The People History Home

1977 Major News Events in History

  1. Star Wars opens in cinemas
  2. First Apple II computers go on sale
  3. TV Mini Series "Roots" is aired
  4. First commercial flight Concord
  5. Elvis Presley Dies at the age of 42
  6. Roman Polanski is arrested and Charged
  7. New York City Blackout lasts for 25 hours
  8. Alaskan Oil Pipeline completed
  9. Quebec adopts French as the official language
  10. UK Jubilee celebrations

More Detailed Information on each Event and those not included can be found below

New York City Blackout

The New York City Blackout lasts for 25 hours and results in looting and disorder.

More Information and Timeline For the New York City Blackout

1. On July 13th
2. 8:37 PM Lightning strike at Buchanan South, a substation on the Hudson River, trips two circuit breakers in Westchester County.
3. 8:42 PM Second lightning strike caused the loss of two 345 kV transmission lines, and the loss of power from a 900MW nuclear plant at Indian Point.
4. 8:45 PM Con Edison, the power provider for New York City attempts to start fast-start generation no one was manning the station, and the remote start failed.
5. 8:55 PM Third lightning strike takes out two additional critical transmission lines at Sprain Brook
6. 9:14 PM Con Ed operators initiated first a 5% system-wide voltage reduction and then an 8% reduction.
7. 9:19 PM Final major interconnection to Upstate NY at Leeds substation tripped due to thermal overload.
8. 9:19 PM Due to Leeds substation tripping the increased load on other substations cause them to trip
9. 9:22 PM Long Island Lighting Company opened its 345 kV interconnection to Con Edison to reduce power that was flowing through its system and overloading 138 kV submarine cables between Long Island and Connecticut
10. 9:27 PM The biggest generator in New York City, Ravenswood 3 (also known as Big Allis), shut down. ending power in to New York City
11. 9:29 PM The Goethals-Linden 230 kV interconnection with New Jersey tripped
12. 9:29 PM Con Edison system automatically began to isolate itself from the outside world through the action of protective devices that remove overloaded lines, transformers, and cables from service
13. 9:36 PM The entire Con Edison power system shuts down
14. During Blackout LaGuardia and Kennedy airports were closed for 8rs,
15. During Blackout Most of the television stations in New York City were off the air
16. During Blackout 4,000 people had to be evacuated from the subway system
17. During Blackout Wide Spread Looting, vandalism and Arson in every poor neighborhood in the city
18. During Blackout 1,616 stores were damaged in looting and rioting
19. During Blackout 550 police officers injured during the civil disorder and 4,500 looters arrested
20. July 14th
21. 10:39 PM 25 hrs later at 10:39 Power is fully restored

Following the power failure additional protocols were put in place to stop a complete system failure from happening again. Many reasons have been given for the Wide Spread Looting, vandalism and Arson that occurred during the blackout including the financial crisis in the country and in New York City, the heat wave causing tempers to flare and due to no air conditioning more youths on the streets, the fact that the blackout happened after dark etc. etc. What ever the reasons or excuses used for the breakdown of law and order in a civilized society during times of crisis leaves many of us wondering what drives those people to do what they do.

USA -- Atari Released in North America

The Atari 2600, also known as the Atari Video Computer System, was first released during September News Events in North America. The Atari 2600 was the first major at home video game console to become popular. It originally launched with 9 different games and was sold for $199.00. The Atari 2600 came with 2 joysticks and the game cartridge for the game “Combat.” The success of the system was mediocre at first but it became more popular in 1980 with the release of the game “Space Invaders,” a popular arcade game, for the system. Over time, millions were sold worldwide. Eventually, the early video game market crashed in 1984. It was discontinued in the early 1990s.

