The Year Was 1979


I was born in September of 1979 and thought it might be fun to highlight some of the events during the year I had no idea it was. I'll try to stay away from the bigger main news stories where I can such as the gas "shortage" and the Iran Hostages but they were pretty big so I might skim them. But lets delve into the last year my dad had to put up with Jimmy Carter.

The Pittsburgh Pirates won the World Series. The Steelers under Terry Bradshaw won Super Bowl XIII and the cost of a Superbowl ad in 1979 was $185,000. ($608,860.79 nowadays) The cost of an Ad for 2017 was 5 million which shows just how much ($$) time has changed.

A large number of Swedish people were calling sick with a 'case of being homosexual' as protest to homosexuality being labeled an illness. Although homosexuality was legalized in Sweden in 1944, in 1979 it was still classified as a mental illness. (Could you imagine being the Boss and getting ten calls from employees saying "I can't make it to work. I'm feeling just a little bit gay today.") The law was quickly changed by October.

Anna Williams received a bizarre poem lamenting her absence from her home on the night of April 28th, 1979, From the serial killer, BTK, who had been waiting in her bedroom closet that night. If that man had left me a note like that after hiding in my closet I would burn down my house and move 20 times! Changing my name every time I moved.

The Sony Walkman cassette/radio was released and sold for $200.00. ($658.00 in today's money.) I don't love any family member enough to give them an almost $700 Christmas present like that. Yet they still sold out. Along with the first Atari and Speak n' Spell.

On 9/22/1979 there was an unidentified nuclear explosion in the Indian Ocean, and it is known as the Vela Incident. This happened long before social media and modern cell phones existed but it only seemed to freak out the major Governments of the day. No nations admitted responsibility for the covert test, but intelligence reports indicated that the most probable perpetrator was Israel, possibly working in cooperation with South Africa. Still there are so many other theories that no normal person could know what really happened. Maybe when the all the report findings are declassified.

ABC had 8 out of 10 of the most popular shows on TV including M.A.S.H., The Jefferson's and Three's Company. According to the creators of these shows:

M.A.S.H. was a statement on the Vietnam war even though it took place during the Korea war.

The Jefferson's were created after the Black Panthers complained about "Good Times" just promoting the notion that black people could only be poor.

And Three's Company was just total T&A programming.

Etan Patz was the first missing child to have their picture on milk carton in 1979 and that the murderer Pedro Hernandez wasn't caught till 2012.


The year started out with Chic's "Le Freak" topping the music charts. In September I was born to The Knack's "My Sharona" as the #1 song but the year ended with Rupert Holmes' "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" as #1. People got Freaky then became obsessed and finally just had a drink.

Walking while listening to tapes on your Sony Walkman and wearing a LaCoste Preppies shirt with the famous alligator on the left side was the big fashion statement of the year. Based on that pic even I'm annoyed by Preppies.


The #1 movie of the year was Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Which might explain why I'm a Trekkie and the start of the Borg.

Nickelodeon and ESPN both launched in '79. Initial programming on Nickelodeon included Video Comic Book, PopClips, Hocus Focus, Pinwheel (which was reformatted as a daily hour-long series that ran in a three- to five-hour block format, and was a precursor to the Nick Jr. block that replaced it in 1988).

ESPN first aired with SportsCenter and the first score announced was Chris Evert's victory over Billie Jean King at the US Open. SportsCenter lasted a half-hour, consisting mainly of videotaped highlights. Following the conclusion of the telecast, the network aired a slow-pitch softball game along with other programming, including wrestling and college soccer. It was really just a collection of odd sporting events that never got coverage by the nightly news, plus SportsCenter.

Time Magazine's Man of the Year: Ayatollah Khomeini

A politically active Shi'ite cleric, Khomeini was an outspoken critic of the Shah of Iran's Western-influenced policies and was exiled to Iraq for 14 years before moving to France, where he continued his opposition. By January 1979, public anger with the Shah caused him to flee, and a month later Khomeini returned from exile. By April he had established a theocracy based on strict adherence to Islamic law, with the U.S. as Iran's greatest enemy.

