boot it up, then switch out the disk to run a program. Green and white monitor, like the Pong game. It was really something to have. Games were text-based, but they were fun. I remember the "Wizardry" series and "Plundered Hearts" very fondly. Then the "bad graphics" games came out and that was great fun. When we got the ][GS, the games were good enough to be worth hooking up to the TV to play.

We didn't get Internet access until the 1990's--and then it was expensive and a PITA, so most people I know didn't bother with it. Wasn't really worth it for me until about 1994.

Is that the kind of thing you were looking for?

08-17-2010, 06:22 PM
Born in '55 - and memory ain't what it used to be ;) And we were also small rural town, so...

Sandals, not shoes. Bell bottoms. Bright colors and lots of them. Paisley. Long straight hair for girls (parted in the middle even if it made you look like crap). Boys' hair (at least in our neck of the woods) was just a regular boys cut allowed to grow out. (I remember my dad having to go visit the principle because he was giving my brother crap about his long hair - Dad didn't like it either but no principle was going to bug his son! LOL)

Music was Beatles and Monkees. The Rolling Stones were 'dangerous' bad boys.

Pot was around, but always had been. Anybody doing hard drugs was considered the 'dregs' and nobody wanted to be part of *that* crowd. The "F" word was also only used by 'trash' types. My graduating class (1973) was the first one to have any pregnancies, and they quickly got married and moved away.

We had four TV stations available (antenna) - 2 CBS, 1 ABC and 1 NBC.

There were no non-whites living in the area. Had to go to the cities (70 miles away). Any passing through were a huge curiosity. We had a few bigots, of course, but it was mostly that we rarely saw any blacks, Hispanics, etc in person. It wasn't unusual for people to stop them in the store and just ask all kinds of questions about where they were from, about their family, etc. Of course, in those days, like now, small town folk typically ask strangers those things, but there was more genuine curiosity about non-whites than just being "Minnesota nice".

Kids took the bus to school. You had to get a note from your parents and have the school's permission as well before you could drive to school. And if you lived within a mile, you couldn't get bus service so had to walk or have parents drive you. I think I was a junior when girls were finally allowed to wear slacks to school instead of skirts or dresses - but absolutely no jeans or t-shirts, for boys or girls.

Seems like we had a lot more classes than nowadays, too. I know I was amazed that my son only had about half the classes I took daily. But kids didn't have jobs like today either. A few worked after school (I did) but very few hours. Only the farm kids really had jobs. And homework! Lots of homework, which meant kids couldn't work that much, and sports programs worked around that as well (no getting up at 5 AM for hockey practice).

Kids could go pretty much where they wanted without fear, and pretty much at any time of day or night (up to curfew, anyway).

Guess that's about it for my rambling ;)

Don Allen
08-17-2010, 07:16 PM
Southside of Chicago teen: Lots of racial tension, white kids fighting with black kids if black kids crossed the mythical Chicago southside Mason Dixon line, (Vincennes Ave).

At 14 and 15 my friends and I were playing poker, stealing hubcaps, and generally terrorizing the neighborhood. Our goal each week was coming up with enough money to pay someone a fee for making a RUN for us so we had booze for the weekend.

Had long hair and wore tight jeans and button down shirts most of the time.

I was into Deep Purple, Edger Winter, Lucifers Friend, Black Sabbath, original Ozzie fan, (still can't figure out why he ain't dead) Thought the Beatles were pussy's for the longest time.

Hung with a hard drinking fast paced crowd that stole cars, passed girls around at parties, and fought gang turf battles, (No shit) 105th Street Gents,,, but compared to todays street gangs we were wimps.

Pot was our thing along with the new underground radio stations popping up on FM radio.

Got so fucked up at the Infamous Chicago Aerosmith Concert that when the stadium caught on fire my friends and I actual thought it was part of the show. Famous quote:
"Man, how the fuck they get the fire up there"

Worst fight was pulling into a McDonalds in my friends 1966 396 El Camino at the same time a rival gang was coming out. They pulled him through the window of his car and beat him to a pulp, while chasing me through the parking lot. ( every man for himself, right?)

One of our friends showed up a minute later in his 68 Camero and tried to run down the guys beating up our friend. The crowd scattered
enough for my friend to jump back in the El Camino at which time he shot it in first gear and spun at least three donuts in the parking lot shooting gravel, asphalt and smoke at everyone within fifty feet.... Good times....

