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1976 History, Trivia and Fun Facts

<< - 1975

1976 History Snapshot

  • Politics: by law, no United States officer can outrank George Washington. He was posthumously promoted to Six-Star General in 1976.
  • The Top Song was Tonight's The Night (Gonna Be Alright) by Rod Stewart
  • The Big Movies included Rocky, To Fly! and A Star is Born
  • Price of a dozen eggs: 69 cents
    Price postage stamp in 1976: 13 cents
  • The World Population was ~ 4,080,000,000
  • US Life Expectancy: Males: 69.1 years, Females: 76.8 years
  • Stretch Armstrong stretchy action figure was released in 1976.
  • Palpatine: The first mention of the Emperor's name and backstory was actually in the 1976 novelization of the original Star Wars screenplay. The movie came out six months later.
  • Memes: The word 'meme' was first used by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, as an attempt to explain the way cultural information spreads.
  • And... Sylvester Stallone wrote the script for Rocky in 3 and a half days by hand with a bic pen.

World Series Champions

Cincinatti Reds

Superbowl X Champions

Pittsburgh Steelers

National Basketball Association Champions

Boston Celtics

NHL Stanley Cup Champions

Montreal Canadiens

1976 Sports Highlights

Romanian gymnast Nadia Comanici earned the first "perfect 10's" in the Olympics, seven all together.

Bruce (now Caitlin) Jenner won the Olympic decathalon

US Open Golf

Jerry Pate

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

Jimmy Connors/Christine Marie Evert

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Bjorn Borg/Chris Evert

NCAA Football Champions


NCAA Basketball Champions


Bowl Games

Orange Bowl: January 1, 1976 - Oklahoma over Michigan
Rose Bowl: January 1, 1976 - UCLA over Ohio State
Sugar Bowl : December 31, 1975 - Alabama over Penn State

Kentucky Derby

Bold Forbes

Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

Jo Ni's Red Baron of Crofton

Time Magazine's Man of the Year

Jimmy Carter

Miss America

Tawny Godin (Saratoga Springs, NY)

Miss USA

Barbara Peterson (Minnesota)

Fashion Icons and Movie Stars

Adrienne Barbeau, Jacqueline Bisset, Christie Brinkley, Carol Burnett, Valerie Bertinelli, Diahann Carroll, Lynda Carter, Charo, Angie Dickinson, Britt Ekland, Farrah Fawcett, Karen Graham, Margaux Hemingway, Lauren Hutton, Iman, Kate Jackson, Beverly Johnson, Jessica Lange, Mary Tyler Moore, Dolly Parton, Bernadette Peters, Suzanne Pleshette, Diana Ross, Jacquelyn Smith, Suzanne Somers, Donna Summer, Yvette and Yvonne Sylvander, Lindsay Wagner, Mary Woronov

"The Quotes"

- Sylvester Stallone, in Rocky

"One of these days, I'm gonna get myself organized"
"You talkin' to me?"
-Robert De Niro, as Travis Bickle, in Taxi Driver

"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"
- Peter Finch, in Network

"Is it safe?"
- Laurence Olivier, in Marathon Man

"Meow, meow, meow, meow..."
- Song from Meow Mix commercial

1976 Pop Culture History

Before 1976, Black History Month was Negro History Week, which was created in 1926 with the hope that it would be eliminated once Black history would become fundamental to American history.

On April Fool's Day, the BBC convinced many listeners that a special alignment of the planets would temporarily decrease gravity on Earth. Phone lines were flooded with callers who claimed they felt the effects.

Steve Wozniak questions the long-accepted date of 'Day One' at Apple, which is April 1, 1976. Wozniak calls that account "murky."

Richard Dawkins coined the word 'meme' in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. He created the concept as an analogy to the gene, a small unit that spreads and replicates for it's own survival. He wanted to show evolution doesn't apply only to biological entities.

In 1976, Japan donated 53 bonsai trees to the US for its bicentennial, including a white pine that had been tended daily since 1625 and survived the Hiroshima atomic blast. Its history was unknown until 2001, when two brothers showed up at the museum to check on their grandfather's tree.

Canada is the only host nation in the history of the games not to win a gold medal in their own Summer Olympic Games (Montreal 1976).

Apple Computer was formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. The first computer, reports say, sold for $666.66.

Frontier Airlines hired the US's first female pilot captain (Emily Howell Warner).

A group of Minnesota-based companies founded the 'Five Percent Club', pledging to give 5% of pretax earnings to philanthropic causes. This club, now known as the Keystone Program, still exists to this day.

'Bear', a novel about "a lonely librarian in northern Ontario who enters into a sexual relationship with a bear" won the Canadian Governor General's Literary Award.

The Trix Rabbit was finally allowed to eat a bowl of Trix Cereal as a result of the 1976 "Let The Rabbit Eat Trix" contest. He had them again in 1980. #sillyrabbit

The Ebola virus is named after a nearby river Ebola where the first victim was identified in 1976.

There were no red M&Ms from 1976 until 1986.

During filming of an episode of the Six Million Dollar Man, the crew discovered the mummified corpse of Elmer McCurdy, an Oklahoma outlaw being used used as fun-house prop Mccurdy had died in a shootout in 1911 and his body had been used ever since as a sideshow attraction. His discoverers only realized it was a human body when his arm broke off, revealing bone and muscle.

While accepting the Grammy for Album of the Year in 1976, Paul Simon thanked Stevie Wonder for not releasing an album that year. Wonder had won the award in 1974 and 1975 (and would win it again 1977).

Writer Tom Wolfe declared the '70s the "Me Decade".

Lennon and McCartney almost reunited on SNL in 1976. They were watching Saturday Night Live together in NYC when Lorne Michaels offered the whole band $3000 to turn up and play. The pair thought about over heading down and taking half each.

Andre the Giant set the world record for number of beers consumed in a single sitting by drinking 119 12oz beers in six hours. Roughly two gallons of beer an hour. #donttrythisathome

There are no US Quarters minted with the date 1975. All quarters from 1975 and 1976 were dated as 1776-1976.

The mysterious intro and outro of Gary Wright's 1976 hit Dream Weaver inspired Freddy Kruger and the first Nightmare On Elm Street film, according to creator Wes Craven.

The face of the $2 bill has not been changed since 1976 and the bill has no security features because the $2 bill is counterfeited too infrequently to warrant a change

Pinball was banned in NYC as a gambling device until 1976, when Roger Sharpe testified by playing pinball in the courtroom while calling out precisely what he was going to shoot for and scoring - showing that it's a game of skill and not chance.

VHS released, and eventually won the war with Betamax tapes, although most agree it was an inferior product.

Universal Studios sued Sony and its distributors in 1976, alleging that because Sony was manufacturing a device (Betamax) that could be used for copyright infringement, they were thus liable for any infringement committed by its purchasers. Essentially trying to kill videotape recording. Courts ruled that home taping was 'fair use'.

Sweden's most profitable corporation was pop group ABBA.

Albert Einstein did not want his house in Princeton to be made into a museum or memorial. Nevertheless, his home still became a National Historic Landmark in 1976 although the National Park Service did not publicize this fact to respect his wishes.

Ronald Wayne was a third cofounder of Apple, along with Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. In 1976, he sold his 10% share of the company for $800. Today, his 10% would be worth of 35 billion dollars.

Cost of a Superbowl ad in 1976: $110,000

In the 1976 Olympics, Nadia Comaneci of Romania became the first gymnast in Olympic history to score a perfect 10.0.

Japanese gymnast, Shun Fujimoto, broke his knee at the Olympics in 1976 but didn't tell anyone and performed miraculously despite his injury, winning his team the gold medal.

RIP, Scandals, Sad and Odd News

Sesame Street episode 847 featured Margaret Hamilton reprising her role as the Wicked Witch of the West from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. It scared children so badly that the episode has never been re-aired.