With his support, students seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979, and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. They weren't released until President Carter was officially out of office. (They loathed Carter.)


Gas went from $0.38 a gallon to $0.84 a gallon. ($1.37 to $3.02) when the average working person made $2.90 per hour. For the second time since 1973 people wasted more gas while idling in long lines at the pump than they did in their daily commute. The cost of the long war in Vietnam and tensions in the middle east lead to the price increases in oil across the globe. Still the majority of Americans thought it was corporate greed and were completely pissed.

The First modern Bungee Jumping performed by a group from the Oxford University Dangerous Sports club jumped from the Clifton Suspension Bridge joining England and Wales. Having jumped myself from a tower when I was 18, I can say I still blame these guys. Here's a tip: Don't jump stoned and make sure the guy assisting isn't a comedian. Because on the way down all I heard was "DIDN'T... CHECK...ROPE!" Which lead to the second time I punched out a guy.

In all I look at the Seventies as a very Intense Decade. From Movies to Music and Scandals to Serial Killers emotions ran hot. I'm surprised my parents didn't snap in all the commotion let alone have another kid. Even an Awesome Kid like me!

Anyways I hope you enjoyed it and would love to see you all write takes on your birth years or in the comments below.


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Most Helpful Girl

  • I remember 1979 very much... I discovered boys that year!! Great Take

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Most Helpful Guy

  • 6d

    Speaking as a man who was a child of the 1970's, I can tell you youngsters that you would NOT want to have lived at that time.

    From a kid's perspective, it was a pretty bad time overall. The 1970′s were a time of economic, cultural, and political decay, with the Soviet Empire seeming to take over more and more of the world, and *nothing* going right here at home. The zeitgeist of the times was one of unrelenting doom and gloom, and the future just seemed to us smaller kids to be nothing but shortages, rationing, and price inflation (you could watch your allowance money just lose value as prices for kid stuff rose year by year and even seemingly month by month).

    Movies and TV of the time were mostly futures of doom and gloom (Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green, Logan's Run, Silent Running), natural and sometimes man-made disasters (Earthquake, The Towering Inferno, The Posideon Adventure, even movies about killer animals) outlaw anti-heroes (Vanishing Point, countless outlaw truckers vs. corrupt rural sherriffs), or nostalgia for the 1950's and early 1960's, when the future still looked bright (American Graffitti, Happy Days).

    Maybe that was why "Star Wars" was so appealing to kids--World War Two-ish good vs. evil, yet set in outer space. Harrison Ford later appearing in "Raiders of the Lost Ark", a throwback to the 1930's and 1940's, with Nazi villians, underscored that theme.

    Meanwhile, so many of our parents were divorcing and going off on very odd tangents. I remember asking my parents who still stayed together about a friend who had a "mom's boyfriend", and what did that exactly mean ("Is it like a Dad?", I asked. "Not quite...", my parents awkwardly explained).

    I also remember so many parents, coaches, teachers wearing T-Shirts with subtle sexual innuendo, like "(certain occupational people) do it (a certain way)". For example "Bankers do it with interest", or "Nurses do it with care".

    It was a messed up time to be a kid.

    A good time capsule from the era if you want to understand a kid's perspective, was "The Bad News Bears" (1976), with Walter Matthau, NOT the Billy Bob Thornton remake.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-u4z-gJ6-0

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    • 6d

      Ran out of room; to elaborate further:

      The 1970's were a decade of bad ecnomics--fuel rationing, wage and price controls. Loss of national prestige. No matter how badly thought out intervention in Indochina was, the USA abandoned the South Vietnamese, who were promptly conquered by the North, resulting in millions the fate of "boat people", "killing fields", and "reeducation camps". The World looked and saw a country unwilling to honor its agreements.

      It was a decade that saw basic industries contract, shut down and when offshoring began in earnest. High inflation coupled with high unemployment and declining GDP combined to erode the standard of living. Interest rates approached 20% for houses and cars. There were serial recessions throughout the decade.