08-17-2010, 07:20 PM

Thanks everyone.

Lots of great information here.

Hehe, seems like everyone loved the Beatles. (I guess I can't say I'm a huge fan because they were way before my time, but they were a really great band.)

It was fun reading everyone's outtakes on growing up in the 60-80s. Like I said, I'm a 90s girl and so any information is helpful. I guess I'm not sure what time I want to this story to be set in, but with all of this great info, I'll be able to build off of something.

And it's interesting that some of you mentioned what it was like for people who were gay back then. My MC's step-brother is gay and I didn't really didn't know how to go about incorporating that into the story.

So, again thanks! :D

08-17-2010, 07:24 PM
Born in the 80s so I dont have personal experience but I'm reading "Forever" by Judy Blume right now and that took place in the 70s. I suggest picking up some books written in the 70s and getting a feel of the era from those.

08-17-2010, 07:26 PM
Born in the 80s so I dont have personal experience but I'm reading "Forever" by Judy Blume right now and that took place in the 70s. I suggest picking up some books written in the 70s and getting a feel of the era from those.

Yeah, I was thinking about doing that. I've seen Forever at the bookstore, never thought to pick it up. So I'll get it next time in the bookstore. Thanks for the rec. :)

08-17-2010, 07:31 PM
"Forever" by Judy Blume was banned at my school library for many years, FWIW. Definitely worth picking up. ;)

Chasing the Horizon
08-18-2010, 01:58 AM
I can share a few anecdotes from my parents if it might be helpful. I've always loved listening to them tell stories about their childhoods and teenage years and contrasting it with my own. My mother was born in 1954 and my father in 1950. They both grew up in small fairly conservative Maryland towns.

With no internet, video games, etc. they both spent much less time sitting around the house by themselves, though my mother spent a lot of time reading. With no cell phones or IM you spent most of your social time actually out with your friends at the local hang-outs.

One thing that's always struck me is how many things simply weren't talked about openly back then. The world wasn't a safer or more innocent place, but it felt that way because you never heard about most of the tough issues we discuss today. Being GLBT, rape, child abuse, teenage pregnancy, these were all things you just didn't hear about outside whispers and rumors. But they did talk about nuclear war. A lot. The schools had drills where everyone would get hide under their desks. Stupid, certainly, but true. And yet, because they'd never known a world without the threat of nuclear war, the kids and teens really didn't worry about it much.

Rural kids brought their fathers' guns to school for show and tell when my father was in elementary school. This was considered totally acceptable. All the boys carried pocket knives and some carried hunting knives, but no-one was ever shot or stabbed. Fist fights in the school parking lot were considered an acceptable way of settling differences for the boys.

Gender roles were strictly adhered to. In 1965 I'm not sure most people, even intelligent ones like my parents, understood the deeply-rooted sexism all around them. It was just the way it was. Blatant racism was also the order of the day, though my experience has been so similar to my parents' with this that I hesitate to say much has changed.

Despite the lack of readily-available pornography and reticence to discuss sex, from my parents accounts I think their generation had at least as much if not more teenage sex than mine. AIDS did not yet exist and there was no discussion of the other potential sexually transmitted diseases, other than pregnancy. If a girl's family had money and she ended up pregnant in the early 70s, they would drive to New York City for a 'vacation' (abortion). That was the nearest real abortion clinic.

Hard drugs didn't really exist in small-town America in the late 60s and early 70s (or if they did my parents never encountered them until the mid-late 70s). There was lots of pot, though, and teenage drinking was much more rampant than it is today. It was a wink-wink-nudge-nudge thing with the police. Drinking and driving wasn't recognized as wrong the way it is today.

Don't forget that there was no such thing as a 'non-smoking' area. People smoked on airplanes, in theaters, everywhere.

Also, there were a lot of things we take forgranted today that didn't exist back then. For example, the good sanitary supplies us girls use today. My mom has some real horror stories about that one. And many of the OTC medications we use for minor ailments didn't exist.

If you have any specific questions, post and I'll ask my mom. :)

08-18-2010, 02:12 AM
Everyone seems to have covered the high points here. If you have a specific question, don't hesitate to PM me. I graduated from high school in 1974, if that helps and live in the mid-west.

