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1 hour ago, Pariah said:

Lou Ottens, Inventor Of The Cassette Tape, Has Died

 

In fond memory, a question: What was the first cassette tape you ever owned? (Alternately, what was your favorite cassette tape back in the day?)

 

The first cassette that I bought with my own money was The Cars' "Heartbeat City".

 

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Found this one.  First one I bought with money was

 

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Cassette tapes came a few crucial years too late for our most important use of tapes, which was voice letters both ways while Dad was in Viet Nam 1967-68.  Little reel-to-reel tape players were what was available at the time.

 

I had a cassette player a couple years later, but I bought almost no tapes for it.  I couldn't connect it to anything, its speaker sucked, so the fidelity was nothing compared to the old phonograph-stereo, which had a big reel-to-reel tape unit as a separate piece of the stereo system.  Its speakers were not up to the standards I had once I was in my twenties, but it was way ahead of cheap little cassette machine.

 

Much later I had more impressive cassette drive as part of my component system, but even then I didn't buy prerecorded cassettes; I assembled collage tapes with CD as the source.

 

That said, one such collage tape played an important role in me finishing my PhD.  I was dealing with depression that last semester, and while I could lose about one day in ten to that, I couldn't lose two.  So the "Hope/Despair" tape was a key part of way to get back out of the deep funk.  I'd play the Despair side to get all the way down as quickly as possible, and then once there, use the Hope side to rebound out of it.  I do not recommend this as a way to handle depression, but since I had a very hard deadline, calendar days of functionality mattered more than anything.

 

I blundered across the tape back at the start of the pandemic while I was looking for something else, so it's in arm's reach as I type this, a talisman from 35 years ago.

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First cassette I bought with my own money was The Police's Synchronicity.  But the thing I loved about cassette tapes was the ability to make mixed tapes for myself, my friends, and my then girlfriend (now wife).  Music has such an emotional impact, and the cassette tape made it relatively easy to share that with other people in a way that was very personal.  Now there are other ways to do that, but the cassette tape was the progenitor technology for song sharing.

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I'm pretty sure is was Billy Joel's Glass Houses. There's a chance, though, that it was Pat Benatar's In the Heat of the Night.

 

I know for sure that the first CD I bought was XTC's Skylarking, and the second was Jethro Tull's Original Masters.

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