The 8-track, a plastic cartridge containing an endless loop of magnetic tape, revolutionized how and where people could listen to music. While browsing through the Museum’s artifact storage, I found myself fascinated by a recordable 8-track deck. Depending on your personal aesthetics, its design isn’t much to look at. But, in this case, function far outweighs the form.
Montgomery Ward Airline brand recordable 8-track
tape deck, c. 1975
Chicago History Museum purchase, ICHi-68420
In conversation, the 8-track conjures much emotion, derision, even a sense of mystery. Is there a more often maligned example of music technology from American pop culture history? We love to hate it, love to love it, love to be curious about it. While I grew up within the 8-track generation, I confess I never had a player of my own (the coveted relic from my childhood is the Disco Barbie record player). But I remember listening to a Gloria Gaynor 8-track at my neighbor’s house and knowing when 8-tracks went out of fashion in the early 1980s. > Read the rest of this entry
> Read the rest of this entry