By today’s standards, where the world is filled with portable music emanating from iPods, the eight-track tape seems rather (click) antiquated. Big and bulky, the endlessly-looping tape contained within also had this annoying habit of (click) interrupting songs midway through with an audible click as they moved through each of their quadrants. Furthermore, the intended order of songs was often disrupted, and occasionally (click), … long periods of silence lingered between tracks. Having said that, they allowed, for the first time, the ability to bring music of one’s choice into (click) an automobile, as well as a portable listening device – something previously impossible.
The eight-track format was introduced in 1964, with Ford Motors offering factory-installed players by the following year. And, for a time at least, the technology seemed here to stay. Their reign of popularity began to fade in the 70s, however, with the introduction of the smaller cassette tape – showcased by a series of popular ads for Memorex, which featured jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald breaking a glass with her voice. Here’s a sample:
By the time CDs arrived in the 80s, the glory days of the eight-track tape had come to an end. Most sources agree that Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest Hits album in 1988 was the last commercially produced eight-track. Thankfully, a man named James “Bucks” Burnett (who once managed Tiny Tim) has done his part to ensure the former media format will never be forgotten. A collector since 1988, he first set out to compile every Beatles eight-track ever produced, an endeavor that took two years to complete. But that was only the beginning; today, he is the founder of the Eight-Track Museum, located in Dallas, Texas. Let’s take a visit:
What we want to know is – do you still have any eight tracks among your personal property? Even better, do you have a way to play them? Do you have a particular one that you remember listening to all the time? Share those memories of eight-track tapes with us in our comments section. Oh, and a word to the wise, don’t be so quick to put them out at your next yard sale. A copy of a Led Zeppelin tape recently fetched a respectable $152. You may be sitting on a small gold mine.