1973 Annual History Facts

1973 Annual History Facts

  • Politics: The Roe v. Wade US Supreme Court decision legalized abortion.
  • The Top Song was Killing Me Softly With His Song by Roberta Flack
  • The Big Movies included The Exorcist, The Sting and American Graffiti
  • On August 11, 1973, at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, Bronx, NYC, Hip Hop was created by DJ Kool Herc.
  • Price of Men’s leather sandals in 1973: $2.81
    Watermelon: 9 cents/pound
  • The World Population was ~ 3,859,000,000
  • Federal Express (FedEx) began operating in 1973.
  • Richard Nixon gave his famous “I am Not a Crook” speech at the Contemporary Resort, in Disney World.
  • And… Spiro T. Agnew resigned as US vice president and then pled no contest to income tax evasion in a federal court in Baltimore. He was fined $10,000 and put on three years’ probation.

World Series Champions

Oakland Athletics

Superbowl VII Champions

Miami Dolphins

National Basketball Association Champions

New York Knicks

NHL Stanley Cup Champions

Montreal Canadiens

US Open Golf

Johnny Miller

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

John Newcombe/Margaret Smith Court

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Jan Kodes/Billie Jean King

NCAA Football Champions

Alabama & Notre Dame

NCAA Basketball Champions


Bowl Games

Orange Bowl: January 1, 1973 – Nebraska over Notre Dame
Rose Bowl: January 1, 1973 – USC over Ohio State
Sugar Bowl: December 31, 1972 – Oklahoma over Penn State

Kentucky Derby


Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

Acadia Command Performance

Time Magazine’s Man of the Year

John Sirica

Miss America

Terry Meeuwsen (De Pere, WI)

Miss USA

Amanda Jones (Illinois)

Fashion Icons and Movie Stars

Adrienne Barbeau, Jacqueline Bisset, Christie Brinkley, Carol Burnett, Dyan Cannon, Veronica Carlson, Diahann Carroll, Lola Falana, Karen Graham, Pam Grier, Dayle Haddon, Margaux Hemingway, Lauren Hutton, Beverly Johnson, Peggy Lipton, Maureen McCormick, Liza Minelli, Mary Tyler Moore, Caroline Munro, Ingrid Pitt, Suzanne Pleshette, Diana Ross, Cybill Shepherd, Maria Schneider, Barbra Streisand, Jane Seymour, Twiggy, Veruschka

“The Quotes”

“My brain? But that’s my second favorite organ!”
– Woody Allen, in Sleeper

“Have it your way.”
– Burger King

“People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook. I’ve earned everything I’ve got.”
– President Richard Nixon

“It’s people! Soylent Green is made of people!”
– Charlton Heston, in Soylent Green

“The uncola.”
– 7 Up

“Joel, I’m calling you from a real cellular phone.”
-Martin Cooper, leader of Motorola’s cellphone team, to rival Joel Engel, at AT&T’s Bell Labs on April 3, 1973

Joe Frazier nearly drowned in the 1st event, a 50-meter swim, on the ABC show The Superstars, which pitted various athletes against each other. Only after he was saved did he admit he couldn’t swim. When asked why he tried anyway, he said, “How was I to know I couldn’t unless I tried it?”

1973 Pop Culture History

The Hamster Dance song is a sped-up version of the intro to the 1973 Disney Robin Hood movie.

Martin Cooper of Motorola made the first cell phone call in 1973 to his direct research rival Joel Engel of Bell Labs.

The classic song Killing Me Softly, made famous by Roberta Flack and later by the Fugees, was written about Don McLean.

After the drummer of The Who passed out during a live performance in 1973, the lead singer asked if anyone could fill in. 19-year-old Scot Halpin stepped up to the plate. They invited him on stage and he finished the remaining three songs.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was invented.

Although The Dark Side of the Moon was the #1 album for only one week, it remained on the Billboard Top 200 for 741 straight weeks, from 1973 into 1988.

In the Sahara Desert, hundreds of miles away from anything, the world’s most isolated tree died when a drunk truck driver hit it.

When the national highway speed limit was set at 55 mph, it had nothing to do with improving safety but was intended to optimize fuel consumption after the 1973 oil crisis. It was repealed in 1995, and states could set their limits again.

