Friday, July 18, 2008

I Miss 8 Tracks

I know, I know.

I'm dating myself with this one.

Do you remember 8-tracks? If you're over the age of 40, you should. If you're over 44, you probably had some, or at least your parents or siblings did.

I loved 8-tracks. I loved vinyl as well, and I had both, but there was something so appealing about putting in a tape and letting it play on and on and on. Those of you who have only had music on CD or ipod can't understand the thrill of that concept. During the heyday of the 8-track, cassette decks weren't self repeating, which meant you had to turn the tape over to hear the other side. Same thing with an LP. 8-tracks on the other hand, would play all night long without any attention. Of course, sometimes the tape would start to squeal a little (over tensioned - goes with the technology of the mobius strip), and you would have to pull it out and slap it on your leg a few times to loosen it up. How many of you had a little book of matches in your car to wedge under the tape when it started to drag? (If you smiled at that memory you are old btw.)

I'm listening to my ipod right now, and I'm listening to an album I first owned on 8-track. To this day, I still expect to hear the click in the middle of La Fiesta when it changes tracks.

Are there albums you still remember as strictly an "8-track album? Along with the previously mentioned Maynard Ferguson, there are several I remember from high school that were constant companions in the car; Journey : Evolution comes to mind. Remember how there was no break between Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin' and City Of The Angels? It's not the same hearing it on CD. REO Speedwagon's High Infidelity is another one I remember as an 8-track.

Supposedly, Fleetwood Mac's Greatest Hits (1988) was the last major label release on 8-track. I had let them go by then and moved on to CD's. I pretty much skipped cassettes altogether. I kept buying vinyl until CD's came out, and taped them myself for the car. The last 8-track I ever bought was Bob Dylan's Slow Train Coming.

My kids have never owned a tape or an LP of any kind. They look at my LP collection as something from the dinosaur age. I wonder, will their kids look at today's ipods with the same bemusement?

Yeah, probably.


Anonymous said...

I remember Steely Dan, Pretzel Logic as an 8 track. It was my dad's and I remember him cussing a blue streak when it would unravel in the player. Remember that sound of the player "eating" your tape?

My first LP was Dick Clark's 25 yrs of Rock n Roll. It was also my only LP as, when I turned 10, I got a cassette player "boom box" and Stevie Nicks The Wild Heart for my birthday.

I'm only 37, btw. (You know, that sounded much more impressive when it was "I'm only 25." I think I'll stick with that.)

I'm only 25, btw. (See what I mean?)

seventh sister said...

ZZ Top, Tres Hombres

Anonymous said...

Boston, Journey, Queen, Aerosmith. My sister had a lot of influence over my taste in music back then.

Oh, yeah, ZZ Top, The Eagles, Led Zeppelin and Lynnard Skynnard.

Brave Sir Robin said...

Christina -
Remember that sound of the player "eating" your tape?

God Yes!!!!

7th - Tres Hombres was definitely 8-track material!

dcup - Your sister had good taste. (natch)

SAP said...

Do I remember them?

I think I still have a few around. And a player, too.

Brave Sir Robin said...

SAP - You still have a player?

Damn, I'm impressed. I got rid of my last one that worked in about 1992 or 1993.


I wish I still had mine.

Robin said...

I never had 8 tracks, nor can I remember my parents having a player. My father did have a reel-to-reel player that I learned to record on when I was about 8. I broke the tape in a few months (we only had one).

I did grow up with LP's, though. The first song single I bought myself was Kim Carnes' Bette Davis Eyes, but I did have Convoy and Puff the Magic Dragon on 45 as well. When I was about 14, I can remember our neighbor, who was in her 60's, bringing over 78's to play on my record player, the only time I've really seen those.

My biggest music junkie days were the cassette days, though. I recorded tape after tape from the radio and later amassed a collection of over 100 prerecorded cassettes. Even after I got my first CD player in 1985 or '86, I still bought cassettes more often.

I haven't had a record player since probably 1985 or so, but I held on to my LP's until I left my first husband and moved to NC in 1996. I could kick myself for leaving them behind. The prizes of my collection wer the original Star Wars soundtrack and the original version of Jesus Christ Superstar.

kkryno said...

One of the 8-tracks I remember most is Bob Seger, "Night Moves." My best friend in high shcool and I would ride around in her V-W and listen to that tape, clicking it forward to that song; over and OVER! That was our senior year. We're still best friends, and we reminisce about those times. She was grounded from the car when we showed up with hickies! We were a bit wild at that time! OOHH!!

Bitty said...

Of course I remember them. However, not fondly.

I agree that it was splendid not to have to turn a tape over, but that loud CLICK-CLICK in the middle of songs drove me cra-zee.

Jim Croce's Greatest Hits is the only one I can remember clearly.

Quarter Incher said...

8-tracks were great; the click in the middle and the care you had to take with them (and the repairs often necessary) were part of the fun. Inevitable that they should die but what a great thing it is to ram the tape in the player.

And I didn't get into them until the *90s*! I took the radio out of my 1994 Mitsubishi Galant and put in an 8-track player. A quad. I still remember it like it was yesterday, listening to the Guess Who or John Lennon Walls and Bridges on quad.

(Finally eBayed them all in 1998 and moved to mp3. Hey, they could do no more for me...)