Are You Old Enough To Remember 8-Track Tapes?
Today is eight-track tape day – a day to remember a system of enjoying music in your car back in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s era. Back then people bought vinyl records and used a turntable to play ‘em, but you couldn’t play ‘em in your car. So to solve that problem eight-track tapes were introduced.
Eight-track cartridges were about the size of two I-phones placed on top of each other and they were wound with ¼-inch recording tape on an endless loop. They were called eight-tracks because they had four stereo sound tracks.
In 1964 and ’65 the major record labels began issuing their entire record catalogs in eight-track tape form and for the next 15 years that’s the way people enjoyed their favorite albums while on the go.
They were pretty dependable and the sound was great but sometimes in the middle of a song when the tape was coming to the end of its loop it would switch to the next track with a kind of “ka-thunk” sound. Very aggravating especially when you were singing your favorite song at the top of your lungs.
By the early 1980’s nearly all of the major record labels stopped issuing eight-tracks in favor of cassettes. Cassettes in turn were replaced by CD’s.
Here’s a 1970’s Radio Shack TV commercial for an eight-track player. It made me laugh.