Friday, April 18, 2014

Observation — 1979, Disco Definitely Not Over

Andy Warhol''s Magazine With Capote Cover
In 1979, The Shah of Iran yielded to demands that he turn over power to the Ayatollah Khomeini. The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Mother Teresa. Margaret Thatcher became the British P.M. The Soviets foolishly invaded Afghanistan. The good news was that Cambodian insurgents, backed by the Vietnamese, overthrew the evil Pol Pot. The Three-Mile Island incident didn’t help nuclear power proponents. The scandal of the year was Nelson Rockefeller’s death.  Heir to a legendary family fortune, former governor of New York and Gerald Ford’s first vice president, Rockefeller died during an intimate interlude with his assistant. Rockefeller was 70.  His assistant was 25.  An attempted cover-up — “just a business meeting “ — failed.  Shoes on the wrong feet didn’t help. The event prompted many stories and many bad jokes. “Rockefeller thought he was coming, but he was going,” for example. 1979 also saw the deaths of Jean Renoir, John Wayne, Arthur Fiedler and a number of once leading ladies — Merle Oberon, Mary Pickford, Joan Blondell and Jean Seberg.   ’79 births included Heath Ledger and Kate Hudson. Sam Shepard was awarded a Pulitzer for his drama, Buried Child, and John Cheever was honored with the same prize for literature for the Stories of John Cheever.  Sophie’s Choice by William Styron, Good as Gold by Joseph Heller, Overload by Arthur Hailey and The Matarese Circle by Robert Ludlum did well at the bookstores. Ken Follett won the Mystery Writers of America’s top prize — The Edgar — for The Eye of the Needle. Apocalypse Now, All That Jazz, Kramer vs. Kramer and Breaking Away were the year’s big movies.  The Deer Hunter won the Academy’s Best Picture Award.  However, the glitter ball kept turning, and the world succumbed to happy feet.  Billboard said our favorites were: “Bad Girls” by Donna Summer, “Chic” by Le Freak, “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” by Rod Stewart, “Reunited” by Peaches and Herb, “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor and “YMCA” by The Village People.  If you were around, what were you doing in this year of the earth sheep?

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