1979, one of my favorite years, immortalized in the video below. Billy Corgan grew up in suburban Chicago, and must of had a similar experience as I. The end of a crazy decade, the end of disco, the approaching end of innocence.
I grew up in Denver, and video’s just like I remember: We just got our driver’s licenses, driving around, going to parties, swimming in rich people’s pools (then throwing their deck furniture into the pool), T-P’ing houses of “dorks”, trying to get people to buy us beer outside the convenience store, generally raising hell as much as possible.
It was a simpler time. Fake ID’s used to work. You could have parties underage, and the police would just tell you to go home (and not send in the SWAT team). People seemed much more relaxed. It seemed like such a free and fun time. No cell phones or internet, cable was just getting started. Kids still used to play outside; parents let their kids go out at night and have fun (and get into trouble). People seemed cooler, and they were; less uptight and angry. Maybe our brains just filter out all the bad stuff, and we only remember to good. Well, so be it. Happy 1979!
Factoids from 1979:
February 1: Convicted bank robber Patty Hearst is released from prison after her sentence is commuted by U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
February 2: Former Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious is found dead aged 21 of a heroin overdose in New York City, the day after being released from a 55-day sentence at Rikers Island prison on bail.
February 18 – The Sahara Desert experiences snow for 30 minutes.
March 8 – Philips demonstrates Compact Disc publicly for the first time.
March 25 – The first fully functional space shuttle orbiter, Columbia, is delivered to the John F. Kennedy Space Center, to be prepared for its first launch.
April 1- Iran’s government becomes an Islamic Republic by a 98% vote, overthrowing the Shah officially.
April 20 – President Jimmy Carter is attacked by a swamp rabbit while fishing in his hometown of Plains, Georgia, USA.
May 9- A Unabomber bomb injures Northwestern University graduate student John Harris.
May 25-American Airlines Flight 191: In Chicago, a DC-10 crashes during takeoff at O’Hare International Airport, killing all 271 on board and 2 people on the ground in the deadliest aviation accident in U. S. history.
July 8 – Los Angeles passes its gay and lesbian civil rights bill.
July 11 – NASA’s first orbiting space station Skylab begins its return to Earth, after being in orbit for 6 years and 2 months
August 10 – Michael Jackson releases his breakthrough album Off the Wall. It sells 7 million copies in the United States alone, making it a 7x platinum album.
September 7 – The first cable sports channel, ESPN, known as the Entertainment Sports Programming Network, is launched.
October 17 – The Pittsburgh Pirates defeat the Baltimore Orioles in Game 7 of the World Series. Willie Stargell is named the Series MVP.
November 3 – In Greensboro, North Carolina, 5 members of the Communist Workers Party are shot to death and 7 are wounded by a group of Klansmen and neo-Nazis, during a “Death to the Klan” rally.
November 4 – Iran hostage crisis begins: 3,000 Iranian radicals, mostly students, invade the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and take 90 hostages (53 of whom are American). They demand that the United States send the former Shah of Iran back to stand trial.
December 3- Eleven fans are killed during a crowd crush for unreserved seats before The Who rock concert at the Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati, Ohio.
December 6 – The world premiere for Star Trek: The Motion Picture is held at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
December 24- The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan, and Babrak Karmal replaces overthrown and executed President Hafizullah Amin which begins the war.
Occurred in 1979 (dates unknown):
The One Child Policy is introduced in China – it has since prevented about 400 million births.
VisiCalc becomes the first commercial spreadsheet program.
The first usenet experiments are conducted by Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis of Duke University.
Worldwide per capita oil production reaches a historic peak.
McDonald’s introduces the Happy Meal in June.
Lego’s golden age begins.
Chrysler receives government loan guarantees upon the request of CEO Lee Iacocca.
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