John Carpenter's 1976 film Assault on Precinct 13 received an X rating by the MPAA for having a little girl murdered on screen, which they cut from the film for re-review, they then received an R rating and then re-added the footage back into the film for cinematic release.

Movie Star Violent Death: Sal Mineo (stabbed)

Margaret Thompson was the first woman to win an Olympic medal in a shooting sport (silver) in 1976 after tying with the gold medal winner, Lanny Bassham. When the Olympic committee refused a shootoff, the gold medalist pulled Thompson onto the gold medal platform with him.

When Meryl Streep auditioned for the lead role of 1976's King Kong, producer Dino De Laurentiis commented to his son in Italian: "She's ugly. Why did you bring me this thing?" He was shocked when Streep replied to the insult in fluent Italian.

Elizabeth Ray claimed that her only duty for her $14,000 a year job was to have sex with congressman Wayne Hays.

Carol Burnett successfully sued the National Enquirer after they published an article claiming she had gotten into a drunken altercation with Henry Kissinger at a restaurant.

In 1976, doctors in Los Angeles went on strike, and the mortality rate dropped 18%.

Albert Spaggiari robbed a bank for 10 million dollars, was arrested, went to court, distracted the judge, and jumped out of the courtroom window onto a waiting motorcycle. Despite giving a televised interview and writing multiple books, neither Albert nor the money was ever found.

Firsts and the Biggest Christmas Gifts

Odyssey 300, Atari Pong Doubles, Atari Super Pong, Coleco's Telstar, Wonder Wizard Game Console, Stretch Armstrong, Raw Power (bicycle sound effect)

The ink-jet printer was invented.

Hollywood Star Magazine (1976-1981)

Starlog Magazine (1976-2009)

The Habits

Listening to Peter Frampton's Framptom Comes Alive album
Reading Trinity by Leon Uris

1976 Biggest Television Shows

(according to Nielsen TV Research)
1. Happy Days (ABC)
2. Laverne & Shirley (ABC)
3. M*A*S*H (CBS)
4. Charlie's Angels (ABC)
5. The Big Event (NBC)
6. The Six Million Dollar Man (ABC)
7. ABC Sunday Night Movie (ABC)
8. Baretta (ABC)
9. One Day at a Time (CBS)
10. Three's Company (ABC)

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1976 include
Barry Manilow, The Bay City Rollers, The Bee Gees, The Bellany Brothers, Boz Scaggs, Brick, The Brothers Johnson, The Captain & Tennille, The Commodores, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Earth, Wind & Fire, Elton John, Eroc Carmen, Fleetwood Mac, Gary Wright, Johnnie Taylor, KC & the Sunshine Band, Kiss, Lou Rawls, Natalie Cole, Neil Sedaka, The O'Jays, Ohio Players, Olivia Newton-John, Paul McCartney & Wings, Paul Simon, Peter Frampton, Queen, Rod Stewart, Rufus featuring Chaka Kahn, Silver Convention, The Spinners, Starland Vocal Band, Stevie Wonder, The Sylvers, Tavares, Wild Cherry

(Data is complied from various 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 1976

December 27, 1975 - January 2, 1976: The Staple Singers - Let's Do It Again

January 3, 1976 - January 9, 1976: Bay City Rollers - Saturday Night

January 10, 1976 - January 16, 1976: C. W. McCall - Convoy

January 17, 1976 - January 23, 1976: Barry Manilow - I Write the Songs

January 24, 1976 - January 30, 1976: Diana Ross - Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)

January 31, 1976 - February 6, 1976: Ohio Players - Love Rollercoaster

February 7, 1976 - February 27, 1976: Paul Simon - 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover

February 28, 1976 - March 5, 1976: Rhythm Heritage - Theme From S.W.A.T.

