Cassette Tape – 50 Years Old Now!

Well you may or not know but the audio cassette tape was invented by Phillips fifty years ago. It was launched the following summer. During their heyday of the late 70’s and early 80’s they outsold everything. You could play them on your stereo system, the car and then the personal Hi-Fi. This was most notable by the Sony trademarked ‘Walk-man’. I bought a personal recorder and have to admit I recorded many of the concerts I attended. Sadly most are lost forever.

You could compile great compilations for friends and family, though I not too sure many people enjoyed my varied tastes. They came in various lengths C30, C60, C90 – made famous by the song by Bow Wow Wow. But also there was C120 (minute) tape but they just stretched and broke more often than not. You could fix them usually if they broke by using cello-tape and patience. The C-90 was ideal for taping the live football commentary on the BBC, before the advent of pay TV live games. You just hoped there wasn’t many added minutes. Also you could usually record two albums on the one tape, one on each side.

But like the 6 Track they fell by the wayside with the advent of the Compact Disc. Digital downloads and personal MP3 players finally put the final nail in the cassette’s coffin. I still have a few tapes lying around, most are demos I’ve acquired over the years. I must convert these soon to MP3, otherwise they will oxidise and I’ll lose those rare sounds forever. I do wonder how many of my friends still have those tapes I slaved over to record, making sure they fitted just right. What’s your thoughts on this format which is no longer manufactured anywhere anymore?

About Stevo Music Man

Music fan (Worked in music 79-92, gigs, collector, Indie DJ) Football (LCFC Season ticket), Travel, Read, Swim, Cycle & Internet.
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2 Responses to Cassette Tape – 50 Years Old Now!

  1. artbyphil says:

    It’s interesting that a Sony hi-if I bought only a few years ago still has a cassette player/recorder built in. It doesn’t get a lot of use but can still be handy for taping from the radio.
    In the 70s I remember taping the charts every Sunday night and still have a few of the old tapes surviving which are quite funny to listen to now, oh the nostalgia!

  2. Simon says:

    Nice piece. If you want proof of the humble cassette’s contribution to music production then there are thirty tracks of vintage electronica recorded in bedrooms around the world on cassette between the years 1980-89 here as a free download:

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