Big talks in Germany, a Tory victory and the death of a music great

Taking a look-back at what was making the headlines in the year 1970.

Thursday, 14th March 2019, 10:17 am
Updated Thursday, 14th March 2019, 11:26 am
In 1970, bachelor Edward Heath was captured on camera as he danced with young conservative ball chairman Susan Hargreaves at the Locarno Ballroom Central Drive, Blackpool
In 1970, bachelor Edward Heath was captured on camera as he danced with young conservative ball chairman Susan Hargreaves at the Locarno Ballroom Central Drive, Blackpool

This week in 1970, thousands of East Germans gathered to greet West Germany’s Chancellor Willy Brandt when he arrived in Erfurt to meet Prime Minister Willi Stoph for talks on improving EastWest relations.

It was the first time the leaders of East and West Germany had met since the country was divided in 1949. As the pair arrived for their meeting, demonstrators shouting “Willy, Willy” broke through police lines to make themselves heard. The crowd changed their chant to “Willy Brandt” to make clear which leader they were supporting.

Brandt wanted to improve relations with East Germany and Eastern Europe and by 1971, he had negotiated treaties with Russia, Poland and East Germany. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his effort. And he was named the Time Person of The Year in 1970.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Jimi Hendrix

In other news, the Conservatives here in the UK were celebrating a record majority in the Bridgwater by-election, after winning by 10,915 votes – the largest in the constituency for 50 years. It was the first time 18-year-old citizens were allowed to vote since the age of majority was reduced from 21 in January a few months earlier. It was also the first time ballot papers were marked with the name of the party as well as the candidates. Conservative party leader Edward Heath said the result confirmed his view that Labour had lost touch with the wishes of the electorate.

“This is a fine result which would give us a massive majority,” said his deputy Reginald Maudling.

“The sooner the Prime Minister faces the electorate, the better it will be for Britain.”

Also, this week in 1970, music icon David Bowie married model Angela Barnett. The couple divorced 10 years later, having had one child together, the film director Duncan Jones.

Willy Brandt

In sport, Martin Peters – who scored for England in their 1966 World Cup final victory over West Germany, became the nation’s first £200,000 footballer in his transfer from West Ham United to London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

“Punk rock” was added to the dictionary, in 1970.

The best-selling children’s book that year was Fantastic Mr Fox, by Roald Dahl.

American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter Jimi Hendrix, died at the age of 27 in 1970. An inquest concluded he died of asphyxia while intoxicated with barbiturates.

American buddy drama Midnight Cowboy – starring Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight – scooped the title of Best Film in the BAFTAs.

A Question of Sport was one of the most-watched TV shows that year. And English actor, comedian and TV presenter Alexander Armstrong, was born in 1970.

The best-selling albums of 1970 were:

1. Elvis Presley – The Wnder Of You

2. Mungo Jerry – In the Summertime

3. Freda Payne – Band of Gold

4. Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water

5. Rolf Harris – Two Little Boys

6. Lee Marvin – Wand’rin’ Star

7. Norman Greenbaum – Spirit In The Sky

8. England World Cup Squad – Back Home

9. Free – All Right Now

10. Christie – Yellow River

11. Edison Lighthouse – Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Grows)

12. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles – Tears of a Clown

13. Dave Edmunds – I hear You Knocking

14. Matthew’s Southern Comfort – Woodstock

15. Dana – All Kinds of Everything

16. Deep Purple – Black Night

17. Andy Williams – Can’t Help Falling In Love

18. Mr Bloe – Grooving With Mr Bloe

19. The Kinks – Lola

20. Shirley Bassey – Something