08-18-2010, 02:35 AM
Watch the movie "Woodstock." Listen to some old Cheech and Chong albums. That pretty much sums it up.

08-18-2010, 07:29 AM
I was born in 1952 and graduated from high school in 1970 in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was in the group of teens at my school considered hippies. I'd be happy to critique your novel, when finished, if you feel I might have a helpful perspective. I have a novel first draft finished that covers the years from about '65 through '80... so maybe we could trade critiques. If interested, PM me and I'll get the novel revised and ready for a first reader.

I enjoyed reading through the comments here. The one thing I'd have to disagree with is about the availability of birth control. It went on the market when I was about fifteen. I remember this clearly because my mother found out birth control pills simulate pregnancy and help teenage girls recover from acne. She took both my sister and I to the dermatologist to get birth control pill prescriptions in '67. Within a year or two, all my friends had them because Planned Parenthood in Oakland was giving them away free without telling parents. We had to sit through a contraception lecture to qualify. There were no abortions at the time - that was legalized a few years later.

08-19-2010, 09:15 AM
Yay, this isn't me!!!!!! I wasn't a teen until the 80's.

08-19-2010, 09:54 PM
I graduated HS in 1980. Homosexuality was still pretty much in the closet but that was just starting to change.

My group (all drama/theater nerds) contained several friends that we knew were gay but no one ever talked about it. They either didn't date or dated hetero partners. In Senior year one of them came out. He was pretty anxious about it, expecting us to reject him, but our reaction was pretty much "yeah?, whatever." IIRC, his family was divided on the issue, with his mom supporting him and his dad rejecting him.

I'm pretty sure that before the late 70's, sexual preference was assumed to be hetero and anything outside that was ignored.

08-20-2010, 05:24 AM
Homosexuality was only talked about in churches - and you can guess the message there. But then, we didn't even have sex ed in school until my junior year (1972), and that was a one-time guest lecturer. Parents had to sign a consent form and there was a huge uproar from the community about it. I'd say maybe 10-20% of the students who were "old enough" to participate were allowed to by their parents (I was one of them LOL). And then the lecturer had to tone down what she said. Otherwise, we had a one day session in health class about the reproductive system - separate for boy and girls.

08-22-2010, 06:30 AM
wow ... this is so freaking awesome! You lot who were born back then and remember it, I think you had it best. I mean, the best music. We've got Justin Bieber ... yeah, sad, I know.

But wow! Man. This is great stuff im reading here

08-22-2010, 07:42 AM
I graduated HS in 1980. Homosexuality was still pretty much in the closet but that was just starting to change.

My group (all drama/theater nerds) contained several friends that we knew were gay but no one ever talked about it. They either didn't date or dated hetero partners. In Senior year one of them came out. He was pretty anxious about it, expecting us to reject him, but our reaction was pretty much "yeah?, whatever." IIRC, his family was divided on the issue, with his mom supporting him and his dad rejecting him.

I'm pretty sure that before the late 70's, sexual preference was assumed to be hetero and anything outside that was ignored.

My mom and dad (in the late 50's, early 60's) knew people they thought might be gay. You just didn't ever discuss it. There was a lesbian who worked at the shop where he took his car, too. She could get away with being seen with her girlfriend because she was just so obviously and matter-of-factly gay, he said. And my parents were brought up pretty traditionally for the 50's. It was a small enough town that folks tried not to get into other people's business, if that makes any sense.

08-23-2010, 06:01 PM
Okay, I was born in the 90s so I'm obviously not an expert of 60s-70s.

I'm trying to get information from everywhere I can, but I was wondering if there is anyone on this forum who was born in the late 60s- early 70s, if so what was it like being a teenager back then?

How did you dress? What music did you listen to? What did you do for fun?

I'm writing a YA contemporary with a duo narrative where the male POV lives in the early 70s and the female POV lives in the present day.

Any and all thoughts are really appreciated.

Thanks. :)

Loved my bell bottom blue jeans and I used to embroider on the "bells" myself, all kinds of colorful things, flowers, sombreros, peace signs. I liked T-shirts and jeans, wore the occasional dress. I had a few "granny" or "maxi" full length peasant style dresses. Peasant style blouses were cool. Big earrings, either large hoops or long dangles, long hair, and I personally liked headbands although the school would not allow me to wear them.
My shoes were mostly Converse or Keds.

