Facts about 1970 – The Year of “The Cowboy”

  • World population in 1970: 3.6 billion, less than half the 2020 population.
  • There was such a thing as tube furniture.
  • In sports: NBA rookie of the year is a Milwaukee Buck then known as Lew Alcindor, Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

  • A gallon of gas in the US costs 36 cents. Median household income in the USA is $8,634.
  • In Rock & Roll: The Beatles release their last album and announce the break-up of the band. (“Let it Be” was the last album released, but “Abbey Road” was the last one recorded.)

  • On April 30, President Nixon announces the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia.
  • Also in sports: The Baltimore Orioles win the World Series. Brooks Robinson is World Series MVP.
  • The first Earth Day is celebrated.
  • Apollo 13 is aborted, but all three astronauts return to earth safely.
  • 9 students are injured and 4 are killed by National Guardsmen at Kent State University on May 4.
  • The Jesus Movement is changing things as many in the counterculture find a home. Christian communes spring up throughout California, and services held at Calvary Chapel in a tent in Costa Mesa overflow with hippies, surfers, and others looking for answers.

  • Also in Rock & Roll: We lose Hendrix & Joplin.
  • The National League of POW/MIA Families is formed by families who believe that the US Government is unjustified in its policy of maintaining a low profile on the POW/MIA issue while urging family members to refrain from publicly discussing the problem.

  • In fiction, Ernest Hemingway’s Islands in the Stream is published posthumously but is outsold by Love Story by Erich Segal and The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles.
  • Top selling car in America: The Ford Galaxie 500 Series. (A two-month United Auto Workers strike against General Motors in 1970 cost Chevrolet over 250,000 Impala sales.)

  • Also in sports: The Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup. Bobby Orr is the finals MVP.
  • On Television, Monday Night Football premiers on ABC. The series I Dream of Jeannie ends.
  • In film, Airport grossed the most at the box office. Patton won best picture. Other notable films: M*A*S*H and Catch-22.

  • Also in Rock & Roll: “Bridge over Troubled Water” is released, Simon & Garfunkel’s last album, and they break up. Other notable albums: “After the Gold Rush,” Neil Young; “Morrison Hotel,” The Doors; “Live at Leeds,” The Who; “Moondance,” Van Morrison;
  • In R&B, 3 of the top 4 songs in 1970 were by the Jackson Five: The Love You SaveI Want You Back, and ABC. What was the fourth? Tears of a Clown by Smokey Robinson.
  • At the end of 1970, U.S. Military personnel in Vietnam total 334,600. Fatal casualties of US personnel during the year: 6,173 (down from 11,780 in 1969).
  • In non-fiction, Dee Brown’s Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee is released, presenting westward expansion from the viewpoint of Native Americans. The NYT best-seller for most of the year is Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (But Were Afraid to Ask) by David Reuben.
  • Also in sports: The NFL merges with the fledgling AFL and two NFL conferences are created, the NFC and AFC.

Read about Bobby’s experiences in 1970 in The Cowboy.