USA -- Elvis Presley Dies

The “King of Rock and Roll,” Elvis Presley, is found dead of an apparent heart attack at the age of 42. Presley died suddenly at his mansion Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. Fans around the world mourned his loss. Presley began his career as a teenager in the early 1950s and he was soon catapulted into international stardom with his first single “Heartbreak Hotel” in 1956. Known for his distinctive voice and controversial dance moves, Elvis also starred in several musical films. Ranking as one of the highest selling solo artists in history, fame took its toll on the singer. He struggled with drug abuse, health issues, and a divorce from his longtime partner Priscilla, in the final years of his life.

Cost of Living 1977 - How Much things cost

How Much things cost in 1977

Yearly Inflation Rate USA6.5%

Year End Close Dow Jones Industrial Average 831

Interest Rates Year End Federal Reserve 7.75%

Average Cost of new house $49,300.00

Average Income per year $15,000.00

Average Monthly Rent $240.00

Cost of a gallon of Gas 65 cents

A few More Examples


Renault Gordini $6998,00

BMW 320i $7990.00

Barbie Road Trip with Motor Home, Dune Buggy and a Bicycle $72.95

Wrist Worn AM Radio $7.95

5 inch Portable TV $147.00

New Stereo System $247.95

Middletown, New York
Ranch 3 bedrooms , 2 baths , living room family area and double garage $33,000

Below are some Prices for UK guides in Pounds Sterling

Average House Price 13,650

Gallon of Petrol 0.79

Yearly Inflation Rate UK 15.8%

Interest Rates Year End Bank of England 7.00 %

Australia - Federal Elections

1. Australia holds federal elections on December 10 News Events. All 124 House of Representatives seats and 34 of 64 Senate seats were contested.
2. The Liberal/National Coalition lost five seats and the Australian Labor Party gained two seats.
3. Malcolm Fraser retained his leadership position as the head of the Liberal/National coalition and won a second term as Prime Minister.
4. Due to compulsory voting there was a 95% voter turnout.
5. In the two party preferred vote the Liberal/National coalition won 54.60% and the Labor Party won 45.40%.
6. In the popular vote, the Labor Party won 39.65%, the Liberal Party won 38.09%, and the National Country Party won 10.01% of the vote.

Israel - Egyptian Leader Visits

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat makes a historic visit to Israel during November. It was the first step towards establishing a long-term peace agreement between Egypt and Israel. His visit lasted 36 hours, during which he addressed the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) and met with Israel’s Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Sadat was the first Arab leader to visit Israel and his visit was widely condemned by other Arab nations who had no interest in negotiating peace with Israel.

The US returns the Panama Canal back to Panama

More Information and Timeline For the Panama Canal back to Panama

1. 1904 Isthmian Canal Commission gains control of the Panama Canal Zone over which the United States exercises sovereignty
2. 1905 to 1914 Planning and construction of the Panama Canal
3. 1914 The Panama canal is 47.9 miles long joining the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean
4. 1914 Panama Canal formally opened on August 15 with the passage of the cargo ship SS Ancon
5. 1950 to 1974 Panama Protestors dispute ownership of the Panama Canal by the United States
6. September 7th 1977 Following negotiations the Torrijos-Carter Treaties is signed which begins the process of granting the Panamanians free control of the canal so long as Panama signed a treaty guaranteeing the permanent neutrality of the canal.
7. 1999 Panamanian control effective at noon on December 31st when the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) assumed full control of the waterway.
At the peak of the protests over U.S. control when many Panamanians felt that the Canal Zone rightfully belonged to Panama student protests were met by the fencing in of the zone and an increased military presence, protests culminated in riots in which approximately 20 Panamanians and 3–5 U.S. soldiers were killed on Martyr's Day, January 9, 1964,.

United States -- Commodore PET Computer Released

The first all-in-one personal computer, the Commodore PET, was introduced as a prototype at the Consumer Electronics Show during January of 1977. PET stood for “Personal Electronic Transactor” and was the world’s first PC to be sold to regular retail consumers. It came equipped with a monitor, keyboard, and a cassette tape drive and was originally priced at $495.00. The price increased to $595.00 as the product proved to be popular. The original Commodore PET had just 4 kilobytes of memory but the company soon offered an upgraded model with 8 kilobytes of RAM.