For music I liked rock and pop; listened to Casey Kasem's countdown every weekend without fail.

For fun, we drove around, drove fast when and where we could, had parties that sometimes included the use of alcoholic beverages, smoked a little grass on occasion, went "parking" with our significant other, went to rock concerts, played frisbee, went to drive-ins for cokes or burgers or both, played cards (which I have found is amazingly popular again with teens at least where I live), danced, listened to music, went to dances, went to sports games but more to see/be seen than watch the game (for me, anyway), went cruising, shot baskets....

Girls had slumber parties, big gab fests with lots of hair curling and gossip.

Pizza was getting really popular.

08-23-2010, 06:02 PM
wow ... this is so freaking awesome! You lot who were born back then and remember it, I think you had it best. I mean, the best music. We've got Justin Bieber ... yeah, sad, I know.

But wow! Man. This is great stuff im reading here

The music still rocks! I work at a high school and I am often amazed how many kids like "my" music....but when I listen to theirs, I understand!!

08-23-2010, 07:23 PM
Glenakin - HAHA. Justin Bieber = Sad.

But you guys are AMAZING.

I have so much information to work with. The wikis of 70s weren't working for me because it's all factual and not opinionated. I want my MC to be as realistic as possible, and I loved reading all of your experiences in the 70s. So cool!

08-24-2010, 12:09 AM
[QUOTE=DeleyanLee;5247260]Born in 1960.

Me too. I grew up in Northern England which was racist, sexist, homophobic and pretty intolerant of anyone who didn't speak with a broad northern accent.

The family phone sat in the hall and calls were expensive, short and overheard.
Going out took organisation.There were as now different groups of people defined mainly by taste in music - in the early seventies it was glam rock, progressive, heavy metal, northern soul and later disco, soul, rock of various flavours and punk. I think teen emotions were the same but the context was very different.

TV was a family affair and photos were few and far between. We recorded music tapes off the radio. Everyone watched the same programmes, listened to the main radio stations.

It was in many ways a more innocent time; I didn't even realise Freddie Mercury was gay at the time!

Silver King
08-24-2010, 05:19 AM
A few things I remember about growing up back then which haven't been mentioned in this thread:

The Vietnam War was big news and permeated our culture in ways our current wars haven't lived up to.

The success rate of making out with girls was measured in baseball terms. First base was a kiss, second copping a feel, third touching her "down there" and fourth base, a home run, was going all the way.

We played Spin the Bottle, where a group of kids sat in a circle and we'd each take turns spinning the bottle. When it stopped on a member of the opposite sex, whoever it was pointing toward had to give the spinner a kiss (or whatever the agreed upon stakes were set at the beginning of the game, usually never more than reaching second base).

We played Truth or Dare, too. You'd start by asking someone whether they choose truth or dare. Depending upon their response, you'd ask them an incredibly embarrassing question, or dare them to do something equally horrendous. You had to be careful how you played, though, because eventually it would be your turn to answer truth or dare, and your previous play would often determine your options.

We rode our bikes everywhere. It was the only mode of transportation we had. Our folks didn't drop everything, or even anything, to take us to a movie or to soccer practice or to school or to just about anywhere else, regardless the distance. We were on our own when it came to traveling from point A to B and back again.

There wasn't much to do at home. And if we hung around too long, the folks would find something to occupy our time, usually by way of chores. So it wasn't unusual to leave the house in the early morning and not return again until dinner time when we were famished. There was no such thing as "checking in," and in fact, unless I got into trouble, my parents never asked what I was up to during those frequent absences.

My allowance was fifty cents per week. If I worked extra hard around the house, my mom would bump it to one dollar. There was never any point in asking for more, as she made it clear that if I wanted money to spend, I should get a job. Which I did, starting at the age of fourteen, and I've had my own money to spend ever since.

08-24-2010, 06:53 AM
Someone else once asked me about the sixties, for a project, and I came across what wrote, a small memoir/sketch:

When I was a teen, I picked up one day and headed out to SF. A girl I knew was a “friend” of Paul Kantner, (Jefferson Airplane, )and since he was out of town she let me stay at his flat for a few days until I could find a place.

His flat was on 17th Street, in the middle of what is now the Castro, but in those days it was a working class neighborhood with mom and pop groceries.