The band’s vocalist/guitarist, Paul Stanley, hand-drew the KISS logo on his kitchen table.

NASA Astronaut Owen Garriott successfully pranked flight controllers by playing a recording of his wife whilst on SkyLab. There were no women on board the space station, and it was used to make it look like there was a stowaway.

The original plans for Australia’s Sydney Opera House projected a cost of $7 million and a completion date of January 26, 1963. It was finished in 1973, ten years late, and of $102 million, some 1,500% over budget.

The 1973 Gremlin, made by American Motor Corporation, was available with Levi’s denim seats.

Westworld, the original film written and directed by Michael Crichton, was the first movie to use digital image processing

The 1991’s Silence of the Lambs is the first (and so far only) Best Picture winner widely considered a horror film, and only the third to be nominated after The Exorcist in 1973 and Jaws in 1975.

Jimmy Carter Reported a UFO Sighting in 1973.

Concorde pilots chased a solar eclipse at Mach 2. They extended their view of it from 7 minutes to 74.

Sham, the horse that finished 2nd to Secretariat in the 1973 Kentucky Derby, still holds the record for the second fastest time in Kentucky Derby history. He would have won if he had competed in any other year in the race’s 137-year history.

The public first used Air Bags in the Oldsmobile Toronado.

Don Vito Corleone from The Godfather is the only fictional character to have received more than one Oscar for its portrayal. In 1973 by Marlon Brando, and in 1975 by Robert De Niro as Young Vito. Both legendary actors never bothered to attend the ceremony, with Brando rejecting the award.

Al Pacino boycotted the 1973 Academy Awards because he was insulted at being nominated for Best Supporting Actor in The Godfather, noting that he had more screen time than his co-star and Best Actor winner Brando.

Sacheen Littlefeather accepted the Best Actor Award for Marlon Brando in The Godfather. He didn’t accept the award in person because of the United State’s treatment of Native American Indians. She was an actress who later appeared in Playboy magazine.

Robin Williams and Christopher Reeves went to the Juilliard school together, were 2 of 20 students that were accepted into the freshman class in 1973, and were the only 2 students accepted into the Advanced Program at the school the same year

It was not until 1973 that women could serve on juries in all fifty states.

Cost of a Superbowl ad in 1973: $88,000

Three astronauts on the Skylab 4 space station went on strike after being overworked, demanding more time for contemplating the universe and, in Pogue’s words, “studying the, the Earth below, and ourselves”: the first strike in space.

Homosexuality was first removed from the American Psychiatric Association’s list of mental disorders in 1973.

RIP, Scandals, Sad and Odd News

Johnny Carson joked about there being a toilet paper shortage on The Tonight Show. People did not realize it was a joke and panic-bought as much toilet paper as they could, which caused a toilet paper shortage.

When 16-year-old John Paul Getty III was kidnapped in 1973, his billionaire grandfather refused to pay $17 million ransom. After the kidnappers mailed Getty’s ear to a newspaper, his grandfather only agreed to pay $2.2 million because that was the maximum tax-deductible amount.

New York Yankee pitchers Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson held a press conference to announce they had “traded lives.” This included the exchange of wives, children, and dogs.

One hundred twenty-three passengers died on an airplane (Flight Varig Flight 820 between Brazil and France) because of a fire started by a cigarette. Since then, all airplane bathrooms must have an ashtray, even though smoking has been banned on all domestic flights since 1990.

During the 1973-1974 oil embargo, national highway speed limits were lowered to 55 mph in an attempt to force Americans to drive at speeds deemed more fuel-efficient

A psychiatrist named David Rosenhan sent eight people with no history of mental illness to mental hospitals. All were diagnosed with psychiatric disorders and held for an average of 19 days.

Airplane Celebrity Death: Jim Croce. Jim Croce sent a letter to his wife before he died where he talked about giving up his singing career to write short stories and movie scripts. The last words of his letter were: “Remember, it’s the first sixty years that count, and I’ve got 30 to go. I Love you, Jim.”

