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Subject: Mix tapes... there's something people don't seem to do for people anymore

Written By: ChuckyG on 09/25/08 at 4:30 pm

Here's some most excellent hand labeled mix tape (and just plain copies) covers that someone did...

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3187/2705256259_0a6741c03a_b.jpg

http://flickr.com/photos/lazlo/sets/72157606391429584/

I remember making mix tapes all the time for people.  There have been some attempts lately at making websites to imitate it with mp3s, but they either get shut down by the record companies, or just don't seem to capture the spirit of what mix tapes were all about.  With mp3s, it's too easy to jump a track if you don't like it. With a cassette, if you didn't like a track you'd have to either finish listening to it or listen to silence for a minute while you sped past it.  The person making the mix tape, if it was for someone else, would have to try and figure out what the other person liked, pick a proper order that would make sense, and make it fit within time limits of the media.  There was a lot of setup time involved if you were picking different groups from different collections.  A 90 minute tape could require 2 or 3 hours to put together and record. If you didn't own records or tapes, you'd have to grab the tracks from the radio or maybe make a trip to the library.  Since the person receiving the tape knew that it required an investment of time, there was a certain obligation to give it a proper listen and discuss it.

I attached a few screenshots from some tapes I did in the early nineties.  I was using Microsoft Word at the time, and had kept the labels I made for some of the tapes I did.  I only found a handful of mix tapes, the rest are lost to time I suppose.


Subject: Re: Mix tapes... there's something people don't seem to do for people anymore

Written By: Henk on 09/25/08 at 4:58 pm

Mix Tapes...Used to make them a lot, back in the days - mostly for my own pleasure. Still got the tapes, but I hardly ever play 'em anymore.

When I had the time I really turned the sleeves into works of art. Had to be handwritten, of course...

Here's one from a series of tapes I made in the early 1990's ("The Singles Collection" - this is Vol. 6). Hope you can decipher my handwriting.

http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/2/17/785141/SinglesCollectionVol6.jpg

Subject: Re: Mix tapes... there's something people don't seem to do for people anymore

Written By: Paul on 09/25/08 at 5:11 pm


When I had the time I really turned the sleeves into works of art. Had to be handwritten, of course...

Here's one from a series of tapes I made in the early 1990's ("The Singles Collection" - this is Vol. 6). Hope you can decipher my handwriting.


No problems there, I can read them okay...and quite a compilation it is, too!  :)

Almost full marks, but I'll deduct a point for the inclusion of Jimmy Nail... :P  ;)

Being a cheapskate, mine were mostly culled from radio stations, where you had to be quick on the 'pause' button when the DJ commenced his spiel... ;)

Subject: Re: Mix tapes... there's something people don't seem to do for people anymore

Written By: midnite on 09/25/08 at 6:11 pm

Hahaha. Impressive tunes there.  I missed the mix tape phenomenon but made mix-CDs for those lucky ladies and friends. LOL.

As you mention, I do remember recording songs off the radio and spending hours staring at the radio - waiting and waiting for that song that I wanted to record.  Then finally hitting the pause button (late) to record.

Subject: Re: Mix tapes... there's something people don't seem to do for people anymore

Written By: Foo Bar on 09/25/08 at 9:38 pm

Mix tapes rocked. 

The other challenge was that when you were composing one, the fastest that you could fast-forward/rewind through a track was 10-20 seconds.  Unless you knew a lot about your own music collection, you might spend 2-3 minutes just choosing a track.  No skipping through 500 tracks to find the right mix withn 5 minutes.  No alphabetical sorting of a 10000-song playlist to find out whether you had any remixes that were 4 minutes long, because you only had 5 minutes of tape left.

Balancing this was the fact that your music library was measured in "hundreds" of songs, not "thousands".  You couldn't just bounce through 100 songs to find one that worked.

The results, however, were worth it.  I kept a box of old tapes around for no apparent reason, and then, after getting a car that was so old that it only had a cassette tape as an input mechanism, realized the old mixes had stood the test of time. 

