The Tape

(edited 7 May 2024)
It occurred to me that most of my first comment was actually part of this post, so I moved it (unmodified). Look at the end of this post to see it.

I was cleaning out the truck this evening, and I found The Tape. I can’t believe it. Over 21 years ago, I was passing the time on a summer afternoon recording songs off the radio on my dad’s cassette radio. Basically, if a song sounded interesting, I kept it. I ended up filling up most of one of those good old cheap “low noise” C-60 cassettes.

A couple of those songs became pretty important to me (see this post and this one for two references). Most of it, though, was just random music I found interesting. It’s a real slice of memory that I’m glad I dug up. The cassette itself is going in a case in my “memory box” for safe-keeping (though I don’t know how much longer it will last).

However, now that I’ve had a chance to listen to it again, I’ve decided to dig up all the music in digital form and turn “The Tape” into “The CD”.  A lot of the songs I already had, of course. All but one of the rest were available from iTunes.

Anyway, just for fun, here it is:

Side A:

  1. Caribbean Queen by Billy Ocean
  2. Everything She Wants by Wham!
  3. Smooth Operator by Sade
  4. Every Breath You Take (AKA “The Stalker Song”) by The Police
  5. Walking On Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves
  6. The Search Is Over by Survivor
  7. I Saw The Light by Todd Rundgren

Side B:

  1. One More Night by Phil Collins
  2. Angel by Madonna
  3. Invisible by Alison Moyet
  4. Late In The Evening by Paul Simon
  5. Possession Obsession by Hall & Oates
  6. Can’t Fight This Feeling by REO Speedwagon
  7. One Night In Bangkok by Murray Head (from the Chess soundtrack)

(text moved from my comment follows)

This tape is actually pretty odd for a few reasons. For one thing, I really wasn’t that much of a radio listener then (and we didn’t have cable, so no MTV). This is probably one of a handful of times before about 1990 that I listened to pop radio for more than a few minutes at a sitting. I really didn’t get fully into radio until I started working for gas money (see this post).

So, to give you an example, I had no clue who most of these artists were for quite a few years after I recorded the tape (and I still didn’t know at least two of them until last night). It took three years for me to discover the title, and more importantly the artist, for “Search”, which undoubtedly became my favorite song. I can literally trace my love of power ballads back to this exact tape.

Another thing is that it shows that my tastes were actually a little bit broader then. Later, when I discovered who some artists were and started picking out music, my tastes narrowed quite a bit. They’ve since broadened again, but it’s interesting to me, for instance, that I latched onto a Paul Simon song. Even now I wouldn’t really peg myself as a particular fan of his music. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I really had no concept of “genre” at that point. I either liked the music or I didn’t. I hadn’t started sorting music into any other kind of mental bin yet.

Finally, keep in mind that this tape was recorded in the space of one day from a single pop hits radio station in Florence, Alabama sometime in 1984. I think that speaks volumes for how much better of a selection of music you used to hear years ago. There’s obviously the hand of a creative DJ behind this list. I can’t see a modern conglomerate-based radio station doing anything like that these days.

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