India - Indira Gandhi Resigns

Prime Minister Indira Gandhi resigns from office.

More Information for the resignation of Indira Gandhi

India’s Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, resigns from office during March of 1977 after losing her seat in the general election. The daughter of India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, Gandhi had been involved in India’s politics most of her life and had been serving as Prime Minister since 1966. During the 1970s she had consolidated her power after being accused of corruption and had faced unrest from the opposition. After she resigned she was expelled from parliament but was soon re-elected in 1980, becoming Prime Minister again until her death.

The first Apple II computers went on sale

More Information and Timeline For the Apple II Computer

1. 1976
2. April 1st Apple Computer, Established in Cupertino, California by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne to sell the Apple I personal computer kit
3. July The Apple I computer was nothing more than fully assembled circuit board containing about 60+ chips including microprocessor, ROMs and RAM, to make a working computer, users still had to add a case, power supply transformers, power switch, ASCII keyboard, and composite video display
4. July The First Apple I personal computer kit goes on sale for $666.66
5. 1977
6. January 3rd Apple Computer incorporated by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak
7. April 16th Unlike the original Apple I which was just a circuit board with no case etc. the Apple II was a leap forward included a case, keyboard, Power Supply and nearly everything except a screen to have a working personal computer making them available to a much wider audience.
8. April 16th The Apple II was introduced at the first West Coast Computer Faire
9. on June 5th The Apple II goes on sale for base price of $1298 rising to $2638 dependent on installed memory
The original Apple II tech spec used a MOS Technology 6502 microprocessor running at 1 MHz, 4 KB of RAM, an audio cassette interface for loading programs and storing data, and the Integer BASIC programming language built into the ROMs. The video controller displayed 24 lines by 40 columns of monochrome, upper-case-only text on the screen, with NTSC composite video output suitable for display on a TV monitor, or on a regular TV set by way of a separate RF modulator. The Apple II series of computers with refinements and upgrades were produced until production ceased in November 1993.

Trans Alaskan Oil Pipeline

The Trans Alaskan Oil Pipeline opens on on May 31st

More Information and Timeline For the Trans Alaskan Oil Pipeline
1. 1973
2. October 16th OPEC announced a decision to raise the posted price of oil by 70%, to $5.11 a barrel
3. October 17th Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC (consisting of the Arab members of OPEC, plus Egypt, Syria and Tunisia) proclaimed an oil embargo in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military" during the Yom Kippur war
4. October 26th The Yom Kippur War ends with Israel controlling significantly more land
5. November 5th Arab producers announce a 25% output cut Oil reaches $12.00 a 6 fold increase on 12 months earlier
6. November 7th Project Independence ( to achieve energy self-sufficiency for the United States by 1980 ) announced by U.S. President Richard Nixon
7. November 7th Project Independence consisted of ( energy conservation 55 mph imposed ), Alternative Energy ( converting oil power plants to coal ) and building of Trans-Alaska Pipeline System
7. November 8th Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act created to push through construction in spite of objections
7. November 16th Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act signed into law by President Richard Nixon
8. 1974 Work begins on Trans Alaskan Oil Pipeline ( 800 miles ) that conveys oil from Prudhoe Bay, to Valdez, Alaska.
8. 1977 First oil travels through pipeline from
Alaska current oil production is estimated between 10 to 15 percent of U.S. production, this would have not have been possible without the construction of the Trans Alaskan Oil Pipeline which carries approximately 700 thousand barrels per day.

Spain -- First Elections Since Franco

Spain held its first democratic elections in 41 years during June, two years after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975. These were the first elections held in Spain since 1936, just before the Spanish Civil War began. The voter turnout was 78.8% and the coalition party UCD (Unión de Centro Democrático) won the most votes with 34.4% of the total. The socialist party PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrero Español) had the next most votes with 29.3%. There were also several other political parties that each won less than 10% of the vote. The results meant that UCD leader Aldolfo Suárez became the first Prime Minister of Spain since the Thirties. The UCD won 165 seats in the Congress of Deputies, PSOE won 118, and the remaining 67 seats were split among the other parties.