In short order I found a room in a boarding house on Divisadero – it had nine or ten large rooms with a sink basin, bathroom down the hall, and communal kitchen. The building was owned and run by what would now be termed and old hippie –except then it was more like he was an old beatnik. He had lived for years in Morocco, and the story about him (which was probably half true) was that he had met a wealthy woman there and lived off her for years. When the money finally started to run out, he absconded with whatever was left, packed up his two cats, and moved to SF where he bought the building and lived off the rent from boarders. (It was a large building – It now houses a restaurant on the ground floor and expensive apts upstairs –I’d guess it’s worth three million or so today.

Down the hall from me lived a lesbian couple, one of whom wasn’t all that gay, and hooked up with me because her partner (apparently not that gay either) was having an affair with the guy who owned the building, whom she hated. They had violent screaming fights at least once a week.

There was also a young gay man, a black guy, who lived across from me. He would get drunk at night, come to my room, and try to convince me to have sex with him. When I explained I wasn’t gay, he just said “well, I’ll just give you a blow job then. That doesn’t make you gay.”
Sadly, he wasn’t particularly attractive, so I wasn’t even flattered by the attention.

This almost ended in tragedy one night. I had neglected to lock the door to my room. He crept in at about 3 in the morning and I woke up to find him bending over me. Now, I was sound asleep, had recently come from Chicago, where I lived in a sketchy neighborhood on the South Side, where a strange black man in your house bending over you in the dark in middle of the night did not mean sex, it meant you were about to be robbed or killed.

So I reached under my pillow where I kept my loaded .22 revolver, (yes, I was young and incredibly stupid) rolled out of bed, and was actually about to squeeze off a round when I recognized who he was and what he wanted. It kind of made for an uncomfortable dynamic between us from that time onward.

Another girl I met there had an in at the Matrix Club, an iconic club on Fillmore where almost all of the SF bands played. She got me a job there, although I was under age. Not a real job, just an unpaid gig running lights for the bands. I had other sources of income at the time. A lot of musicians hung out there, although it was fairly cliquish -- I was just the kid running the lights, so no one paid me much attention. I did get to be a friend/acquaintance of a guy named Jim Cook, who played in the Steve Miller band. I remember one night where a very odd girl took him home. The next day, he told me she had nine cats, was into some weird stuff, and if I saw her again don’t tell her where am. I, of course, was incredibly jealous. I think that’s the moment when I decided I had to learn to play guitar. I have a band now, but I’m still waiting for the groupies.

But I got to see almost everyone close up – the club was a small one, just like any small club today, and the light booth was maybe twenty feet from the stage. Big Brother, Quicksilver, The Sopwith Camel (fairly obscure, but I remember them bringing in a brand new 45 of their latest, Postcard From Jamaica, and raving about the bassline the bass player had come up with. I never saw the Dead there. And out of town bands, Otis Rush (A great Chicago bluesman) The Chambers Brothers (four impressive black dudes with a wimpy looking white kid who looked like a high school or college student playing drums. He looked totally out of place – until he started playing. He was the best soul/rock drummer I’d ever heard.)

But the highlight (although I didn’t realize it at the time) was when an newish LA band came to play for a few nights. There had been some buzz about them and I’d heard their album, but they weren’t part of the SF music scene, so I wasn’t particularly impressed. Some group called The Doors.

Actually, I thought they were pretty good. Until they played a song called “The End.” I lowered the lights until there was just a dark red spot on the lead singer, and then I forgot I was supposed to be working.

Jim Morrison was the most intense, compelling and charismatic person I’d ever seen. You couldn’t take your eyes off him. When he was singing The End, it scared me half to death. (Remember, I was twenty feet away.) There’s a reason he became a rock god, and it was more about that charisma than anything about music.

After the show, a guy walked right up to him and said. “You’re the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen. I want to suck your cock.” Morrison never even acknowledged his existence, just continued walking up to the bar. I have a feeling he got a lot of that."

08-24-2010, 09:55 AM
[QUOTE=DeleyanLee;5247260]The family phone sat in the hall and calls were expensive, short and overheard.

Ah - that reminded me. Our phone was a party line until the late 60s - I actually remember when we no longer had to listen to see if the phone was free (or worry about the neighbors listening in!). And trying to remember that our number changed from "DIamond 6" to "346". AND our first pushbutton phone (not rotary dial).

Fun times.

08-24-2010, 02:01 PM
It was pretty much the same, except you had to dump somebody over the phone instead of texting them.