Cult Movie Star Death: Bruce Lee (brain edema, allergy, or mysterious kung fu maneuver)

Firsts and the Biggest Christmas Gifts

Anti-Monopoly, Raleigh Chopper Bikes, Toy guns, Shrinky Dinks, Pente, Dungeons and Dragons

FOOM *Friends of Old Marvel* Magazine (1973-1978)

American Hunter began publication

The Habits

Playing Pong (arcade and at home)
Reading Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

1973/74 Biggest Television Shows

(according to Nielsen TV Research)
1. All in the Family (CBS)
2. The Waltons (CBS)
3. Sanford and Son (NBC)
4. M*A*S*H (CBS)
5. Hawaii Five-O (CBS)
6. Maude (CBS)
7. Kojak (CBS)
8. The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour (CBS)
9. The Mary Tyler Moore Show (CBS)
10. Cannon (CBS)

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1973 include
Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Barry White, Billy Preston, Bobby Womack, The Carpenters, Dawn featuring Tony Orlando, Diana Ross, Donny Osmond, Eddie Kendricks, Elton John, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Helen Reddy, The Jackson 5, James Brown, Jim Croce, Joe Simon, Johnnie Taylor, Kool & the Gang, Kurtis Mayfield, Lobo, Love Unlimited, The Manhattans, Marvin Gaye, Maureen McGovern, The O’Jays, Paul McCartney & Wings, Paul Simon, The Spinners, The Staple Singers, Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, The Stylistics, Sylvia, The Temptations, Three Dog Night, Tower of Power, Tyrone Davis, War, William DeVaughn

(Data is compiled from charts including Billboard’s Pop, Rock, Airplay, R&B/Dance, and Singles Charts. The Hot 100 is the primary chart used for this list.)

Number One Hits of 1973

December 16, 1972 – January 5, 1973: Billy Paul – Me and Mrs. Jones

January 6, 1973 – January 26, 1973: Carly Simon – You’re So Vain

January 27, 1973 – February 2, 1973: Stevie Wonder – Superstition

February 3, 1973 – February 23, 1973: Elton John – Crocodile Rock

February 24, 1973 – March 23, 1973: Roberta Flack – Killing Me Softly with His Song

March 24, 1973 – April 6, 1973: The O’Jays – Love Train

April 7, 1973 – April 20, 1973: Vicki Lawrence – The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia

April 21, 1973 – May 18, 1973: Tony Orlando and Dawn – Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree

May 19, 1973 – May 25, 1973: Stevie Wonder – You Are the Sunshine of My Life

May 26, 1973 – June 1, 1973: The Edgar Winter Group – Frankenstein

June 2, 1973 – June 29, 1973: Paul McCartney and Wings – My Love

June 30, 1973 – July 6, 1973: George Harrison – Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)

July 7, 1973 – July 20, 1973: Billy Preston – Will It Go Round in Circles

July 21, 1973 – August 3, 1973: Jim Croce – Bad, Bad Leroy Brown

August 4, 1973 – August 17, 1973: Maureen McGovern – The Morning After

August 18, 1973 – August 24, 1973: Diana Ross – Touch Me in the Morning

August 25, 1973 – September 7, 1973: Stories – Brother Louie

September 8, 1973 – September 21, 1973: Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It On

September 22, 1973 – September 28, 1973: Helen Reddy – Delta Dawn

September 29, 1973 – October 5, 1973: Grand Funk – We’re an American Band

October 6, 1973 – October 19, 1973: Cher – Half-Breed

October 20, 1973 – October 26, 1973: The Rolling Stones – Angie

October 27, 1973 – November 9, 1973: Gladys Knight & the Pips – Midnight Train to Georgia

November 10, 1973 – November 23, 1973: Eddie Kendricks – Keep On Truckin’

November 24, 1973 – November 30, 1973: Ringo Starr – Photograph

December 1, 1973 – December 14, 1973: The Carpenters – Top of the World

December 15, 1973 – December 28, 1973: Charlie Rich – The Most Beautiful Girl

December 29, 1973 – January 11, 1974: Jim Croce – Time in a Bottle

Popular Movies

America Graffiti, Badlands, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, The Day of the Jackle, Don’t Look Now, Enter the Dragon, The Exorcist, Fantastic Planet, Godzilla vs Megalon, High Plaines Drifter, Live and Let Die, The Long Goodbye, Magnum Force, Mean Streets, The Paper Chase, Paper Moon, Papillion, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Serpico, Sleeper, Soylent Green, The Sting, The Way We Were, Westworld, The Wicker Man
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