A look at life in the not-so-distant (but it sure seems like it!) past.
World population: 3.9 billion (2014: about 7.2 billion)
Average life expectancy in the U.S.: 71.4 (2014: 78.7)
Average annual income: $12,900 (minimum wage: $1.60 per hour)
- new home: $32,500
- new car: $3,200
- gallon of milk: $1.31
- gallon of (reg.) gas: $0.40
- first-class stamp: $0.08
- Shows that ended their runs in 1973: Bonanza, Laugh-In, Mission Impossible, The Mod Squad
- Shows that premiered in 1973: Kojak, Barnaby Jones, Schoolhouse Rock, Police Story, The Young and the Restless
- Highest-rated shows of the year: All in the Family, The Waltons, Sanford and Son, M*A*S*H, Hawaii Five-O
- Top-grossing films: 1. The Sting; 2. The Exorcist; 3. American Graffiti; 4. Papillon; 5. The Way We Were
- Other notable films: Soylent Green, Enter the Dragon, Mean Streets, Serpico, Day of the Jackal, Sleeper, Paper Moon
- George Foreman is the heavyweight boxing champion.
- The Miami Dolphins win Super Bowl VII.
- The Oakland Athletics win the World Series.
- The New York Knicks win the NBA Finals.
- The Indiana Pacers win the ABA Finals.
- The Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup.
- Jack Nicklaus is the PGA money leader.
- Secretariat wins horse racing’s Triple Crown.
- Top five hits: 1. Tie a Yellow Ribbon (Tony Orlando and Dawn), 2. Bad, Bad Leroy Brown (Jim Croce), 3. Killing Me Softly (Roberta Flack), 4. Let’s Get It On (Marvin Gaye), 5. My Love (Paul McCartney and Wings)
- Notable album releases: Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd), Houses of the Holy, (Led Zeppelin), Quadrophenia (the Who), Innervisions (Stevie Wonder), There Goes Rhymin’ Simon (Paul Simon), Good-bye Yellow Brick Road (Elton John)
- After 12 years, the U.S. ends all military operations in Vietnam.
- The Supreme Court makes its landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, making abortion, with some exceptions, legal.
- The 1973 oil crisis begins. Oil-producing Arab nations cease exports, causing oil prices to soar, setting off a worldwide energy and economic crisis.
- Chilean president Salvador Allende is overthrown in a coup later revealed to have been aided by the CIA.
- Construction is completed on the world’s tallest building: the World Trade Center.
- The Watergate scandal, the roots of which were first uncovered in 1972, blows wide open. President Richard Nixon gives his famous “I am not a crook” speech in November. (Less than a year later, he resigns in disgrace.)
- Skylab, the first American space station, is launched.
- The American Psychiatric Association officially declares that homosexuality is not a “mental disorder.”
- The first handheld mobile phone call is made by Motorola engineer Martin Cooper on April 3.
- The Oldsmobile Toronado becomes the first car offered to the public with airbags.
Bruce Lee, Bobby Darin, Veronica Lake, Gram Parsons, Jim Croce, Edward G. Robinson, Betty Grable, Lon Chaney Jr., Noel Coward, J. R. R. Tolkien, Lyndon Johnson, Pablo Picasso
Seth MacFarlane, Adrien Brody, Tori Spelling, Juliette Lewis, Heidi Klum, Neil Patrick Harris, Pharrell Williams, Kate Beckinsdale, Dave Chappelle, Tyra Banks, Ichiro Suzuki, Monica Lewinsky
The Princess Bride by William Goldman, Burr by Gore Vidal, Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon