06 August 2012
80s Facts - Cassettes And CDs...
A mid-1980s TDK audio cassette. Keep a pencil handy.
Those were the days! In the early 1980s, audio cassettes, launched in the 1960s, finally outsold vinyl records and were clearly the preferred technology. This was, in part, due to the rising popularity of the Sony Walkman, launched in England as the Sony Stowaway in 1980. Apparently, pop group Bow Wow Wow were the stars of the first commercially released cassette single in the world ever, which was also released in 1980. Appropriately, the subject matter of the song was cassettes - C30, C60, C90 Go!
Doesn't seem that exciting now? It didn't at the time either, so don't worry.
Of course, cassettes were great fun - recording the Top 40 off Radio 1 on your dad's hi-fi or your radio cassette, hearing the music warble, go muffled and then cut out as the machine ate your tape, re-spooling tapes with the aid of a pen or pencil - we now look back at it all with gooey-eyed nostalgia.
The 1980s were undoubtedly the heyday of the audio cassette, but the shoulder padded era also launched the compact disc - 1983 saw its debut in England.
Now That's What I Call Music 4 in 1984 was the first Now to appear on CD and contained a selection of songs featured on the vinyl and cassette versions.
Curiously, many retro-loving youths of today, brought up with sophisticated iPods, CDs, etc, have a soft spot for the dear old cassette.