The Humble Cassette

This post has nothing to do with food, gardening or travel.

It is nostalgic though.

While cleaning the back guest bedroom (which is usually just used as a catch-all storage room—read junk room), I found a stash of cassette tapes.   Some of these artifacts date back to the mid-80s.

This is a cassette. Cassettes were recordable units similar to a CD. People used to share music this way.

(No, I did not find any 8-tracks!   Shame on you.    I just celebrated a birthday but I am NOT that old!)

This collection covered an eclectic array of musical trends as my tastes shifted.

What did I find in these archives?

  • Some rockabilly (Stray Cats and The Honeydrippers)
  • What I would call arena-style rockers (Def Leppard, Scorpions, Quiet Riot, Motley Crue)
  • Some Vivaldi, Aaron Copeland, and Clannad.
  • Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, Indigo Girls, Nine Inch Nails (vintage stuff), Go-Gos, Blondie, Joan Jett, Eurythmics, Berlin, George Strait, Adam Ant, Cyndi Lauper, Toby Keith (the early years), and lots of mixed tapes.  🙂

This morning on the way to work, I grabbed a mixed tape with a long-ago faded label.   (Yes, my car still is equipped with a cassette player.)   I popped it in.

To my surprise it was Michelle Shocked, that “skate board punk rocker” from Texas.    I still remembered every word to almost every song.     A few memories flooded my brain:

  • Sharing music with friends via the “mixed tape” format.  (Remember this was way before Napster, which is even outdated today.)
  • The friend who made this particular tape for me.
  • Seeing Michelle on stage at a Farm Aid concert in the early 90s.   (We had two back stage passes we were sharing with another family.   My best friend and I were so bummed when our mothers came back from their turn and told us they had seen her up close but they really didn’t recognize her until she was on stage.     When we went back stage, we did meet Bruce Jenner and Dennis Hopper so that more than made up for it.)

And of course a “mixed tape” discussion could not be fully finished before the romantic mixed tape was mentioned—those sappy things that you would make for each other in a relationship’s infancy.

My goal this week is to reach my hand in my jumbled box of vintage cassettes each morning and play a surprise “blast from the past” on the way to work.

I am sure that each cassette will spark a different memory.

12 comments to The Humble Cassette

  • My husband found his shoebox of cassettes in the back of the closet just last weekend! His are older than yours and of course we had 8 track tapes as well. In fact, one of them is in a shadow box collage I made about a specific artist along with a cassette of the artist as well. We have Eagles (first run)and many others – yep, it’s a great trip down memory lane!

  • The Mom Chef

    I still have some cassette tapes too. And, boy, are those mixed tapes a blast from the past. I came along as 8 tracks were on their way out, so I never did own any. I was, however proud of the fact that at one point I had Pink Floyd’s The Wall in LP, cassette, CD and VHS.

  • This is so cool Debra, and I love how you explained under the photo what a cassette is. Some younger people really may not know! Crazy. We still have a few cassettes too, but most of them are ones we recorded ourselves b/c we sold most of the band-released ones on eBay back in the early 2000’s. I love listening to my Dad’s recordings of him playing the guitar in the early 80s, esp the ones where you can hear me and my sister. Danielle was an infant and was crying a lot in one and at the end of his song, I said, (I was 2 years old): “Daddy, I don’t like all that noise.” lol

  • I can’t say I’ve had the pleasure of memories coming back from finding old cassettes but when I find a song I haven’t heard for years, I grin like crazy 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  • We still have lots of them in the cellar 😉 My husband even bought a cassette player last year to listen to all of them.

  • When we cleaned out the house this summer for a garage sale I found a couple of boxes of these little beauties. Still love the music that we recorded on them! Isn’t it fun to find things like this?

  • We still have cases full of cassettes here. And even some 8 tracks 😉 I’m old…lol! Funny how some will never know of these mysterious things! I just found a few in the back of the drawer the other day.