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It’s time for a trip down memory lane with our old friend the cassette tape. Just a smidge over 50 years ago, the cassette was introduced at the 1963 Berlin Radio Show. It was met with interest and intrigue, but settled-in as second fiddle to the rather ungainly 8-track tape and the audiophile celebrated vinyl record. Several decades of advancements in technology helped to improve the cassette’s sound quality, and it eventually catapulted into mainstream demand with the introduction of Sony’s Walkman in the late 1970’s. Several years after Sony’s landmark product release, cassettes were outpacing vinyl sales; it was the “it” medium of music dissemination.



"Awesome Mix Vol. 1" will be released on cassette in November.


Much like vinyl, cassettes eventually fell victim to the thunderous arrival of compact discs (CD)…and the rest is history. The vast majority of us now live in a digital age where music magically appears on our computers and portable devices; record stores are largely a distant memory of a much simpler time.

We’ve recently touched on the resurgence of vinyl sales and its growing collectability. There’s something about vinyl’s physical nature that allows its grooved sounds to excite more than just the ears. There’s a tactile pleasure in handling physical media, something that is completely lost with digital music files. While not as alluring, the cassette’s physical impact isn’t that dissimilar from vinyl. Anyone who remembers rewinding a cassette tape with a pencil, hearing the sound of a tape’s rattle in its plastic case, or popping those top-edge recording tabs that inhibited accidental erasures knows how infuriatingly fun cassettes were to own. The key word being “own,” because analog tapes (much like vinyl and, to some extent, CDs) feel more like an actual possession than any digital file due to their physical nature.

This past summer, the blockbuster smash hit Guardians of the Galaxy made the cassette cool again as Peter “Star Lord” Quill strutted around pocketing one very cool mixed tape. Remember those? Perhaps it's the story's blending of a relic from the past with a deep space future…or maybe it's the sweet tunes the tape stylistically injects into scenes traditionally filled with dramatic theatrical scores...but the presence of the mixed tape in Guardians is a source of security and happiness in the film. Whatever the case, the coolness of Quill's tape struck a chord with an aging Generation X audience that has a special relationship with handcrafting musical mixes.



Peter Quill's cassette deck in Guardians of the Galaxy.


On November 17th the world will be offered a chance to own Quill’s tunes (called Awesome Mix No.1) the way it’s meant to be owned – on an actual cassette. While Disney has already made "Awesome Mix No. 1" available on CD and vinyl, Marvel Music/Hollywood Records (a division of Disney Music Group) will release the album on tape from November 17 – December 31. The limited edition cassette marks Disney’s first cassette release since 2003.

Disney has not announced how many copies of the cassette will be released, but we do know it will only be available at retailers associated with Record Store Day. The cassette debuts just a few weeks prior to Guardians of the Galaxy’s release on DVD and Blu-ray (Dec.9).

Awesome Mix Vol. 1 Track Listing:
1. Blue Swede – “Hooked on a Feeling”
2. Raspberries – “Go All the Way”
3. Norman Greenbaum – “Spirit in the Sky”
4. David Bowie – “Moonage Daydream”
5. Elvin Bishop – “Fooled Around and Fell in Love”
6. 10cc – “I’m Not in Love”
7. Jackson 5 – “I Want You Back”
8. Redbone – “Come and Get Your Love”
9. The Runaways – “Cherry Bomb”
10. Rupert Holmes – “Escape (the Pina Colada Song)”
11. The Five Stairsteps – “O-O-H Child”
12. Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell – “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”


Image Credit: Marvel Music / Hollywood Records
 

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Hey, I haven't even removed my two cassette players from service yet (have not used either in at least three years) :1eye:
Might be fun to pick up a copy just because I can LOL
 

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Makes you wonder if people are going to go out and buy tape decks as well? Do any manufactures even make them any more like Sony or Yamaha other than the really expensive brands like Tascam?
Often you see them pop up on ebay used.
 

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Sold my last deck a few years back (an Onkyo 3 head model). Prior to that I had a few Nakamichi decks, a Dragon (yes!) and a 550 for taping concerts. I sold those many years ago after deciding there was no need to keep up with my tape collection (I had it transferred to digital). The Dragon was just too expensive to keep up to snuff. Wally Hermann, I think, did the last service a few years before selling it. I doubt there are parts (rollers and capstans, mostly) for most of these machines nowadays so finding one is good shape that won't eat a tape is a rarity.

Best of luck!
 
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