But anyway, here's my quick take on 1972 for those of us growing up in Britain at the time:
Hope you've brought some candles, coz I can't see a bloody thing... oh dear, not much to cheer about is there? Strikes. Hijackings. Vietnam. Napalm. More strikes. Bloody Sunday and "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland. Power Cuts. Terrorism. "Dirty" Leeds winning the FA Cup. Yet more strikes. Even the top sitcom of the day, Steptoe & Son (that's Sandford & Son for you Americans), revolved around two down at heel scruffy buggers who hadn't got a pot to p*ss in. Blimey, it was grim.
So where to begin then? Well, appropriately enough for a dark time lit by candlelight, most of it was in black & white. A new TV quiz show called "Mastermind" was launched, with contestants sat in a big black chair under a big white spotlight being interrogated by Magnus Magnusson. Race relations was a hot topic, and racist cockney bigot Alf Garnett (that's Archie Bunker for you Americans), returning for a new TV series after four years, hardly helped matters. So we switched channels on our black & white tellies only to find a white bloke battling it out with the black guy next door in Love Thy Neighbour. On the big screen The Godfather saw things in black and white terms. He made you an offer you couldn't refuse - or else you woke up next to a horse's head. And "Blaxploitation" flix like SuperFly pitched black man vs white man. For God's sake even London Zoo's black & white star attraction Chi Chi the Giant Panda died. What we needed was a bit of COLOUR to cheer us up...
Well, we did have Green Shield Stamps to save up for stuff. "The Joy Of Sex" hit the bookshelves, and a generation of adolescent lads thought you had to grow a beard before you could make love to a woman. The glittering treasures of Tutankhamen were exhibited at London's British Museum, and thousands of us (yes, I was there) queued up for hours to see the original glam star's death mask. Roxy Music made their flamboyant debut, Ziggy played guitar and Slade and The Sweet ramped up the fun factor in the pop charts . But T Rextacy was giving way to Osmondmania by the end of the year, as a tribe of toothy Mormons invaded us from across the pond. Two little prettyboys called Donny Osmond and David Cassidy had their magazine pictures pinned up on every self respecting female teenybopper's bedroom wall. All the girls wanted to marry them. All the lads wanted to smash their faces in. Elton may have been the Rocket Man and Bowie a Star Man, but the Apollo lunar space programme was wound up.
Spaghetti Junction opened, costing 8 million quid, spread over 30 acres, supported on over 550 concrete columns, serving 18 routes on 5 different levels and all to give us 300 new ways of getting lost on the way into Birmingham.
Neither Hanoi Jane Fonda nor Henry Kissinger's shuttle diplomacy could halt the war in Vietnam. So President Nixon went off to make friends with the Chinese instead. The Cold War rumbled on, as Bobby Fischer managed to make chess trendy in defeating that Commie bloke, Boris Spassky, and the board game even briefly replaced darts as a pastime in some boozers (seriously!). Stuffy old snooker got a breath of fresh air too; some new kid called "Hurricane" Higgins won the world title.
Remember the Munich Olympics? Mary Peters, who looked suspiciously like our Prime Minister in a long wig and a tracksuit, won the pentathlon. But the real stars were elfin Soviet gymnast Olga Korbut (3 golds and a silver) and American swimmer Mark Spitz, who picked up an incredible 7 gold medals. Sadly even this sporting extravaganza was marred by terrorism when Arab militants stormed the Olympic compound and shot dead 11 of the Israeli athletes /coaches, as well as a German police officer. A failed rescue bid left 5 of the terrorists dead in what became known as The Munich Massacre. 1972!