USA -- Star Wars Premieres

The first Star Wars film, Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, premieres on May 25. The epic science-fiction adventure was written and directed by George Lucas and starred Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Alec Guinness in the lead roles. It was a huge success, breaking box office records upon its release and it became a popular franchise with the subsequent release of film sequels, cartoons, and merchandise. The film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards and it won six including Best Visual Effects and Best Original Score. The film was especially notable for its special effects at the time as the film’s creators pioneered several effects methods to achieve their desired results while making it.

United States -- Saturday Night Fever Premieres

The popular film “Saturday Night Fever” is released during December. John Travolta played the movie’s lead “Tony Manero” and the role helped launch his film career. It also starred actors Karen Gorney, Donna Pescow, and Barry Miller. It was a drama that was based on an article written by Nik Cohn in New York Magazine that was later revealed to be made-up. The plot revolved around the contrast between Tony Manero’s bleak and hopeless everyday life and the excitement of his life on the dance floor every weekend as a competitive disco dancer. Travolta was nominated for an Academy Award for the role. The soundtrack consisted almost entirely of disco songs by the Bee Gees and was credited with popularizing the disco scene.

United States -- Pelé's Final Match

Brazilian soccer star Pelé played his final professional game before retiring on October 1st. Considered by many to be the greatest soccer player of all time, Pelé began his career in the mid-1950s. His final game was an exhibition match between the Santos, his first professional team, and the New York Cosmos, his final professional team. Pelé played for the Cosmos during the first half of the game and then switched teams to play with the Santos during the second half. The Cosmos won 2 to 1. During his career he helped win three FIFA World Cups for Brazil’s national team and has the record of most career goals scored with 1,281.

United Kingdom -- The Clash Debut Album

The Clash release their first album “The Clash” during April at the beginning of the punk rock music era. The Clash, a British band, were one of the first punk bands to achieve commercial success. Band members included Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, and Nicky Headon. The band reached the pinnacle of their success in 1979 with the release of their album “London Calling.” By the mid-1980s tensions pulled the band apart and in 1986 they officially broke-up.

Soyuz 24 space mission

More Information for the Soyuz 24 Mission.
During February of 1977 the Soviet Union launched the Soyuz 24 space mission. The mission carried cosmonauts Viktor Gorbatko and Yuri Glazkov on what would be the last purely military space station mission by the Soviet Union as well as the final mission to visit the Salyut 5 space station. The crew successfully completed their mission objectives and landed back on Earth eighteen days later. As a Soviet military mission, they were likely conducting reconnaissance as well as experiments.

More News and Key Events From 1977

UK Strikes

British Public sector trade unions including Firefighters strike for wage increases over the 10% ceiling imposed by the British government

Steve Biko

Student Leader Steve Biko "dies in custody" in South Africa

Beverly Hills Supper Club fire

165 people die in Beverly Hills Supper Club fire on May 28th

Jimmy Carter

  • Jimmy Carter Takes Over as President of United States
  • President Carter grants pardon to American Draft dodgers of the Vietnam War Period
  • Jimmy Carter President of United States warns that Americans need to make profound changes in their Oil Consumption

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr

The Medal of Freedom was awarded posthumously to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr

Bermuda Race Riots

In Hamilton, Bermuda British soldiers are called in to control race riots in the city

Bucharest Earthquake

Bucharest Earthquake - kills more than 1,500

Amnesty International

Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to Amnesty International

Menachem Begin

Menachem Begin a center-right politician for the Likud party became Israel's sixth prime minister.

