I was recently plugging around in a closet when I spotted it lurking in the semi darkness. I found myself staring at and wondering why, for about forty years, I held onto my JVC cassette deck. My trusty deck and I had some fun back in the day. Tapes, now so long ago, were not terribly expensive. If one was really adventurous, those (probably illegally made) gas station tapes could be had for about a dollar. And then, it seems now, poof, cassettes were gone.
Anyone who does not think we had format wars in the 60’s and 70’s should revisit history. LP’s lead the way. They were the 800 lb. gorilla. The ringleader. Radio occupied a lot of listening time although I personally never considered it the ideal way to play a song.
8 Track tapes were somewhat popular, although never revered for sonic excellence. I don’t know of anyone who did not detest an 8 track changing tracks in the middle of a song. Probably second to the LP was the cassette tape. In fact, cassettes probably put the death nell on 8 tracks and forced reel-to-reel into near oblivion as a consumer product.
Introduced in 1963 by Belgium manufacturing giant Phillips, cassettes were initially intended for dictation machines. As tape fidelity improved, recorded music quickly followed. Cassettes offered something LP’s have never been able to easily accomplish – allow users to make their own recordings.