Thursday, April 19, 2012

Discuss: My Favorite Year -in Pop Culture

Karen: As suggested by Redartz, what is your favorite year in pop culture, and why? Tell us about the comics, movies, music, and fads that make you love that particular year. And it should be a year you actually lived through!


david_b said...

Well, two years come to mind..:

1) 1966: Seriously folks, this year practically had it all..: 'Revolver', 'Aftermath', Batman, Star Trek, Green Hornet and Marvel Heroes on TV, Captain Action, Gemini space missions rendezvousing in orbit, Galactus Trilogy, Barry marries Iris, Titans get their own mag, and Monkees.

2) 1973: To me, being sucked into the Marvel Universe like it was the frickin' Negative Zone, practically buying any Marvel comic with a superhero on the cover. To the jury, I give you: Spidey 122, Sal's Cap and Falc, Avengers/Defenders Clash with added Swordsman and Mantis, seeing Black Widow on DD covers (love, well 'sort of', at first sight), FF 138/139, Watergate, 'My Love' and 'Live and Let Die' heavy-play on the AM dial, Spiderman LP 'Beyond the Grave', Beatles Red/Blue albums, Marvel Feature 11, Star Trek-TAS on TV, FOOM hits my household.

I rest my case.

Anonymous said...

1985...D.C. cancelled Flash , then killed him, then destroyed its own history as well as any reason for me to buy comic books from them. Saved me tons of money going on 27 years now!

Doug said...

david_b --

You grabbed 1966 before I could get to it. It's my birth year, so "living through it" qualifies. All of the same reasons you mention were on my mind, but I'd add two other very-favorite stories (that I've of course loved much later): Avengers #28 and Amazing Spider-Man #'s 39-40.

At one time I fancied buying all of the Marvels and DCs that were on the stands in June, 1966 but just never got around to it. Not sure if that Avengers ish, or the ASM or FF stories hit right there, but man -- what a great time that must have been!


Anonymous said...

you forgot Something Else by Kinks, Good Vibrations and Pet Sounds by Beach Boys, Blonde on Blonde by Dylan, TV debut of Monkees, Invaders with Roy Thinnes, THUNDER Agents, and so more goodness!

Edo Bosnar said...

1968 of course, because that's when I was born! Kidding... Actually one could make sort of an "anti" argument about '68 in terms of wider cultural and general history: MLK Jr and RFK assassinated, the unrest and riots surrounding the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, the student riots in Paris, the crushing of the Prague Spring, the general escalation of the war in Vietnam. Pretty lousy year in that sense. About the only kind of cool pop culture event that comes to mind is that Hawaii 5-O started airing, and I used to love that show later.
Anyway, I don't know if I'd call it my favorite, but 1979 was pretty cool and significant for me, because that's when I picked up my first issue of X-men (120) and I really got bit by the comics bug hard - as opposed to the previous 4-5 years, when I was just randomly reading comics of all kinds. Also, that was the year the Star Trek movie was released, which basically marked the second coming of that franchise, and its eventual explosion into a mainstream pop culture mainstay.

Anonymous said...

Doug – I’m a 66’er as well, but just for the Hell of it, I’m going to argue the case for 1977:

Punk explodes including Never Mind the Bollocks and The Clash. The Sex Pistols signed with, well, just about everyone during the course of 1977. Despite this, disco music, Hotel California, Dancing Queen, I feel Love & Mull of Kintyre are the inescapable themes of the year.

Elvis, Marc Bolan and half of Lynyrd Skynyrd die.

Bing & Bowie duet. Bing dies. Presumably the two are unrelated.

First Apple computer

Over there, the twin towers went up and over here we had a Jubilee celebration.

We had a British Winner at Wimbledon (this is like the Red Sox winning in 2004).

Lynda Carter was Wonder Woman (no argument here)

That poster of Farrah was everywhere.

So was Abba.

Voyager 1 & 2 are launched. (Actually, let me correct that....Voyager 2 & 1 are launched).

Stories about Keef Richards are legion in this year, but it’s the year of the Blind Angel and the Mounties raid.

Our good buddies Pink Floyd played the first ever live, quadrophonically mixed concert in London. Toured Animals in North America. This is where Waters spat at the guy and got so disillusioned with himself (and everyone else) that he had an idea for their next album.

Fleetwood Mac released Rumours (and also an album of the same name)

Claremont & Byrne run on the Xmen began. They were also doing Iron Fist, and the first couple of PM/IF and MTU. And Byrne was doing the Champions.

Jim Starlin’s ‘double album’.

Great period of Avengers, including the Bride of Ultron.

Perez run on FF, Defender’s Scorpio saga. Gerber was writing Omega.

Some big movies that were to really shape culture: Kentucky Fried Movie, Rocky, Saturday Night Fever, Close Encounters, Annie Hall

....and some sort of space movie, I recall.


david_b said...