My only regret was that I'd been picky to make sure that the stuff I'd taped off the radio didn't have much (if any) DJ banter on it.  With the benefit of a decade or so of hindsight, it was awesome to hear my old favorite live-to-air DJs jumping into the broadcast again.  Wish I'd recorded more of 'em.

Subject: Re: Mix tapes... there's something people don't seem to do for people anymore

Written By: ChuckyG on 09/25/08 at 10:13 pm


My only regret was that I'd been picky to make sure that the stuff I'd taped off the radio didn't have much (if any) DJ banter on it.  With the benefit of a decade or so of hindsight, it was awesome to hear my old favorite live-to-air DJs jumping into the broadcast again.  Wish I'd recorded more of 'em.


I'll second that... the only radio show/podcast I listen to, Crap From the Past, used to do old Airchecks from radio stations which were awesome to listen to.  An hour broadcast from some radio program from years ago.  I know people collect and trade them now too, which really makes me wish I had let tape run more often in the 80s.

Subject: Re: Mix tapes... there's something people don't seem to do for people anymore

Written By: coqueta83 on 09/25/08 at 10:53 pm

I made (and still own) plenty of mix tapes in the late 80's through the 90's. I still like listening to them once in a while. All my labels are handwritten.  :)

Subject: Re: Mix tapes... there's something people don't seem to do for people anymore

Written By: robby76 on 09/25/08 at 11:25 pm

Now I remember what I used to do before the internet!!!  ;D

Subject: Re: Mix tapes... there's something people don't seem to do for people anymore

Written By: Henk on 09/26/08 at 12:06 am


No problems there, I can read them okay...and quite a compilation it is, too!  :)


Thank you. :) It's one of my more prestigious works from the time - took me weeks to complete it. The trouble was, I wanted the singles in my collection to be taped chronologically, which proved to be an extra handicap (so I cheated a bit here and there, to make it fit).
Othere series that I made include "One Sound" (basically a series with similar genres of music, like Soul or Gospel) and "One Voice" (as you can probably guess: mix tapes with songs by one artist/band).


Almost full marks, but I'll deduct a point for the inclusion of Jimmy Nail... :P  ;)


Are you kiddin'? I love the Jimmy Nail version! 8)


Being a cheapskate, mine were mostly culled from radio stations, where you had to be quick on the 'pause' button when the DJ commenced his spiel... ;)


Oh yeah, I've plenty of tapes like that too. Those darn DJ's would keep on talking through the intros, almost as if they didn't want you to record from the radio... ::)

Subject: Re: Mix tapes... there's something people don't seem to do for people anymore

Written By: Midas on 09/26/08 at 9:52 am

I stopped making mixtapes about 6 years ago (when I got a CD burner). I still make mix CDs.  More often than not my mixtapes/CDs are a continuous mix.  I think I still have some at home; I'll have to check and post some label pics.

Like Foo Bar said, it was often a challenge to get that last song on each side of the cassette without running out of recording time. ;D

Subject: Re: Mix tapes... there's something people don't seem to do for people anymore

Written By: Foo Bar on 09/26/08 at 11:03 pm


Like Foo Bar said, it was often a challenge to get that last song on each side of the cassette without running out of recording time. ;D


Looking back, that was part of the reward, too.  There was no feeling of accomplishment quite like doing a mixtape that ended five seconds before the end of the tape... and no feeling of failure quite so great as doing a mix that ended five seconds after the tape ended, even after you'd squeezed out every second of blank space.

If it was more than 10 seconds, the statute of limitations has run out, so I'll admit that I cheated by playing the input tape on the Walkman and turning down the volume near the end of the song.  An instrumental lead-out, a portable cassette player, and a patch cord was the poor man's mixer.

