Reggie, Fonzie & The Me Decade

Bell bottom blues….

I love the 70s.There, I said it.I know it’s not cool.  I know the 70s had its cheesy moments. And I realize that the term “jumping the shark” was coined when 70s icon Fonzie literally jumped a shark while on water skis; that was cringeworthy even by 70s standards of cringe.

Still, if you look past the AMC Pacer (which came in refrigerator blue), Fonzie’s lapse and the Bay City Rollers you’ll find much to love about the 70s.But before we list the decades merits, isn’t it weird that decades don’t have identifies anymore?If I ask you to think about the 50s,60s and 80s you’ll get images in your mind. Elvis, Marilyn, James Dean and ducktail haircuts. The Beatles, JFK and MLK. Duran Duran, MTV and Michael J. Fox riding that DeLorean Back to the Future.

But who thinks of the “aughts” or even refers to the current decade as the 20s?It’s not as if we live in boring times…it’s just that we’re lacking in personality. Or maybe we are just too old to suss out the trends.I’m writing this while eating a hotdog at a Five Guys on Linton Boulevard.Layla by Derek and the Dominoes is blaring from the speakers and I’m loving it. My friend Scott and I saw Eric Clapton back in the 80s in Miami. That was 35 years ago and the guitar master was already an “oldies” act. Time flies when you are having fun.

Anyway, Layla was released in March 1971 and the group of 20 somethings sitting near me probably have no clue what the song is about. I’m just amazed that “society” is still playing music from 50 years ago. I don’t remember being a kid in the 70s and hearing music from the 1920s in restaurants or on the radio.But 70s music is being played because the boomers are still around. And because the music was great.I’m not referring to “Disco Duck” or Air Supply, but the Allman Brothers, The Eagles, Elton, Queen, The Who and so many more.The music of the 70s was sublime and yes that includes disco.Movies were also amazing.

The Godfather, Rocky, Network, Chinatown, Patton, the French Connection. The list goes on and on.We had Nicholson, Hackman, Redford and Newman. I’m sorry but Mamoa, Diesel and the Marvel flavor of the month just don’t quite measure up.When we ate our TV dinners we watched the Mary Tyler Moore Show, All in the Family and Sanford & Son. The latter was a favorite. My dad’s name is Sanford, so I could relate. My dad’s friends called him Sandy and nobody called me Lamont but I thought it was cool nonetheless.Today, we have reality shows. (But streaming is terrific, I’ll concede that point).The 70s had Watergate and inflation, Vietnam and other assorted horrors but we sure felt more united as a nation even when we were divided; does that make sense?So you may wonder why write about the 70s? What spurred this tribute to that memorable decade?In a word, Reggie.As in Reggie Jackson. Mr. October.Amazon Prime has a great new documentary on the baseball Hall of Famer. It’s wonderful and brings back a cascade of memories. Baseball in the 70s was the best; the uniforms, the handlebar mustaches, the Big Red Machine, Charlie Finley’s A’s, Hammerin’ Hank and don’t forget Delray’s own Bucky Dent and the shot over the wall at Fenway that inspired the replica “Green Monster” at Miller Field in Delray Beach. (There’s your local tie-in).Yes, the 70s were groovy.So hold onto those bell bottoms, keep your vinyl and dust off those ponchos you never know when they’ll be back in style.Note: The world lost a great man over the weekend with the death of Benjamin Ferencz at 103. Mr. Ferencz was the last surviving Nuremberg prosecutor and he spent the rest of his life detailing his experiences holding the Nazi’s accountable and making sure we “never forget.”Mr. Ferencz lived for many years in Delray Beach and I had a chance to interview him when I was a reporter. What an honor. I saw him last at a Holocaust museum fundraiser in Boca Raton. He was the special guest that evening at Boca West and you could hear a pin drop when he spoke.  He fought for those whose lives were ended by evil. He was very special.




  1. Randy Smith says

    Jeff, Great memories!!! one of my favorite blogs!!! S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y night (I loved the Bay City Rollers)

  2. Sue Tauriello says

    Jeff…you know I LOVED the 70’s and our music. My daughter Susan was born in ’70 and Cheran was born in ’75 yet even with 2 little girls we sang all the songs. They loved all the groups we had playing in the house, and now play that same music in their homes. We absolutely had the best music! But I also remember my parents and their friends saying THEY had the best music. We recently saw the Eagles and Joe Walsh said “It was much more fun being 20 in the 70s than being 70 in the 20s”. I agree! Love reading your posts! Thank you for giving the 70s the recognition that time era deserves.

  3. Peter Arts says

    Great write Jeff

    Thank you

  4. Paula Douglas says

    Great piece, Jeff! I loved the seventies, especially all the great music. Graduated from Atlantic High in 1971!

  5. John Fitzpatrick says

    Jeff, I’m joining the others on the BCR bandwagon. I still get a rise out of people when I play that song. Considering the decades of the 50s through our current 20s, I have the 70s ranked #1. Think about. Punk, bubblegum, glam rock, classic rock, disco, new wave and the best one hit wonders. Don’t forget Croce and the best singer/songwriters. No other decade displays more variety. When someone says they likes 70s music, I ask them “Terry Jacks or Led Zeppelin!?” Lol. Am I right?

    • Jeff Perlman says

      What a great comment! Truth be told, I’m down with BCR. And I like both Led Zeppelin and Terry Jacks. Seasons in the Sun is a classic. As for Croce; I listen to him at least once a week. Such a talent.

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