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THE GOLDEN YEARS

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Indulge in a little nostalgia. Rewind to 1977 and relive the music and events that defined the year.

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Rewind To 1979

Read this year's headlines in our monthly calendar of events and discover snippets about everyday life with our FLASHBACK facts. It's time to go back to the Winter of Discontent, the election of Margaret Thatcher, the American hostage crisis in Tehran and watching Shoetring and Fawlty Towers on TV. It's time to go back to... 1979.

Timeline '79 Close All

January
Snow, ice and Siberian winds bring widespread chaos as temperatures fall to -20°C over the New Year
David Attenborough's seminal natural history series Life On Earth airs on BBC2
"The Winter of Discontent" begins as public sector workers go on strike – more days will be lost due to industrial action this year than any other in UK history
Militant union leader Arthur Scargill urges strikers to defy a High Court ban on secondary picketing
In San Diego Brenda Spencer opens fire at her school killing two people – when asked for a motive she replies "I Don't Like Mondays"
Terry Wogan hosts the first Blankety Blank show on BBC1
Ian Dury tops the chart with his zany Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick

From the ad pages: "Who pays 12% on deposits? National Savings Bank"

February
The on-going haulage strike forces over 1,000 schools close due to lack of heating oil
In New York Sid Vicious dies after choking on his own vomit while awaiting trial for murder
Deer Hunter – the acclaimed movie about the horrors of the Vietnam War – is released in the UK
Trevor Frances is football's first £1M player when he signs for Nottingham Forest
Peter Frampton's ex-girlfriend is suing him for half of his reported £34M fortune
"Woolies Bomb Terror" (Daily Mirror) – IRA bomb several big-name stores in Yeovil
Queen release their perennial party favourite Don't Stop Me Now

It costs Paddington Bear 27½p to buy a jar of Robertson's Golden Shred marmalade

March
PM James Callaghan loses a vote of no confidence and a general election will be held on 3 May
Porridge star Richard Beckinsale dies suddenly aged 31 from a congenital heart condition
Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected debuts on ITV
Conservative politician Airey Neave is killed by a car bomb in the House of Commons car park
"Eric's Heart Drama No. 2" (Daily Mirror) – comedian Eric Morecambe suffers his second heart attack and is recovering in hospital
Wales win a record fourth successive Triple Crown to win rugby's Five Nations
The brilliant Oliver's Army by Elvis Costello is the unofficial No. 1

Unemployment drops slightly to 1.43M

April
Teacher Blair Peach is killed by police during an anti-fascist demonstration in London
After disagreements with their manager The Specials have set up their own label to promote their brand of Ska music – it is called 2 Tone
"After-Sex Pill Gets The OK" (Daily Mirror) – doctors have been given the go-ahead to prescribe a morning-after to pill to prevent unwanted pregnancy
The Police are receiving airplay in America after a budget tour of the East Coast propels Roxanne into the Billboard Top 40
Iran votes to become an Islamic Republic after the Shah is deposed – Ayatollah Khomeini will become Supreme Ruler
Terry Griffiths beats Dennis Taylor to win snooker's World Championship
The Jam's Strange Town is the first of three stunning singles this year

"They doubled prices… And then, they doubled your tax" (Conservative election ad)

May
"Maggie's Made It!" (Daily Mirror) – Margaret Thatcher is the UK's first female prime minister after the Conservatives win a 43 seat majority in the general election
Over 35,000 people attend the Loch Lomond Rock Festival to see a dozen sets including The Stranglers, The Buzzcocks, Dr Feelgood and The Boomtown Rats
Nurse Helen Smith dies after falling from a 6th-floor balcony in Saudi Arabia – her body is not buried for 30 years as her father investigates her death
A DC-10 crashes during take-off at Chicago O'Hare Airport killing 273 people in America's worst air disaster
The London Underground's Jubilee line is opened – its 22½ miles has stops at Waterloo and Baker Street (both titles of hit singles)
Nottingham Forest beat FC Malmo to win the European Cup
The beautiful ballad Dance Away by Rocky Music is the unofficial No. 1

A pink of milk costs 15p (or 26p per litre)

June
Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev sign the SALT II agreement in Vienna
Bryan Allan cycles across the English Channel in the Gossamer Albatross in the first non-powered flight to France
The world's first spread sheet is launched – VisiCalc for the Apple II computer will shift nearly 1M copies and show the business potential of computers
McDonald's introduces the Happy Meal
The Muppet Movie is released – the musical comedy features characters from the TV show that has been seen by 235 million people in 95 countries
England lose the Cricket World Cup to the West Indies at Lords
Tubeway Army's synth masterpiece Are 'Friends' Electric? is No. 1

