8-Track Tapes And Other Memories

8 Track Tapes Watercolor Illustration - Doodlewash

Today, for our prompt of “Red Tape,” I initially thought of the actual idiom which applies to an excessive adherence to rules and formalities. Anyone who reads my posts on an even semi-regular basis knows I’m not a fan of rules, so my mind wandered elsewhere. Way back in time to the 70’s, when I was just a little kid and 8-track tapes were still around. These are those gigantic tapes that were eventually phased out of retail stores by 1982. I’ve mentioned before that my family got a new car when I very young that was ultra-modern and had a cassette player in it. When asked what I thought of the new car, I responded that I hated it! My mother asked me why and I simply said, “No more Ray Charles.” That soulful 8-track was my favorite. So, today was my opportunity to honor that moment in a sketch. Of course, the red tape on top had to be the more popular music of the time known as disco. My parents were not fans so I don’t think we actually had an 8-track like this, but I secretly loved those songs that would play on the radio. I would happily sing along with I Will Survive, though I had no idea what any of it really meant. But, I grew up rather fearless, so perhaps it affected me after all.

I loved music so much when I was a kid. It was like learning another language and I wanted to learn all I could. It’s not at all surprising that I ended up performing in musicals as I got older. Though, these days, I only sing while riding around in the car. Philippe adores music as well and this is one of the things that connected us in those early years. He would make playlists for me that I would listen to while often crying when returning home from Paris, still wondering what the hell we were doing and how this could ever possibly work out. Music made it all seem possible. Perhaps my drama background made me certain I was starring in my own movie where a happy ending was just around the corner. Yet, I have to adore that feeling as it was the very thing that got me through the toughest moments and made me actually believe the impossible might just happen. That’s a rather amazing thing that I’ve learned in my personal journey. Belief is a powerful source indeed. If you choose to believe something is possible, it really just might happen. Sure, it certainly can’t work for everything, like becoming a millionaire, but it can always work for the things that truly matter.

Those things are small or big for their size like 8-track tapes. They are the little things that bring true joy and remind us of the best bits of life. A song that touches our heart in a way we can’t quite express. There’s just a simple joy of knowing that particular bit of music and words are exactly what we are feeling in that moment. Or perhaps, that song made us feel something more powerful than we were even imagining at the time. Songs are amazing because they’re essentially poetry set to music. A wild and wonderful combination of arts that come together to make the most incredible impact on our hearts. As a young boy, I used to write and sing songs on the piano. I wasn’t amazing, but some of the songs were actually singable and all of them had a message or story. I love my past because it’s equally part of my present. I’ve not become someone new, I’ve just journeyed to another place and time. So when my little self and my current self come together, we always sing the same song. It’s a song that’s at times random and impulsive, but a perfection reflection of the creator. And, it’s also why I’ll suddenly show up to share a thought about 8-track tapes and other memories.

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Day 29 - 8 Track Tapes Watercolor Illustration_IG
Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
18 Comments
  1. Sandra Strait 3 months ago

    I think I had both of those 8-track tapes, lol! I can’t carry a tune, and have never found it easy to read music (I’m bad at math and I think they’re related). Nonetheless, I’ve always loved music and rebought my favorites in record, 8-track, cassette, and cd sand most of those I’ve stored in digital format. I did enjoy searching out all my old favorites and exulted as I found each one. I suppose it’s the same with life. You keep losing and finding the important things. They’re just a little different in some way when you do, but all the better for it.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      I totally agree, Sandra! 😃💕 These memories are perfectly awesome! Though they might not match up exactly, the remembering is the real gift! And yeah, I was a total nerd and good at math… lol… so I could read music well. Which, is totally bizarre because I don’t enjoy math at all, but thankfully love music!