      Watergate eroded trust in the government which continues today.

      Not rosy as others have painted it.

Join the discussion

What Girls Said 7

  • Interesting Take

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  • Ahhhh very good!

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  • Loved it! Really nicely put together. =)

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  • That was really good. I’ll look up ‘90 and get back to you.
    Ps, I LOVE the Pina Colada song!

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  • 7d

    Loved this! I WISH I was a kid in the 70's... great music, great fashion, not much technology.. I'll just keep jammin out to Fleetwood Mac I guess!

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  • neat ! that little alligator...

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  • interesting

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What Guys Said 12

  • It was 24 years old in 1979, It was a tumultuous year! It was the year in which I first lived together with a girl.

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  • I was born in June 1979. I got to experience all of the eighties (although I was only a toddler from 1980 to 1983) and nineties (as an adolescent and teenager). The music, movies, and TV shows were the best ever made. The internet was a lot better, at least in some respects, in 96 an 97 than it is now. I don't miss the vast majority of interpersonal experiences I had in those decades, but I do miss the culture, pop culture, and the good times. I also miss the dollar having more value, to where a person could make $30,000 to $40,000 a year and be middle class and afford to support themselves very nicely. The cost of everything has gone up tremendously, but sadly the wages have only gone up a little.

    Simultaneously things haven't changed that much, and yet they have changed dramatically. I still have long hair, which every guy had in the nineties, and now I really stand out from a crowd. I also wear black leather trenchcoats, and what used to be a cool accessory that badasses like Connor and Duncan MacLeod, Sting, and Edge wore, sadly became taboo in 1999 when the Columbine Massacre took place. I wore them in high school back in 96 and 97, and still do wear them as a 38 year old that looks younger than his age that doesn't face much peer pressure, but if I were a teenager today, I would probably think twice about doing so. I used to wear Timberland boots in the nineties, back when they were just cool steel toed boots for rugged white guys to wear, but if I were to wear them these days, I would probably get mistaken for a wigger, and some SJW would accuse me of "culturally appropriating black culture" even though blacks stole them from working-class white people. Rock music is dead, metal is dead and has been replaced with lame shit like metalcore, deathcore, and emo, and popular music is nothing but very, very shitty (c) rap music, R&B, and pop. Every girl below the age of 40 is bisexual, there are immigrants everywhere, blacks seem to make up 90 percent of the actors on TV and in movies (and are probably quite literally that percentage of musical artists on the radio), the world wide web isn't as creative and original as it used to be with personal websites being replaced with stupid tweets and Instagram posts, and America is a just a gay multicult nightmare now. I really fucking hate modern American culture, and modern America in general. At least I've got youtube and Dailymotion...

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  • 5d

    I remember a lot of that time period, Atari had space invaders as their first game cartridge that me and brother kept playing. I saw that Star Trek movie in the theaters, it was quite a good movie at the time, just like when I saw Star Wars in 1977 in the theatre

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  • Wasbt the btk only caught recently, also your a trekkie? I'm the son of two trekkies but my sister and I are star wars fanboys or fangirlin my sister's case, my brother doesn't like either

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    • BTK had a 17 year run. Trekkie over Star Wars. My older brother always over played Star Wars
      on the VCR. So I grew up disliking it. My parents let me watch Trek because I always laughed at what McCoy said. It made them laugh.

    • my mom likes Voyager...

    • So BTK was only caught in 2005 well after his run tended

  • I was a wide eyed 10 year old so was quite surprised to go I remember that to a few of the events in your take but in the end I went back to a typical guy, my first memory that came to mind was a sports one, my favourite soccer team were 2-1 in the final with five minutes to go and we ended up losing 3-2 but I am sure lots of other important stuff happened.

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  • I remember 1979 very well...

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  • Interesting

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  • Very interesting

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  • I was born Oct 16 '79

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  • 7d

    It was year 1979 and the world was technologically antient. Let's all be glad for the progress, which society has make, and let's work together for better future.

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