08-28-2010, 07:23 AM
johnnysannie and I had the same teenage years it seems. I went from a fairly large public elementary/middle school (middle school was a new concept) to a small co-ed Catholic school. A bit of a culture shock there in terms of cliquishness since those kids had all been together at the Catholic grade schools in the neighborhood since kindergarten.

With no cable TV, Internet or video games most fun was had at school sports events and weekly school dances and trying to get in to R-rated movies at 14 & 15. Spent a lot of time at the library and listening to music on the stereo. Still have a slew of the records too.

Hand held hairdryers so common now were New and OMG so cool! Anyone else have a Super Max dryer (http://www.partsofsw.com/images/suprmax.jpg)? How about Earth Shoes (https://www.dressthatman.com/pics/acce/acce128.jpg)?

Oh and I forgot. There was the occasional "territorial" fighting between kids from different neighborhoods.(kinda like West Side Story without the choreography) And it was literal fist fighting no 9mm drivebys.

09-15-2010, 08:01 AM
I'm writing a YA contemporary with a duo narrative where the male POV lives in the early 70s and the female POV lives in the present day.

Interesting! I'm subbing a women's lit where the male POV is in the present, and the female POV is in 1974.

I was 16 in 1974 so I remember a lot of the same stuff my colleagues do. I think David Bowie was rising in popularity, and disco hadn't reared its ugly head yet.

I seem to remember a lot of army surplus clothing among the guys. Hair was long, short and everything between. Shags were in, mullets weren't on the scene yet.

Aviator sunglasses were very popular, probably because of the Vietnam War.

Good luck with your novel!

Jill Karg
09-15-2010, 05:07 PM
I graduated in 1983.

Main thing I remember about the 70's (older sister's generation) was the uniqueness of it.

Buy America, bicential 76 was huge. Outsourcing was just starting. We lived in the rust belt. Which was the steel towns of Northeastern Ohio and PA. Most of the steel industry closed down shop by late 70's.

My dad was a railroader. We saw him take jobs in Cleveland afternoon term(an hour away) and he started making weekly train trips to detriot. He would leave on Monday be back on Early morning Thursday. It was tough on entire family.

There were a ton of gadgets. From pet rocks, mood rings (mine was always black or deep purple), There was a flip board that had the saying of the day (like sit on it, up your nose with rubber hose) that you would use in the passenger seat or back seat to talk to the other cars and express your true feelings. CB radios were popular with handles like farmboy. Remember the distinct sound of the crackling and constant noise of it. Until someone would could across it asking for a cop check using a code I can't remember and the term 10/4 good buddy was very popular.

Steve Martin "Wild and Crazy Guy and King Tut" was extremely popular so was Saturday Night Live (orginal cast) and Johnny Carson. Starkey and Hutch, Mob Squad, Adam 12, Mork and Mindy with Robin Williams, Happy Days, Little House, and Waltons. If I heard "Night Jimbob, Night Erin night Johnboy" and light fades out in window one more time I think I would barf. What was with that ugly mole on johnboy's face. lol.

Mom wouldn't let us watch One Day at Time for three shows until she said it was ok. Parents like today's parent's with internet were vilgilent of morals and what kids watched.

Cable TV started breaking down those walls. MTV (the real MTV) helped out.

We were one of the first house that had a microwave. Remember Mom used it to reheat dinner (leftovers) and coffee. McDonalds and Burger King was actually considered more healthy then they are today.

Music my sister listened to: Bread, Bay City Rollers, The Band, Heart, Tom Petty, Fletwood Mac, Wings, Elton John, David Bowie, Eagles, Commodores, Captain and Taneal (sp), Sonny and Cher, David Cassady, Jackson Five, Osmonds. Eight Track tapes and LP's were extremely popular.

Her wardrobe: Lots and Lots of jeans, tattered, bell bottoms, elephant bells (three times the size of bell bottoms), jean purses, clanking braclets, earth shoes, stellot heals, platform shoes, plaids (ton of weird plaids), straight hair (sister had her hair straightened), long hair (Farah look) or if you cut your hair it was short bobs (dorthy cut).

Portable anything was popular. Little radios, headphones (that made you look like Star Wars' Princess Leia), jukeboxes that you carried on your shoulder (massive things). Rollar skates.

Well hope that helps. lol