  2. Sharon Nolfi 3 months ago

    I somehow skipped the era of 8-tracks and never owned any. As a young teen, I had 45 records and a mono record player, and by the end of high school, I owned a stereo and a collection of record albums. It was 1968, and album covers were an art form. My collection grew and joined with my husband’s. He also had a better stereo! At some point, in the early nineties, we got cassettes, which we never liked. Later we got cds, but now it’s all digital. Our old albums are sitting in the garage, holding a lot of memories.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Those are awesome memories to be sure in your garage! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, my dad was an audiophile so we always had the “latest” gadgets for playing music. 8-tracks were a bit of a blip on the spectrum though. 😉

  3. Karen Fortier 3 months ago

    Oh Charlie it seems like just yesterday that my husband and I finally got rid of our 8-track collection. We still have our LPs. My younger siblings managed to get their hands on my 45s when I left for college. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Oh wow! That’s awesome, Karen! 😃💕 Love that you still had your 8-tracks! My dad loved tech so we were always upgraded immediately. My childhood was a blur of technologies! lol

  4. Lisa 3 months ago

    Edge of 17 by Stevie Nicks! That’s the album that to this day still defines my mid-teens. Those days of angst and anger and boy crazy nights driving the main drag of our little town hoping to be noticed because we were bold, or shy by turns. Once I turned 18 we were out in the bars dancing to disco and rock. I’m from a very touristy area, so there were a lot of live bands and we loved it all. I don’t miss those days really, but I do find myself nostalgic when the music pops up on the “oldies” radio! 😂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Oh yay for Stevie Nicks! Awesome choice! 😃💕 hehe… those old days sound like they had quite a few adventures! Yeah, I don’t miss mine that much either, but sometimes… it’s super fun to recall them!

  5. StickyMangoRice 3 months ago

    Very nice throwback to memories of old technology. Funny how we can get so attached to a Game Boy, or a CD player!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      I know right? hehe… I loved whatever was current! 😃💕 It was always so amazing!

  6. LoriCtoo 3 months ago

    I don’t remember my first 8 track, but I was a teenager with a car at the tail end of them. Music plays such a role in our memories. Lately my husband and I have been listening to the ’70’s music channel on Fridays instead of watching tv. It’s fun when some memory pops out of my head! Thank you for taking me back to my early years with these tapes! They look just like them!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕Yeah, music has such a powerful effect on our memories. It’s always fun to take a listen down memory lane. Philippe and I do that a lot and though sometimes it’s the same music, there are lots of French songs I never knew, but am now glad I DO!

  7. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 3 months ago

    What a wonderful story, Charlie. I remember 8 tracks but my first memory was of a small radio on my desk. At 13, my dad gave me one of the best gifts I ever received – a turquoise transistor radio. I’d listen as much as I could to pop songs, many titles of which I still remember. Life seemed full of possibilities when accompanied by music, and the singers knew all my worries and dreams.

    There is so much to be said for music. It enters and surrounds our lives so much that we remember specific songs in relation to our most momentous life events. I nearly always have music playing in my head in the background of whatever else I’m thinking. I suffer terrible insomnia and try to sing Hebrew prayers in my head in order to sleep. But if I listen to my own voice, I can’t find the right key. So I listen to a male tenor (Andrea Bocelli, who has probably never sung Hebrew prayers) and then I can relax.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      That’s the best line ever, Sharon… “Life seemed full of possibilities when accompanied by music, and the singers knew all my worries and dreams.” I adore that! ❤️ So true! And I share your sleep problems actually… my mind never wants to shut off properly. But, I think it’s just a sure sign of a creative spirit… ridiculously restless and unwilling to be contained. Irritating to be sure, but golden when you take advantage of it! 😉

  8. Mary Roff 3 months ago

    I don’t ever remember owning 8 tracks though I must have. What I do remember is a group I worked with signing up for disco lessons and dragging our husband/wives to them…mine showed up every time direct from work, which at the time was road construction. Work boots are NOT dancing shoes. We still laugh about that adventure…and no, we never really did do any disco dancing outside of class. LOL!!! 🙂 Thanks for another trip down memory lane!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Aww that’s awesome, Mary! 😃💕Glad this took you on a trip down memory lane. Yeah, 8-tracks seem a bit like a blip in technology, but my dad always had the latest and greatest around. lol Now, of course, I’m just picturing your husband dancing to disco in those works boots! Awesome!!

  9. smzang 3 months ago

    “I secretly loved those songs that would play on the radio”

    and suddenly Donna Summer is singing “On the Radio”
    and in my mind’s eye, that silver ball is spinning silver sparkles
    from ceiling to floor. You have brought back an era with just one
    sentence, an epoch with your painting of that 8 track tape.
    Thank you!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Oh wow! That’s awesome! I love seeing my prose through your eyes… it comes out more sparkly like a disco ball! Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕

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