Edo: 1968 will always be the most interesting year from that decade for SO many reasons, most of which you listed, to include 5-0, which I luckily had the 1st Season DVD box set borrowed over in Kuwait and watched in entirety in a week.

Also, loved Dragnet and 'Land of the Giants' from that year, plus a host of other goodies, like 'Jumpin' Jack Flash' from the Stones, 'Beggars Banquet', R&R Circus, and of course the White Album. It's really the first year I can actually remember events from, like watching the RFK/MLK funerals, shown after Jack LaLanne's morning work out show.

Sidenote: If you watch the 60s Batman movie, he's on the rooftop with the girls as the BatCopter's whizzing by.

I actually felt the world change in '68, both on my homefront and stuff around me. It was surreal and unnerving, even for a 5yr old. Thinks were no longer as they were.

But, I had my new 'Action Boy' companion for Captain Action, so I could cope.

J.A. Morris said...

It's hard to pick one, but 1977 looms large in my legend. Lot's of great punk music(Clash, Pistols, Ramones,Blondie, Talking Heads, X-Ray Spex), Star Wars,Close Encounters, Annie Hall were released.
Season 3 of SNL ran from 1977-78, the best season of the show(first appearances of Roseanne Roseannadana, Blues Brothers,Steve Martin hosted 3 times)

In comics, Byrne & Austin begin their run on X-men, Claremont & Byrne were also working on Marvel Team-Up. Perez & Sinnott gave us some good art in FF.
Defenders gave us the classic "Who Remembers Scorpio"/New Zodiac story.

Unfortunately, that year also gave us the 'Saturday Night Fever' soundtrack, which I've hated for 35 years.

But the good outweighs the bad in '77.

J.A. Morris said...

Richard's post went up when I was typing mine, sorry there are so many repeats!

Anonymous said...

Just proves we're both right, JA?
Also, can't believe I forgot Out of the Blue by ELO and Bat Out of Hell by Meatloaf.
Love ‘em or loathe ‘em, they were huge.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anony,

Something Else by The Kinks was actually 1976, but that was a great year as well. However, for a consolation prize we have...Face To Face by the Kinks! That one did come out in '66, and featured Sunny Afternoon.

I wish I actually remembered everything from '66 firsthand. I was only two then, but eventually experienced eveything possible from that year after the fact.

Don't forget, in 1966, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Mission: Impossible, Get Smart, I Spy, the Wild, Wild West, Honey West, The Avengers,and Secret Agent were all on TV. And, not only was this before DVR, it was before VHS. Ye Gods!

david_b must be my evil twin. 1973 was the year I got sucked back into comics, after a breif sabbatical. The Avengers/Defenders clash, and the JLA/JSA/Freedom Fighters team-up sealed the deal.

James Chatterton

humanbelly said...

Welllllll, I was born near the end of 1960, to be honest (man, Ike was still- just barely- in office!), and my memory's deep, so I've probably just a few more years to work with. But I would truly be hard-pressed to pull out a single "THAT was my favorite year" to hold up to the world. The Beatles define my musical tastes-- but I didn't come under their sway until I picked up the Red (and then Blue) albums in 1973-- and have pretty much loved the entirety of their catalogue ever since (1962 through 1970). Oddly enough, though, I think the current/recent crop of female vocalists are working their way up to second place-- go figure. (My daughter will probably hurl herself out of the car the next time I start belting along w/ Lady Gaga's remarkable alto. . .)

Although it may be a bit of a tangent, something that's always intrigued me is how enormous the overall pop-cultural shift was between 1970 and 1979. 1970 was still pretty much the height of what we think of as "the 60's", with hippies, psychodelia, Peter Max, counter-cultural music, Bell bottoms, the Beatles, Stones, Who, etc. And by 1979 that was all, at best, a dim memory and even a source of nostalgia. Replacing it was almost its style-over-substance antithesis, with Disco/Satuday Night Fever/the BeeGees, leisure suits (LOVED the two I had, by the way-- at the time. . . ), television that finally abandoned variety and anthology programming, and the rise of Alan Alda-esque sensitivity (which I don't have a particular problem with, either-- it's just not very riveting. . .).

I mean, it was 9 short years-- but there's astonishingly little pop-cultural common ground, y'know?

Sorry, Karen-- sorry, sorry-- I'm not trying to hijack the thread-- just kind of went off on a thought-expansion---! (Reprimand at will) (Of course, Will may wonder what the heck he did to deserve it. . . )


Fred W. Hill said...

