The Era of Compact Audio Cassettes

The Era of Compact Audio Cassettes

So after the early morning radio and MS Subbulakshmi (which I dealt with in my previous blog) my friends I’ll talk to you about the era of compact audio cassettes.

The era of Compact Audio Cassettes

The era of compact audio cassettes

Hello, my Dear Friends!

Home to School without FM music

I would get ready for school listening to all the Classical stuff on Radio and walk out of home to the bus stop. There was literally no music (except for the music room at school which is another story and I shall be visiting it some other time) when I traveled from home to school. Can you imagine there was no Radiomirchi or RedFM, Fever 104.4 etc or any other of the FM channels in India today…as there was no FM radio at all?

Bollywood Hits…. but not on my radio…

When I got back home I would get to hear the then latest Bollywood music like “I am a disco dancer, Qurbani Qurbani Qurbani, disco deewane aha etc. And can anybody’s guess how I listened to these latest so-called hits, which were the most irritating numbers that my purist classical listening father could have ever heard?  No not the radio…. The music seamlessly entered my bedroom through the windows from where ever they were being played in the vicinity neighborhood. I was fascinated by them and to pass time would listen to them standing near the windows of my room.

Poor Acoustics

The associated cacophony was due to the fact that they were played on cheap music systems or tape recorders with horrible acoustics. It was difficult to believe back then, that these songs actually became raving hits and when I listen to them today I love them so much and I do get a very nostalgic feeling. All said and done they were beautiful numbers and they bring back such lovely memories.

The Compact Audio Cassettes and Two in Ones

Every household had a cassette player. As I said it was the era of compact audio cassettes.  These cassette players were usually made by Phillips and were quite commonly seen to be in use till a few years ago. They were more popularly known as Two in Ones. They had a tape recorder and a radio both in one device, something like a multifunctional device of those times. My friends were proud owners of the latest audio cassettes, especially the latest hits from Bollywood and also English hits.

We at home also had a number of audio cassettes. You guessed it – all Carnatic Classical music! There were cassettes of Maharajapuram Santhanam, Madurai Mani Iyer and the likes, the stalwarts of Carnatic Music of the time. When I requested my Dad to buy me the latest hit cassette, he politely reminded me to concentrate on my studies. I had to study to become a super qualified doctor after all.

The tape winding pencil

Every now and then, I remember vividly, the cassette getting stuck as the tape would roll on to itself and get twisted. It would be a major effort to meticulously unwind it and set it right and this always needed a pencil. Since I provided the tools (pencil) needed to repair the mangled tape my reward was that I got to listen to more music! Guess? Yes, correct again Carnatic Classical stuff. So, my readers, that was the era of compact audio cassettes.

the era of compact audio cassettes

LP’s and Spool players

My Father was a very well read cultured gentleman. He had done his doctorate from Belgium. It’s rare to hear someone’s Dad studying abroad in that era, isn’t it? My mother too studied her Master’s in engineering there and to my credit, I did my nursery education there too. So my Father turned out to be a collector of sorts. When they got back to India they got all the household stuff that they had at Belgium, including a Grundig spool player and a classical wooden turntable LP player with lots of LP’s. If you were wondering what LP was it is Long playing records.

A word of thanks

So would you like to guess what LP records we had and how I enjoyed music with it? Carnatic Classical? Of course but surprise surprise! That’s how I listened to ABBA and Boney M…

So dear friends so much for now. I sincerely thank you for visiting the blog and reading this article. Do follow me and keep yourself updated with this beautiful ongoing story. More about ABBA, Boney M and the likes. I shall also talk about the spool player and LP record player! So …coming your way soon…

Have a happy musical day!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. It was nice reading your recollection of the era of audio tapes. I remember my father bought a Sharp two in one, a rage those days and it was really well used to. I liked that I could record any music I wanted if I did not have it. I would record songs from the tv sometimes and even the radio. The quality was passable but the joy that it brought was is what is memorable.

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