The 80's tapes

posted by Jeff | Saturday, August 8, 2015, 11:03 PM | comments: 0

I've said many times that music has very much provided a soundtrack to my life. I can listen to certain songs or albums and be transported to a time I would otherwise not remember a lot of detail. It's particularly so of the music I listened to in high school and college.

My senior year of college, I worked for a commercial radio station on the weekends. Annoyingly, I spent three of those 10 hours running one of the countdown shows (sometimes it was American Top 40, other times Rick Dees). The resulting boredom gave me a chance to do other things, and one of those was to compile some 80's music mix tapes. Back in those days, the radio stations subscribed to a service that got the licenses to compile music into CD's. There were compilations that came out every couple of weeks with the current stuff, but they also had library discs that had the older stuff. This meant there was a gold mine of stuff from which to make a mix tape. (MP3's were a long way off at that point, let alone the automation that dominates radio today.)

Over a few weekends, I did some mix tapes on cassettes that were really the best of 80's radio. I still have those tapes somewhere, complete with neatly computer printed liner notes. I need to find those. When digital music became the norm, I started doing playlists, the modern version of the mix tape, but I don't have any that go beyond 1992. I want to see what I thought was really fantastic from those days and recreate those playlists. I often think of that era as a wasteland for popular music, but the truth is that there was some good stuff that was released in those days. I'm probably atypical of people my age, because most of my listening habits are restricted to new stuff, specifically the alt rock rotation. Then I hear something like Simple Minds' "Don't You" and I'm reminded of the gems from that era.

I wonder where those tapes are... I know they've moved all over the country with me.


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