Old tapes reveal hidden treasures…

No, I’m not referring to the dodgy old video tapes I errr ‘came into possession of’ back in 1982 (those were donated to a charity shop many years ago – I bet poor old Doris is still recovering from the shock!)

I am of course referring to the wonderful collection of memories stored on THESE vintage audio cassettes that I recently rediscovered on another trip up the old ‘loft ladder’ …

As you can see, the TDK D90 was my cassette of choice for recording (ok… ‘stealing’) albums back in the day. Who remembers the “Home Taping Is Killing Music” stickers on record sleeves back in the 80s? Guilty as charged your honour! If I was feeling flush I would upgrade to a TDK AD90 or even an SA-X90 for special occasions. If money was really tight I would simply buy a box of 10 cheap tapes for a quid from our local corner shop ‘Paddys’ and try to make them LOOK like TDKs!

Like many people with a love of music and a limited budget I would often borrow vinyl albums from my mates – or the local library – and tape a copy for my own personal use, neatly filling out the ‘inlay card’ with artists, song titles and the date I recorded it. I would also tape vinyl albums which I HAD purchased (I wasn’t that tight) so that I could play these in the car. Infact the very tape boxes you see in the pictures above would accompany me on many journeys in my Austin Allegro, Ford Cortina, Ford Capri or any other motor I owned in the late 80’s / early 90s before in-car CD players became the norm.

Me, my mullet and ‘tache and my Austin Allegro, June 1987
(tape box out of shot under the passenger seat)

“I have got 3 Easter Eggs… I have got 12 tapes”

Whilst finding these old tapes has proved to be an enjoyable nostalgia trip the best part of this discovery was finding that some of these tapes stored vintage recordings off the radio, recordings of bands that me or my mates dabbled in back in the 1980s (probably best if I don’t share those here) and even my own speaking voice as a 7 year old kid back in 1974! If that wasn’t enough to freak me out a bit I also found a beautiful recording of my mum singing to herself in the kitchen from the same period. That one actually brought a tear to my eye when I heard it again after all these years… (we lost mum in 2019).

Here’s a clip of a 7 year old me – proof if needed that I was already a geek embarking on a lifelong career of collecting crap from a very early age (but I had no more Easter eggs than my little bro!) 😂

Kung Fu Budgies?!

Like many kids in the 1970s or 80s I used to record the charts off BBC Radio 1 on a Sunday night (bath night!) My tape collection includes some very old recordings of the ‘Top 20’ going back to around 1974 when I think I got my first tape recorder as a birthday present. Back then we would record using an external microphone that would pick up lots of background noise, including the chirping of our budgie who would go into overdrive whenever he heard “Kung Fu Fighting” or other chart hits of the day!

Some budgies (not ours) enjoying the Carl Douglas classic from 1974. Two thoughts come to mind here:
1) Did I seriously just Google “budgies Kung fu fighting”? and

TV on the Radio

As I matured into a teenage ‘rocker’ in the late 70s / early 80s (and got a decent Ferguson ‘music centre’ for Christmas) I would start recording clips from the Friday Rock Show hosted by the inimitable Radio 1 DJ Tommy Vance – “TV on the Radio”. My ancient tapes contain some segments from his shows including live recordings from the Reading Festival (1979 and 1980), Donington Monsters of Rock (1984) and Knebworth (1985). I’ve yet to find out if any of this stuff is ‘rare’ but I will definitely be contacting the admins of this brilliant Facebook page – an archive of all Friday Rock Shows from 1978 to 1993 – to find out. It looks like a few episodes are missing so I’m hopeful that my tapes might just fill a gap or two for them…. assuming they are still playable after 40 odd years! I recently bought a ‘tape ripper’ off eBay so that I can convert some of my old recordings to digital and share them with the world. Watch this space or join my Facebook group for updates on this story as it happens. New members are always welcome (see social media links elsewhere on this page) 😜

More cracking artwork – the legendary Rush show from the Pinkpop Festival in Holland, 1979 (taped off the Friday Rock Show)
One of my earliest Top 20 chart tapes which I’ve dated to 1974. Note “Ian and Lee talking” at the start of side 1 and “Kung Fu Fighting” at the end of side 2 – especially for the budgie!

Do you still have any old tapes of the charts or other shows off the radio? Maybe you still have recordings of you as a kid?! Leave some comments below or join the conversation over on our Facebook group or Twitter!

My 70s Glam Rock Childhood

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6 thoughts on “Old tapes reveal hidden treasures…

  1. Fantastic post loved this I’ve got some just like it.
    You really took me back in time
    This must have taken ages do much attention to detail.
    Thank you do much

    1. Hi mate. I don’t have the facility to put it onto CD but might make it available to download when I get time in the new year. I will let you know when I do. Ian

  2. Brilliant article mate, brought back so many memories for me, I first started recording off the radio and TV in the sixties on my dad’s Grundig reel to reel tape recorder, graduating to a Ferguson cassette recorder in the seventies, in late 69 I sat listening to John Peel on a Saturday afternoon where I heard Hendrix’s Star Spangled Banner from Woodstock, luckily the Grundig was by my side and my mind was totally blown listening to it for the first time, my tapes are all gone now but not before I bought a gizmo that let me record them onto i tunes and then my i pod, along with my 300 odd albums, obviously I’ve still got those, took me six months to do it, reading your article brought it all back and made this 70 year old rocker happy

    1. Great post mate, thanks for sharing your story. It’s great to be able to listen to old recordings isn’t it.
      I’ve only recently got all of my old vinyls back out and purchased my first turntable in over 30 years. I am really enjoying re-discovering all my classic rock and metal albums again. It’s keeping me entertained for hours (although I’m not sure my wife is a fan!) 🙂

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