But then, I loved the Art of Noise/Duane Eddy Peter Gunn collaboration so much that I would have used it to fill the blank space no matter what the mix.  Loved it so much I kept a 30-minute tape of it (three remixes dubbed together with barely-perceptible splices at appropriately-silent moments in each track) in the glove box.    Peter Gunn was my go-to tape for any activity that required a navigator.  Rush-hour traffic?  Peter Gunn.  High-priority mission to locate optimal parking spot?  Gunn.  Designated driver trying to protect my friends from unnecessary interactions with the local constabulary?  Gunn.  Driving through the wrong part of town after a night at the club?  Gunn.  Slinking off into the sunrise, mission accomplished, all parents blissfully unaware of anything other than that everyone got home safe?  Peter Gunn.

Didn't matter where I ejected that tape, the Foomobile had Gunn on demand.  I used to scare everybody by dubbing "You don't think I should do one more?" at least once onto any mix tape I made, and it made 'em all jump, even if the mix never proceeded into the twangy guitar.  It was the fear that it might have that kept 'em on edge.

Subject: Re: Mix tapes... there's something people don't seem to do for people anymore

Written By: apollonia1986 on 09/28/08 at 6:54 pm

I made mix tapes when I was a kid.  I once made a mix tape of all my favorite Michael Jackson lvoe song because I hated skipping form album to album for a song (Baby Be Mine from Thriller and then Liberican Girl from Bad and so on...)  Recently, I've been maiking mix tapes for my car, since it's an older model and takes cassettes. I made a mix of upbeat MJ jams, clean Prince songs (which was HARD) and some 80s tunes, which is primo if I do say so myself.

I also have a couple of mix cds I made just to make listening easier. I have two different Michael Jackson collections, but with new material spread out over 4 or 5 discs so I just compiled them on to one disc, wrapped the originals in plastic and play that. I make the covers on the computer now...I'll scan some in to share.  ;D

The hand made covers a few posts ahead of mine are WONDERFUL!

Subject: Re: Mix tapes... there's something people don't seem to do for people anymore

Written By: Davester on 09/28/08 at 10:51 pm


  Those are some cool hand drawn tape inserts.  I never did anthing like that...

  The point of mix tapes is that you were supposed to listen to the whole thing, beginning to end.  Sometimes the tracks I included were carefully chosen and arranged creating a theme (esp. if I was to give the thing to a chick...).  With mix CDs you can effortlessly skip-over tracks, thereby messing-up the artistic whole.  Not good...

  Someone mentioned Play/Record/Pause.  Yup, that's the best way to do it.  Using the pause button was easier and didn't leave the clicking sound on the recording. Also, highspeed dubbing was the thing to have...

   

Subject: Re: Mix tapes... there's something people don't seem to do for people anymore

Written By: whistledog on 09/28/08 at 11:41 pm

Those certainly are quite cool.  I used to make mix tapes all the time in the 90s of songs I'd hear on the radio.  In the early 00s, I still made mix tapes, and using a color printer, I'd even make my own sleeves based off the design of tapes made by CBS Records in the 80s.  I made a whole series of 80s hits, most of which I lost, but I still have a few somewhere.  If I find them, I'll post pics

Subject: Re: Mix tapes... there's something people don't seem to do for people anymore

Written By: whistledog on 09/28/08 at 11:55 pm


In the early 00s, I still made mix tapes, and using a color printer, I'd even make my own sleeves based off the design of tapes made by CBS Records in the 80s.  I made a whole series of 80s hits, most of which I lost, but I still have a few somewhere.  If I find them, I'll post pics


I found one I made back in 2003 ...