A London bus driver earns £95 for a 40 hour week plus overtime

July
MPs vote 362 to 243 against re-instating the death penalty
US Disco is not dead – the top positions in the Billboard Top 10 are occupied by Donna Summa, Anita Ward, Chic and Earth Wind And Fire
Britain is facing an Olympic spat due to its sporting ties with South Africa – African nations might boycott the Moscow games next year if Britain participates
Daredevil Robin Winter-Smith dies while attempting to jump over 32 Rolls Royce limousines on his motorbike in a world record bid
Sony's Walkman portable cassette player goes on sale for the first time in Japan
"Coe, Man, Go!" (Daily Mirror) – Sebastian Coe sets the world record time for running a mile
The Boomtown Rats secure their second No. 1 with I Don't Like Mondays

House prices surge again – the average property now costs £21,966

August
Lord Mountbatten and two others are killed by the IRA when a bomb explodes on his holiday boat in Northern Ireland
"TV On The Blank" (Daily Mirror) – ITV schedules are affected by striking electricians who are demanding a 25% pay increase
Fifteen yachtsmen die in a Force 10 gale off the southern Irish coast during the Fastnet Yacht Race – it is the world's worst yachting disaster
Keith Castle undergoes the UK's first heart transplant operation at Papworth Hospital
The price of a first class stamp rises to 10p despite the Post Office delivering a record annual profit of £375M – more than £1M per day
The Cars play at the Dr Pepper Festival in New York's Central Park to an estimated audience of over 100,000
When You're Young makes it a hat-trick of Top 20 hits for The Jam

From the ad pages: "Dutch Edam – it's never a round for long"

September
Sci-fi horror movie Alien is released – the "xenomorph" will become one of the most iconic monsters in Hollywood history
"Death Of A Nation" (Daily Mirror) – over five million people have been killed by the murderous Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia
Wolves set a new transfer record by paying almost £1.5M for Aston Villa's Andy Gray
Shoestring airs on BB1 – the first episode "Private Ear" introduces Trevor Eve as the private detective with a radio show
After a journey of six years Pioneer 11 becomes the first spacecraft to visit Saturn
Robin Day hosts the first episode of Question Time on BBC1 – the political debate show is still with us over 40 years later
The Police have the first of five No. 1s with Message In A Bottle

From the ad pages: "Mary Berry's recipe for a rousing cup of tea – a Goblin Teasmade"

October
"Spend All You Want Abroad!" (Daily Mirror) – exchange controls are abolished allowing free movement of capital from the UK
The Invergowie train crash leaves four dead and 49 injured including Scottish footballer Doug Wilkie who is paralysed from the waist down
The final episode of classic comedy Fawlty Towers is broadcast on BBC2
Margaret Thatcher tells Radio Luxembourg listeners that Britain's £1B annual contribution to the EEC is unsustainable
ITV's comedy drama Minder starring George Cole begins on ITV
Electronic games Merlin and Simon go on sale in the UK priced at £10
The Buggles have a massive global hit with Video Killed The Radio Star

At Peter Dominics you can buy a bottle of Golden Oktober Liebfraumilch for £1.99

November
The Iran hostage crisis begins when 500 radicals storm the US Embassy in Tehran and take 53 American hostages
TV series Mighty Micro is broadcast showing the expected impact of computers on our lives in the near future – e-books are predicted
An Air New Zealand DC-10 crashes into Mount Erebus in Antarctica killing all 257 people on board
The final episode of BBC's To The Manor Born draws one of the biggest TV audiences of all time
The Times newspaper is published for the first time in almost a year after industrial action over the introduction of new technology is resolved
Cult comedy Not The Nine O'Clock News airs on BBC2 at nine o'clock
The Jam have their biggest hit to date with the blistering Eton Rifles

Entering a column of 11 crosses on your Vernons Pools coupon costs 22½p

December
The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan with a massive airlift of 280 transport aircraft into the capital Kabul
Eleven fans are killed at a rock concert by The Who in Cincinnati
Star Trek: The Motion Picture premieres in the US – it features most of the cast from the original 1960s TV series
Stuntman Stan Barrett sets a new land speed record in the Mojave Desert as the Budweiser Rocket breaks the sound barrier
The Atari 800 is unveiled as the most graphically advanced home computer
Sebastian Coe wins the BBC Sports Personality of the Year
Pink Floyd's first single in 12 years Another Brick In The Wall is No.1

The number of singles sold reaches an all-time high of 89M