I'll echo the cheers for 1966. I turned 4 that year and while admittedly my exact memories from that time are very muggy, in later years I really came to love the music, not to mention the Marvel Comics, from that year, although I'd say it was in 1965 that things really began to explode with Dylan, the Beatles, the Byrds, the Rolling Stones, the Kinks and the Who really synthesizing rock 'n' roll, blues, folk, etc., into what would become a mature form of rock. Then there was Kirby & Ditko achieving new heights of glory in the FF, Thor, Spider-Man and Dr. Strange. As for those years when I was actually collecting comics, listening to both current and past hits on the radio and have more distinct memories of it all, to be honest their isn't one particular year that really stands out for me. Maybe '75-'76, with Starlin's Warlock, Englehart & Perez on the Avengers, Gerber's Defenders and Howard the Duck, Moench & Gulacy's Master of Kung Fu, and Wolfman & Colan's ongoing Tomb of Dracula, among other favorites. Not to mention the likes of Wish You Were Here, Fly Like an Eagle, Physical Graffiti and Hotel California being released.

Anonymous said...


Crown me the Typo-King for today. I meant to say 1967 for Something Else, not 1976. Looks like I had some "i before e" confusion, too. Sorry.

James Chatterton

Redartz said...

If David_b is James' evil twin, I must be humanbelly's! Also a child of 1960, with fond memories of the Beatles' Red and Blue albums. I had a friend in high school who always said 1965 was the ultimate year, what with the Beatles and Stones hitting their heights, Lee/Ditko and Lee/Kirby knocking the comics world on it's ear, and so on. Hard to argue with him; also hard to differ with the comments above!

My take for a great year: 1975. We had Jack Nicholsen in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. We had Speilberg scaring us out of the water with Jaws (arguablly the first summer event film). On tv we saw the debut of Space:1999. MASH and Mary Tyler Moore were at their creative peaks. The Big Red Machine won a great World Series over Boston.

We had Dr. Demento on the radio; as well as Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell's Hissing of Summer Lawns, and Wings with Venus and Mars. David Bowie and Fame. Black Water by the Doobies.

In comics we had Marvel's Giant-Size books! Spiderman had the original clone story; the Avengers fought Kang repeatedly. Gerber told twisted tales of Man-Thing and the Defenders. Not bad for the year overshadowed by anticipation for the Bicentennial!

Inkstained Wretch said...

Lot’s of BabyBoomer nostalgia in this thread ;-) Well, let me give a shout-out to a later year: 1981.

In film, we had the original Raiders of the Lost Ark, (I mean, come on!), not to mention: Stripes, the Road Warrior, Body Heat, Time Bandits, An American Werewolf in London, the Howling, John Carpenter’s Escape from New York, Excaliber, Sharky’s Machine and Heavy Metal.

On television, Saturday Night Live had a breakout star in a young comic named Eddie Murphy, a new cable channel called MTV debuted, Hill Street Blues also debuted, Dallas got challenged in primetime by a new series called Dynasty, and a certain mustachioed private investigator named Magnum got a hit show too. Overseas, Tom Baker took his final bows as Doctor Who.

In music, the Rolling Stones proved they still had it with Tattoo You, Rush showed us all Moving Pictures, Blue Oyster Cult put out a Fire of Unknown Origin, Van Halen gave us all Fair Warning, AC/DC saluted Those About to Rock, Joan Jett shouted I Love Rock n’ Roll, Ozzy revealed his Diary of a Madman, the Cramps took us on a walk through their Psychedelic Jungle, Journey Escape(d), and a new band called Def Leppard released High n’ Dry. Even Phil Collins had his finest moment with In the Air Tonight and damn if that Chariots of Fire theme song wasn’t as catchy as hell.

In comics, artist Frank Miller also took over writing duties for Daredevil. John Byrne takes his final bow on X-Men to begin his run on Fantastic Four and is replaced by Dave Cockrum, Marvel Wolfman and George Perez’s New Teen Titans becomes a blockbuster, Roy Thomas created the All-Star Squardon for DC while still doing Conan titles for Marvel, Steve Gerber and Gene Colan explored the Phantom Zone.

The best year ever? No, but a damn good one.

Sharper13x said...

Awesome thread. Thanks everyone.

I was ten in 1977. Being ten when Star Wars comes out automatically makes that the best year for any given individual. What the others have said,I think, says plenty. But just to add to the praise of '77...

The Death of Elvis
Hotel California
The cheesy De Laurentis versions of King Kong
And introducing Jessica Lange
The Enterprise Space Shuttle flew around on a 747

Anonymous said...

I dig where ya all are coming from, but, in 17 responses, not one shout-out for 1964?

I'd say 1964 gets a lot of points just for Marshall MacLuhan's "Understanding Media."

But we also got: Goldfinger, A Hard Day's Night, Viva Las Vegas!, A Fistful of Dollars, Dr. Strangelove and two of the best Godzilla movies (Godzilla vs. Mothra and Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster). (Not to mention Becket, Mary Poppins and My Fair Lady.)

