Saturday, July 26, 2014

8-track

Last night I watched this DIY/ indie film called So Wrong They're Right on 8-track tapes and the people that still collect them.  8-track tapes were the big rage in the late 60's and into the 70's.  I remember a friend that got his first 8-track tape machine for his car, and picked up Cream's Disraeli Gears for his first excursion into the medium.  He played that over and over and over again, particularly liking the cut, Sunshine Of Your Love.  It might have been enough to burn me out on listening to the psychedelic album, but actually I still love it, and Cream as a band as well. 

When the 8-track phenomena hit it was big deal.  Granted I was already a music fan, and collected vinyl.  It was still my favorite medium for music, because I just didn't spend that much time in my automobile.  However, I remember my parents gave me and my brother a small portable 8-track player for the home, so we started buying some of the tape cartridges as well.  It became difficult to decide which way to buy the album:  8-track or vinyl?  I don't remember how I made the decision, because I had a limited budget.  But I do remember music stores use to have huge displays of 8-track tapes, and there was even 8-track exchange music stores that would allow you to exchange two 8-tracks for a new tape or a new "used" tape or something like that.  Plus they'd have a 8-track machine set up so you could listen to some of the used tapes and decide it you liked it or not.  I always enjoyed doing that as you could listen to a lot of music that way and discover things you were curious about.  That wasn't an option when buying the vinyl.

One of the things I wondered about while watching the documentary was if they people being interviewed were stretching the truth a little bit because as I remember it, the medium was horrible.  Granted it had pretty good sound quality, but the tapes broke in about two months or so.  Moving tape just has so many obstacles and is not that great a medium.  That's another reason VHS and Beta are a dead medium as well or nearly so.  At any rate, it was a fun romp down memory lane.

Here's a link to the full one hour and thirty minute film. 

3 Comments:

At 10:47 AM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

I wasn’t a fan of the 8-track in the 70s either. I preferred the compact cassette (introduced 1963) to the 8-track since the size was more convenient and the sound quality was comparable, but most of my friends preferred the 8, often wiring kits into their cars and trucks. A lot of cars back then had 8-track stereos preinstalled, of course – my mom’s Toronado among them. Though the compact format survives just barely, “compact cassette” was removed from the Oxford English Dictionary in 2011, which doesn’t bode well.

Eric Clapton is still on my shelf, too: “The Cream of Clapton” compilation album and the Derek & the Dominos “Layla” vinyl double-album that I bought in 1970. From his cream days, I was more inclined to overplay “White Room,” but I can’t fault “Sunshine.”

 
At 8:05 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

Richard, I listened to Wheels of Fire the other day--a two record set when it was released on vinyl. I used to prefer just the studio album, but now enjoy both albums--the studio and live album.

I got heavy into cassettes too once you could buy the home components to add to your stereo systems. I still have many of the cassettes that I recorded over the years. I even had one unit that would allow you to hook up microphones into it and record in stereo, which I actually used from time to time. Eventually they started putting the cassette in cars, and it was a fairly reliable format, moreso than 8-track ever was. My mother's Buick came with both a cassette stereo and a CD. It was a great stereo.

 
At 8:06 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

Richard, I listened to Wheels of Fire the other day--a two record set when it was released on vinyl. I used to prefer just the studio album, but now enjoy both albums--the studio and live album.

I got heavy into cassettes too once you could buy the home components to add to your stereo systems. I still have many of the cassettes that I recorded over the years. I even had one unit that would allow you to hook up microphones into it and record in stereo, which I actually used from time to time. Eventually they started putting the cassette in cars, and it was a fairly reliable format, moreso than 8-track ever was. My mother's Buick came with both a cassette stereo and a CD. It was a great stereo.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home