My Seventies

Ooh, there was a real nostalgia fest on television the other night! For anyone who didn’t see it, ITV showed a fabulous programme called The Nation’s Favourite 70s Number One. slade_promo_470x394

My Fabrian friend, Sarah Lewis, is an eighties aficionado. She apparently lives and breathes the decade of shoulder pads and big hair. You can read more about her obsession here. But then, Sarah is obviously younger than me. During the eighties, instead of working out in fluorescent leg warmers, or strutting my stuff in a ra-ra skirt with half a can of hairspray keeping my Bananarama ‘do’ in place, I was up to my eyes in nappies, Cow & Gate, and Johnson’s baby powder.  Not for me the delights of the New Romantics. I didn’t have time to read up on Duran Duran or Spandau Ballet. Instead, I could be found flicking through the latest Mothercare catalogue. Not quite the same thing.

Marc_Bolan-T-Rex-20th_Century_Boy_The_Ultimate_Collection-BookletSo you see, for me, the real decade of delight has always been the seventies, and the programme on Thursday night reminded me of how fabulous it really was. As I wallowed in nostalgia, singing along to Cum on Feel the Noize by Slade,  feeling all emotional to I’m Not in Love by 10cc, and going all gooey at the glimpse of a fresh-faced Donny Osmond, romantic hero David Essex, and pretty-boy but super-cool Marc Bolan, I was right there, and oh boy, did I feel the pain of loss, knowing it was all gone forever.

As I soaked up the fabulous hits that were featured in the show, I was back in the moment when I first heard them. In my best friend’s front room, playing Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush, over and over again, marvelling at the amazing vocals and the glorious music.images (5)

In the garden, during the long, hot summer of 1976 that seemed to go on forever, listening to Don’t Go Breaking My Heart by Elton John and Kiki Dee, gulping down lemonade and wondering if the drought was ever going to end; dancing round the living room with my sister to Dancing Queen by Abba. Can anyone hear that song and not want to dance?

f33bcc7ea1fcdb9f4f33c6e0f2c6f4acIn my bedroom, with my Dansette record player and my pile of Jackie magazines, surrounded by posters of the Osmonds, or later, recording the American Top 40 on Radio One, with Paul Gambaccini, dancing and singing to Night Fever by The Bee Gees, gazing in adoration at my posters of John Travolta.

Experimenting with make-up. Wondering if I dared bleach my hair blonde. Wondering if I could ever, in a million years, be as cool and beautiful as Debbie Harry. Er, no – not even with plastic surgery! blondie_2_1342814793

I was seven when the seventies began. I barely knew what music was. I only really heard the songs of the fifties and sixties which my mum played over and over again. There was a lot of Jim Reeves and Elvis and Dusty Springfield. Pop music was something other people mentioned. I had a vague notion of The Beatles but I wasn’t really familiar with them. It was around 1972 when I suddenly took notice of an angelic sounding boy with big brown eyes and a dazzling smile. Donny Osmond had arrived, and from that moment on, my world changed. Suddenly I was watching Top of the Pops, listening to Radio One, buying Jackie and nagging my parents for my very own record player. I was captivated by glam rock. I loved the humour and good fun of bands like Sweet, Slade and Wizzard. The costumes and the hair, the over-the-top make-up, the obvious sense that they weren’t taking themselves too seriously. The music was fantastic. See My Baby Jive was so good I played it over and over again. My mum didn’t complain. She thought it was fantastic, too.

AbbaTheMovie_GBQBy the time nineteen-seventy-nine ended, I was seventeen, wore the latest fashions, had dyed my hair blonde, and had already met the man the man I would marry. I had moved on from the Osmonds (although I still have a soft spot for them) and left the days of glam rock behind. I had gone through the whole disco craze, revelling in the pulsating beats of hits like Donna Summer’s I Feel Love. I had queued at the cinema for ages to see Abba: The Movie, and then just a year or so later, Saturday Night Fever and Grease. I’d tried to figure out punk, but never quite succeeded. I’d decided Blondie were as New Wave as I wanted to go. Life was changing. The fun days of the glam rock stars was over. Life was getting serious again and so was music.

As Alice Cooper had put it, ‘School’s Out‘, and so it was. Not just for summer, but for good. Time to grow up. Be responsible. Pack my childhood away.

David-Essex-in-the-mid-1970sThe seventies, to me, is the decade when I went from being a little girl to a young adult. The songs of the seventies are the soundtrack of my life – or at least, the most carefree and fun-filled time of my life.  Hard not to feel a lump in my throat as I watched that programme, thinking how I’d give anything for just one day back in that bedroom, with my Dansette record player and my magazines and posters, my sister outside playing in the garden, my little brother annoying me as ever, my mum in the kitchen preparing the evening meal, and knowing my dad was on his way home from work – well and safe. Mum would shout that our tea was nearly ready, and we’d all grumble that we were busy and why did we have to eat at the table when we could be watching Scooby Doo on the television/listening to music/reading. She took no notice. Dad would come home, get washed, and we’d all sit together at the kitchen table, eating a simple meal and discussing our day. I wish I’d known how lucky I was, and I would give anything to have just one more of those perfect seventies’ days.

