The demise of the 8-track
So far (as near as we call recall) Best of the 80s has been all about singing the praises of things that arrived in our favorite decade… never pointing out how happy we were to see some things come to their unceremonious end.
There were, of course, plenty of items that met their sweet demise during the 80s, but we can think of nothing that we greeted with more of a hearty “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out” than 8-track tapes.
With the arrival of the CD in 1982, clearly something had to give. Cassettes were still doing okay for themselves… but suddenly 8-tracks seemed more outdated and silly than bell-bottoms.
Aside from just being cheap, breakable plastic pieces of junk (owners of 8-tracks were well-versed in terms like capstan, head, and pinch roller), there was also the issue of not being able to rewind, and fast forward consisted solely of skipping ahead to one of four ‘chunks’ of songs… assuming your 8-track player even had the four buttons in the first place.
Sure, they were infinitely more portable than record players… but that’s about the only nice thing we could say about 8-tracks.
The end of 8-tracks obviously started in earnest in 1982 with the dawn of CD, but somehow they were able to hold on for a few more years. In fact, depending on who you talk to, the last 8-track ever produced was Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest Hits in 1988.
These days you can actually score vintage 8-tracks on eBay (for a measly $249, Stryper’s To Hell with the Devil could be yours), but we’re not sure why; generally ‘nostalgia’ only applies to things that have some kind of inherent or sentimental value…
…but “good riddance” are the only words that come to mind when we think of 8-tracks.
We ♥ the demise of the 8-track.