In comics (to name a few), the Fantastic Four/Avengers team-up in FF #25-26; the first Kraven the Hunter and the first Green Goblin; the first Brotherhood of Evil Mutants; the return of Captain America to the comics; the first issue of Daredevil; the first apperance of Hawkeye; the first Dormammu; The "New Look" Batman.

Oh, and the very first broadcast of the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas special!

- Hoosier X

Karen said...

You might notice I didn't give an example year in the post. That was for two reasons: one, because I didn't want to write up a year that one of you might want to talk about and two, because I had a hard time deciding! I'd probably go with either 1975 or 1979 though. I was at totally different places in those years (10 years old vs. 14 years old) but both were big impact years for me.

Anonymous said...

Also for 1964: The Addams Family and The Munsters!

- Hoosier X

P.S. I was born in 1964. So I was 11 in 1975, and I must admit 1975 would get a lot of points for, in comics, Panther's Rage in Jungle Action #7 to #18; and, in movies, Jaws, Monty Pythin and the Holy Grail, Dog Day Afternoon, Love and Death, The Land that Time Forgot, Dersu Uzala, The Passenger, Death Race 2000, Switchblade Sisters, The Magic Flute and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Rip Jagger said...

I'd have to say 1933.

It saw the debut of King Kong and Doc Savage (pulps) and The Lone Ranger (on radio) and almost Flash Gordon (January 1934), three of my favorite things.

I think the 30's were the most important decade in pop culture by far. The creation in that decade of The Shadow, Superman, Batman, The Phantom, Prince Valiant, and so many more icons is significant. Comic strips flourished, adventure radio was at its peak, the movies and movie serials were abundant, and the pulps were being born.

And no, I wasn't around then.

Rip Off

Anonymous said...

Rip Off....superb!

But you forgot the Great Depression, the creation of the dust bowl, mass starvation in China, the rise of the Nazis and the birth of Yoko Ono. A lot of disasters that year.

Stephen ...

" But just to add to the praise of '77...The Death of Elvis"

Harsh, very harsh.


Edo Bosnar said...

All of these responses are great, but it just underscores my own inability to pick just one year. (I also can't believe I forgot to note that "The Warriors" was released in 1979!) Usually it seems like these cool changes or novelties happen in little knots of 2-3 years - I would say this applies in particular to 1976/77, as reflected in several of the comments above. Inkstained makes a great case for 1981, to which I would add 1982-1983: I think this was when the shift to what we think of the 1980s actually occurred in pop culture. Michael Jackson's Thriller was released in 1982, and it not only influenced music thereafter, but perhaps more importantly, the accompanying videos (helped along by the fledgling MTV) showed everybody just how compelling the juxtaposition of popular music with video could be (taken to its logical conclusion by Prince, who basically released an extended music video as a movie with "Purple Rain," or that MTV-style cop show, "Miami Vice"). Sticking to music, in 1983 the Police released "Synchronicity", U2 released "War" and Def Leppard released "Pyromania" - which brought all three bands breakaway mainstream popularity (even if it was kind of last hurrah for the Police).
In comics, 1983 was when Alan Moore took over the writing chores on Swamp Thing, while Walt Simonson began his legendary run on Thor. And Frank Miller's Ronin began coming out.
Anyway, sorry for rambling...

Redartz said...

Hoosier X- Great call on 1964; one more big intro from that year: Jonny Quest!

Edo- Glad to see the 80's get some good press! I was tempted to go with 1983, due to many of the highlights you mentioned. The second "British Invasion" with Eurythmics, Duran Duran, Human League, etc. was in full bloom. Thriller needs no elaboration.

Comics also had Stern/Romita Jr. and Janson on Amazing Spiderman, one of my favorite runs. A good year for Indie comics as well; titles like E-Man, American Flagg! and Mr. X were out.

Oh, and leave us not forget the great flowering of video game arcades at the time! I can still hear the music from Joust and the unsettling squeal when two birds hit...

Fred W. Hill said...

I was gonna say something about your Kinky typo, James C., but forgot while typing my previous post. I got into the Kinks big time after getting the Kinks Kronikles collection circa 1981 -- wow, what a treasure load! Within a few years, thanks to a used record store near San Jose State University, I'd gathered nearly all of their output from '65 to the '80s, including a lot of classic '60s albums, including Something Else, that were then long out of print.

Rip Jagger said...

Yoko Ono! Ouch! I might have to change my answer.

Dust bowls we can handle, but that screech. Yuck!

Rip Off

Anonymous said...

Hey Fred,

I got obsessed with The Kinks in 1980-81 too. I had to get the 60's albums on import editions, since they hadn't been in print in the US for ages. They had one of the classic LP runs through the early 70's, and then came back to life again in the late 70's. I still think Give The People What They Want is one of the best results of the New Wave era. Now, where's that skinny tie...?

James Chatterton

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