(...a)nother problem is that almost nobody remembers anything about the 1970s very fondly, partly because the 1960s were a tough act to follow. Yet the 1970s were a time of great artistic ferment, especially in the popular arts. The collapse of the Hollywood studio system enabled Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola to bring their movies to the screen with minimal commercial interference (though test screenings and the millions made by Star Wars and its sequels put an end to that). The original cast of Saturday Night Live broadened the horizons of television sketch comedy. In classical music the composers Steve Reich and Philip Glass made tonality and rhythm and a large vision of the world acceptable again, after several decades of composers who made minute adjustments to the twelve-tone scale. (That Reich and Glass were supposed to be "minimalists" was one of the decade's delicious ironies.) In pop, disco sparked what may prove to have been the last national dance craze, and punk and New Wave set the tone for most of today's alternative rock. Yet all that anyone seems to remember about the 1970s is the sexual promiscuity and the polyester (it was the decade that fashion forgot).

-- Francis Davis, from "Jazz -- Religious and Circus", in the February 2000 issue of Atlantic Monthly