Ah well, back to reality and 2015. It was lovely to wallow in nostalgia for a while.

On the other hand, why do I have to come back just yet?  I’m off to buy the album!

Have a great week xx

10 thoughts on “My Seventies

  1. I remember youth cults! Mine were a decade earlier in the hippie zone and were great fun! Youth is wasted on the young! xx

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  2. What a great article, Sharon! It doesn’t matter if it’s Slade or Spandau Ballet, you can’t beat the songs of your youth for transporting you back in time. My aunty, who’s ten years older than me, lived with my family for part of the Seventies, and I can remember teetering around precariously in her platform shoes (which were several sizes too big for me), and making up dance routines to Bay City Roller songs!
    The drought of ’76 has had far reaching effects on me. I was five at the time, and can remember having it drummed into me not to waste water. One way was to turn off the tap, when brushing my teeth. To this day, I still can’t have the water running when I brush my teeth!!

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    • Thanks, Sarah. You’re right about the drought. I can’t leave the tap running when brushing my teeth, either! How funny! I had an aunt who was eight years older than me, who was very cool and trendy. She shopped in Chelsea Girl which seemed to me the height of chic. She gave me a pair of her platform shoes and I tottered around on them, feeling very glamorous and gorgeous 🙂 Ah, the days of tartan scarves and baseball boots, twin sets and tweed skirts (yes, really!), Oxford bags, thick waistband trousers with six buttons to fasten, ponchos, tie-belt jackets, flares, tank tops, smock tops and cheesecloth. Hmm, not everything about the seventies was great, obviously, but boy those were fun days for me! What a great time to be young. Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting x

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  3. I am catholic in my tastes and though my first heroes were the Beatles, and although I was n’t the right demographic, I embraced glam rock too – Bowie, Bolan, David Essex (although he wasn’t particularly glam, he was definitely cute) et al. I remember going to parties with coloured streaks in my hair (done with artists ink) and stars stuck on my cheeks with eyelash glue. I wanted to be Debbie Harry. I could take or leave punk. Great article. gx

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    • David Essex was gorgeous – all dark curls and big blue eyes and dimples. I was too young to fully appreciate his looks, or those of Marc Bolan, at the time. Looking back, I wonder how I missed it! But then, I was too absorbed in the younger Osmond brothers, Donny and Jimmy, who were much closer to my own age. I remember wearing Miners make-up – denim blue eyeshadow and kohl eyeliner. I loved the look and taste of cherry flavoured lip gloss. My boyfriend at the time rather liked it, too! 😉 I wanted to be Debbie Harry or Agnetha from Abba, but I didn’t have a hope. Punk was never to my taste, either. I think Siouxie and the Banshees was the closest I got to listening to it. Thank you very much for dropping by and leaving a comment. x

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  4. Hi Sharon, lovely musical journey through your influential years. I think age has a lot to do with it. I ended the seventies aged 8 so am more of an 80s person myself. I do, however, still adore Abba. My dad used to work in the far east a lot and he’d bring back bags of cassettes at 50p a piece. He’d tip them out on the lounge floor and we could help ourselves. My tastes back then were Abba, Showaddywaddy (may have spelt that wrong), Boney M, Brotherhood of Man and The Dooleys. That’s some serious cheese! I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with disco. I’m quite happy to dance to it if I’m out (which these days is pretty much never) but I don’t enjoy it just to listen to. Not sure why. I actually think I prefer 60s music to 70s and I wasn’t even a twinkle in my dad’s eye back then! xx

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  5. I’ve always loved seventies music, Jessica, probably because I associate it with so much fun, and happy, carefree days with my family.
    Ah, cassettes! The frustration of twirling the middle bits round with a pencil to tighten the tape, and the horror when one got tangled up in the tape recorder and all your favourite songs were lost.
    Gosh, I remember Showaddywaddy! Great fun. And Boney M were fab. My mum’s claim to fame is that she got on stage and sang with The Dooleys when they played at a local club. I’ve heard that story for nearly forty years. Forty years! God, I feel so old…

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  6. Great stuff! I was 11 in 1970, and those few years mean I had slightly different 1970s memories from you; my teenage school years were all about Deep Purple, Mott The Hoople, Pink Floyd, Bad Company, Rick Wakeman and Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, etc; in 1975/6 I was the teenager with long wavy hair parted in the middle, big flared jeans and afghan!!! I’ve got so many memories of the bands I went to see in the 1970s, but being a teenager I did also love a fair bit of the pop stuff – AND I tried so hard to look like Kate Bush, who was just a year older than me. By the end of the 70s I was 20; I was (I tried to convince myself!!) an alternative Kate, while my tall and gorgeous friend did Debbie Harry – who was still the most beautiful woman EVER, I think!

    I loved this post, such a terrific memory of the times, and it brought back things I’d forgotten.

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    • Ah, you were one of the cool teenagers! Weren’t they fabulous years? What a great decade. I’m very glad I brought back some happy memories for you, Terry. Thanks very much for dropping by and commenting.

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