March 6, 1976 - March 12, 1976: The Miracles - Love Machine (Part 1)

March 13, 1976 - April 2, 1976: The Four Seasons - December 1963 (Oh, What a Night)

April 3, 1976 - April 30, 1976: Johnnie Taylor - Disco Lady

May 1, 1976 - May 7, 1976: The Bellamy Brothers - Let Your Love Flow

May 8, 1976 - May 14, 1976: John Sebastian - Welcome Back

May 15, 1976 - May 21, 1976: The Sylvers - Boogie Fever

May 22, 1976 - May 28, 1976: Wings - Silly Love Songs

May 29, 1976 - July 9, 1976: Diana Ross - Love Hangover

July 10, 1976 - July 23, 1976: Starland Vocal Band - Afternoon Delight

July 24, 1976 - August 6, 1976: The Manhattans - Kiss and Say Goodbye

August 7, 1976 - September 3, 1976: Elton John and Kiki Dee - Don't Go Breaking My Heart

September 4, 1976 - September 10, 1976: Bee Gees - You Should Be Dancing

September 11, 1976 - September 17, 1976: KC and the Sunshine Band - (Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty

September 18, 1976 - October 8, 1976: Wild Cherry - Play That Funky Music

October 9, 1976 - October 15, 1976: Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band - A Fifth of Beethoven

October 16, 1976 - October 22, 1976: Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots - Disco Duck (part 1)

October 23, 1976 - November 5, 1976: Chicago - If You Leave Me Now

November 6, 1976 - November 12, 1976: Steve Miller Band - Rock'n Me

November 13, 1976 - January 7, 1977: Rod Stewart - Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)

The Top 40 Songs of 1976*

*according to Billboard Magazine*
1. Tonight's The Night (Gonna Be Alright) - Rod Stewart
2. Silly Love Songs - Paul McCartney & Wings
3. Don't Go Breaking My Heart - Elton John & Kiki Dee
4. Disco Lady - Johnnie Taylor
5. Play That Funky Music - Wild Cherry
6. December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night) - The Four Seasons
7. 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover - Paul Simon
8. Kiss and Say Goodbye - Mahhattans
9. If You Leave Me Now - Chicago
10. Love Hangover - Diana Ross
11. Afternoon Delight - Starland Vocal Band
12. (Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty - KC & The Sinshine Band
13. A Fifth of Beethoven - Walter Murphy
14. Disco Duck (Part 1) - Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots
15. I Write The Songs - Barry Manilow
16. Love Rollercoaster - Ohio Players
17. Boogie Fever - Sylvers
18. Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To) - Diana Ross
19. You Should Be Dancing - Bee Gees
20. Let Your Love Flow - Bellamy Brothers
21. Convoy - C.W. McCall
22. Welcome Back - John Sebastian
23. Love Machine (Part 1) - The Miracles
24. Theme From S.W.A.T. - Rhythm Heritage
25. Saturday Night - Bay City Rollers
26. Rock'n Me - Steve MIller Band
27. The Rubberband Man - Spinners
28. Get Up and Boogie (That's Right) - Sliver Convention
29. Dream Weaver - Gary Wright
30. All By Myself - Eric Carmen
31. I'd Really Like To See You Tonight - England Dan and John Ford Coley
32. Right Back Where You Started From - Maxine Nightengale
33. You'll Never Find (Another Love Like Mine) - Lou Rawls
34. Love Is Alive - Gary Wright
35. Love To Love You Baby - Donna Summer
36. The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald - Gordon Lightfoot
37. Love So Right - Bee Gees
38. Misty Blue - Dorothy Moore
39. Let 'Em In - Paul McCartney and Wings
40. You Sexy Thing - Hot Chocolate

Popular Movies

All the President's Men, Bound For Glory, Carrie, The Enforcer, Freaky Friday, Logan's Run, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Marathon Man, Network, The Omen, The Outlaw Josie Wales, Rocky, Silver Streak, Taxi Driver

More Pop Culture History Resources

Popular Music in 1976
# 1 Hits of 1976
Pop Culture News

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pop, as in 'popular' :(adjective) Pertaining to the common people, or the people as a whole as distinguished from any particular class.
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