The pic is rather small, so just for the heck of it, here's what the track listing is:

Side 1:
♦ Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car - Billy Ocean
♦ Making Plans For Nigel - XTC
♦ St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion) - John Parr
♦ It's All Been Done Before - Surrender
♦ That Old Song - Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio
♦ Walking on Sunshine - Katrina and the Waves
♦ We Built This City - Starship
♦ What I Like About You - The Romantics
♦ Rhythm of the Night - DeBarge
♦ Come and Get Your Love - Lime
♦ I Melt With You - Modern English
♦ The Politics of Dancing - Re-Flex
♦ When Smokey Sings - ABC
♦ She Wants to Dance With Me - Rick Astley
♦ Bette Davis Eyes - Kim Carnes

Side 2:
♦ Dancin' the Night Away - Voggue
♦ Route 101 - Herb Alpert
♦ Freeway of Love - Aretha Franklin
♦ The Power of Love - Huey Lewis and the News
♦ Change - Tears for Fears
♦ Strut - Sheena Easton
♦ In A Big Country - Big Country
♦ It Ain't Enough - Corey Hart
♦ Too Shy - Kajagoogoo
♦ Tempted - Squeeze
♦ I Should Be So Lucky - Kylie Minogue
♦ Send Me An Angel '83 - Real Life
♦ They Don't Know - Tracey Ullman
♦ Come Back and Stay - Paul Young
♦ True - Spandau Ballet

All songs are based on radio airplay and singles released in Canada

Subject: Re: Mix tapes... there's something people don't seem to do for people anymore

Written By: apollonia1986 on 09/29/08 at 6:56 pm

Whistledog, I wish I had that tape! Kajagoogoo and Spansau Ballet? You lucky person!

Here's the cover of a mix cd I made from an old compilation mix tape I made:

http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p83/MichaelJacksonsWife/My%20Wallpapers/My%20wallpapers%202/mjcover.jpg

I have alot of time on my hands.  ;D

Subject: Re: Mix tapes... there's something people don't seem to do for people anymore

Written By: oingo_fan on 10/03/08 at 9:06 pm

U2, Oingo Boingo, Xymox, Front 242?!!!  STILL staples on my MP3 players.  IMHO GREAT F'ing taste in music!

Subject: Re: Mix tapes... there's something people don't seem to do for people anymore

Written By: oingo_fan on 10/03/08 at 9:08 pm

Oh...PS...that pic is now the desktop wallpaper on my laptop!

Subject: Re: Mix tapes... there's something people don't seem to do for people anymore

Written By: bookmistress4ever on 10/06/08 at 1:26 am


Being a cheapskate, mine were mostly culled from radio stations, where you had to be quick on the 'pause' button when the DJ commenced his spiel... ;)


Me too.

I even have a tape of when I used to be a DJ (way back on the high school radio station (that no longer is in existance - R. I. P. WBHR - 88.7 on your FM dial!)  :\'(


Now I remember what I used to do before the internet!!!  ;D


Me too.


Tonight as I was surfing the internet, as one is want to do when avoiding housekeeping/packing boxes to move... I ran across this website:

Cassette Mix tapes from my ex.

http://www.cassettefrommyex.com/

I don't recall getting any mix tapes from any of my former paramours, but I did get a few from friends that I still have, even though the friendships have gone away.  :\'(

Subject: Re: Mix tapes... there's something people don't seem to do for people anymore

Written By: Marty McFly on 10/06/08 at 2:40 am

Yeah, I have a sentimental attachment to mixtapes, since I was ALWAYS exposed to them and just got so used to it. My uncle and my parents made them as far back as I can remember, and I think I started when I was 10 or 11.

They weren't just an '80s thing either (even if that was probably when people did them the most). I made them on a regular basis until just a couple years ago, before I started burning CDs, then got an ipod. Lots of people still did it in the '90s, but I guess it was just so common by then so it didn't stand out.

One difference with me though, it seems like when most people did them, they copied an entire album, whereas I usually just did a bunch of singers and bands (maybe like 2 or 3 per artist at most).

They feel like more of a "creation", so I agree there was something special about them you don't get with CDs or digital tech. Probably because they were imperfect, like some brands of tape recorded better than others, same with the quality on certain boomboxes.

Subject: Re: Mix tapes... there's something people don't seem to do for people anymore

Written By: whistledog on 10/06/08 at 2:47 am

I actually still make mix tapes, but only because my car has only a cassette player/radio

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