Summer rewind: Looking back at 1974

Story highlights

  • Historians view the 1970s as a transitional era in the United States
  • In 1974, Americans were weary from the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal
  • Ahead of them was disco and the "Me" decade

By the time the summer of 1974 rolled around, America was ready for a break.

The Vietnam War had ended for the United States the year prior, but the emotional and psychological toll at home had just begun. The lifting of the 1973 oil embargo in March 1974 eased economic tensions and allowed Americans to hit the open roads once again.

And, let's not forget the Watergate scandal. By the summer of 1974, the fate of most of the president's men had been decided, and the Supreme Court had rejected President Richard Nixon's claims of executive privilege, paving the way for his resignation August 9.

It was a time of weariness and confusion, which was reflected in the music and films of 1974. But it also was a period of transition for America as the progressive values that emerged in the 1960s around political awareness and women's rights continued to flourish. A shift in pop culture also was under way, from Beatlemania and Flower Power to disco and what Tom Wolfe dubbed the "Me" decade.

Browse through the gallery above for a look back at the summer of 1974.

Do you remember life in the 1970s? Share your memories in the comments!