India Cyclone

Cyclone in India kills 20,000 and leaves 2 million homeless

Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski is arrested and charged with a number of offenses including rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child

Seattle Slew

Seattle Slew becomes only the 10th horse to win Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing consisting of the Kentucky Derby On May 7th , Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes

Jubilee celebrations

Jubilee celebrations are held 7th June in the United Kingdom to celebrate twenty-five years of Elizabeth II's reign

Ashtar Galactic Command

'Vrillon' of the 'Ashtar Galactic Command', hijacks The ITN Nightly News at ITV Southern Television for six minutes

Kelly Barnes Dam fails during the night

Kelly Barnes Dam fails during the night, killing 39 people from the small bible college "Toccoa Falls Bible Institute" in Georgia .

Canary Islands

Two 747 jumbo jets collide at Tenerife Airport in the Canary Islands

US Population reaches 216 million

US Population reaches 216 million


Opium Perfume introduced


The last execution by guillotine


Four Palestinian hijackers hijack a Lufthansa airliner demanding the release of 11 imprisoned members of Germany's Baader-Meinhof terrorist group, also known as the Red Army Faction

1977 Mens and Womens Fashion Clothes

Part of our Collection of Clothing From The 1970's Fashion

Fashion Clothing Examples From 1977

Toys From The Year 1977

1977 Toys

Popular Culture 1977

  • Record company EMI sacks the controversial UK punk rock group the Sex Pistols.
  • Star Wars opens in cinemas and filmgoers line up for hours to see it
  • The TV Mini Series "Roots" is aired on ABC winning top audience figures, 9 Emmys and a Golden Globe
  • Never Mind The Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols is released
  • The Clash release their first album "The Clash "
  • Perhaps most important in Popular Culture is the development of punk music. from groups like the Ramones, Iggy Pop's ,Clash, Elvis Costello, The Stranglers, and the Sex Pistols
  • The King " Elvis Presley" Dies at the age of 42 from a heart attack August 16

Popular Films

  • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
  • Rocky
  • Smokey and the Bandit
  • A Star Is Born
  • Saturday Night Fever
  • King Kong
  • The Deep
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • Annie Hall

Popular Musicians and songs

  • Rod Stewart
  • Stevie Wonder with " I Wish "
  • The Eagles with " Hotel California and New Kid in Town "
  • The Bee Gees with " How Deep is your love "
  • Barbra Streisand
  • Barbra Streisand
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • Wings
  • Hot Chocolate

Popular TV Programmes

  • Little House on the Prairie
  • Happy Days
  • All in the Family
  • Charlie's Angels
  • Sanford and Son
  • Rhoda
  • Three's Company
  • The Love Boat
  • Barney Miller

Born This Year in 1977

Orlando Bloom January 13th
Shakira February 2nd
Sarah Michelle Gellar April 14th


  • The first Apple II computers went on sale
  • NAVSTAR Global Positioning System GPS Inaugurated by US Department of defense
  • The first ever Quadraphonic concert in London by Pink Floyd
  • The first commercial flight Concord London to New York
  • The first MRI Scanner is tested in Brooklyn
  • NASA space shuttle makes its first test flight off the back of a jetliner
  • Voyager I and Voyager II are launched unmanned to explore the outer solar system

Inventions Invented by Inventors and Country ( or attributed to First Use )

MRI Scanner USA by Raymond Damadian

Calendar For The Year 1977

1977 Calendar

Major World Political Leaders

Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser

Brazil President Ernesto Geisel

Canada Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau

China Chairman of the People's Republic of China Post Abolished

France President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing

Germany Chancellor Helmut Schmidt

India Prime Minister Indira Gandhi Till 24 March

India Prime Minister Morarji Desai From 24 March

Italy Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti

Japan Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda

Mexico President José López Portillo

Russia / Soviet Union
First Secretary of the CPSU Leonid Brezhnev

South Africa Prime Minister Balthazar Johannes Vorster

United States President Gerald Ford Till January 20,

United States President Jimmy Carter From January 20,

United Kingdom Prime Minister James Callaghan