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1970’s music and cars

As I cook up a storm today for our 1970’s Progressive Dinner, I am listening to music from the decade of my youth. Let’s see, in 1970, I was in 3rd grade and by the end of the decade, in 1979, I was graduating from Saguaro High School.

The ’70’s were not ALL disco, as most people seem to think. In fact, disco didn’t hit it really big until the end of ’75 (Donna Summers’ Love to Love You Baby) and early ’76 (Disco Inferno by The Trammps)

Here is a list of the number 1 songs from each year. As you can see there’s a mix of good old rock and roll, rhythm and blues, disco, and even a little reggae.

1970 – Layla by Derek and the Dominos
1971 – Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin
1972 – Superstition by Stevie Wonder
1973 – Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd
1974 – No Woman, No Cry by Bob Marley and the Wailers
1975 – Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
1976 – Hotel California by The Eagles
1977 – Stayin’ Alive by The Bee Gees
1978 – I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor
1979 – Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2 by Pink Floyd

As a teen, the number one place to listen to music was in your car. I learned to drive in my parents’ maroon Ford Granada. I was not kind to that car for the two years I “shared” it with my mom. I recall accidentally breaking, ripping, or generally damaging several parts and pieces of the interior, using it while driving friends around in our infamous “orange fights” (don’t ask!), and pretty much abusing it, as teens tend to do.

I was working at the now-defunct Handyman Hardware chain, trying to save up to buy a car of my own. It was early October in 1978 and I was listening to my favorite Top-40 radio station, KOPA-FM 100.7, while getting ready for school one Monday morning. The station had this contest called the Ellery Queen Minute Mysteries. I called in to give my answer to the mystery and was correct! My name was placed in a drawing to be held that Friday afternoon. The prize? $1,000!!! To a teen in 1978, one thousand dollars may as well have been $10,000 – it was a lot of money.

On October 20, the day of the drawing, I was at work and couldn’t listen to the radio, but the guys in the warehouse had the radio on and were the ones who told me I’d won. When the radio station called my house, my mom answered and she and my sister were heard screaming in the background. The station used that audio as a promo and played it for weeks on end. It was a big deal at school too. Yeah, check out the article from The Sabercat, our school newspaper.

When I went down to pick up my check the following Monday, they learned that I was not yet 18, and made me wait the four days until my birthday on the 27th. As traumatic as that was (everything is a drama when you’re a teen!) I survived and bought my first car…. a used yellow Oldsmobile Cutless Supreme.

Similar to the one in the photo, but not all souped-up… no racing package. I drove fast enough as it was, my dad would not have gone for that!

Oh how I loved that car, but it was sadly in a collision late one evening, about 5 months later. Miraculously, it was not my lead foot that caused the accident, the other guy (a recent Saguaro grad, as fate, would have it), ran the red light. I spun around a couple of times at the intersection of Hayden and Indian School and smashed into the light pole. I was hysterical but fine, and my first car was totaled. 

Of course, I’d had the taste of my own car and wasn’t going back to driving the Granada, so I took out a loan and bought a used blue Chevy Nova. The Nova and I were together a long time, driving around, listening to 8-tracks of disco and rock and roll!

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1 Sloane { 03.30.12 at 11:15 AM }

OMG, that is brining back memories…I remember the phone on the wall in the kitchen with the 1,000 foot cord attached to it!

2 Ronnie Jaap { 03.30.12 at 1:39 PM }

Ah yes . . . Disco. . . I remember the exact moment when Disco walked into my fav pub in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, after a live music set of Rock N Roll, that my friends and I had just danced to. Someone hung up a disco ball, a DJ plugged in and the “Tamatahs” were out on the dance floor in their Quiana dresses, platform shoes with all of the John Travolta look-alikes . . . staying alive!

3 Nancy { 03.30.12 at 8:06 PM }

Brilliant…I’ve known you so many decades and still did not know (or hell, remember) about the BIG $1K WINNER you were, though I did recall the hardware gig! What a funny and endearing post about life, cars,disco, 8 track players, screaming family members and a student who “just happened to be home from school one day” …”doing nothing” and the school reports it in their paper…what a fun and endearing thing! xoxo

4 Linda Hopkins { 03.30.12 at 9:48 PM }

So funny, you three ladies! Nancy, my favorite part of that article is this quote, “People jokingly ask to borrow a hundred dollars, but other than that people treat me just about the same.” OMG, hilarious. Now I’m going to go check my Mega Millions ticket… if I win that, we’ll see how they like me now! 🙂

5 dagmar { 03.30.12 at 11:36 PM }

Wonderful post as always… great info on the 70’s!!! and winning back in 1978… no need to win the mega (far out…dream on…can you dig it!) Have a great 70’s dinner! xox

6 peggy { 03.31.12 at 8:39 AM }

Wow, does that bring back memories. KOPA, Ellery Queen Mystery, 8-track, Handyman Hardware store, Chevy Nova, Saguaro High… Thanks Linda, that was a fun read.

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