Audio Cassette - Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The technological progression from the 8-track cassette that we discussed yesterday to the audio cassette (a.k.a. cassette tape or, compact cassette) is pretty easy to see.  They use the same type of magnetic tape used first in reel-to-reel players, then 8-tracks, only on a much smaller scale.  The cassette has the ability to hold much more music than the 8-track, too, with the extra added benefit that it comes in two formats:  pre-recorded and blank.  The original intention for the cassette tape was for dictation and, when they were initially introduced to the world in 1963 by the Holland-based Philips Company, that was about all they would be good for since the quality of their sound was not very good.

Everything changed in 1971.  Dolby noise reduction combined with chromium dioxide (CrO2) improvements in the quality of the tape meant that cassette sound was pretty much on par with that of vinyl records (for vinyl aficionados, the key phrase there is "pretty much"), and music began appearing in the new format.  Less vulnerable than records and more versatile than 8-tracks, cassettes became all the rage.  They effectively replaced the 8-track by the early-80's and improved the chances for exposure of bands unable to afford  to go to a traditional studio to record their music.  Using the simpler, analog technology of the cassette, garage bands around the world were able to record and distribute their music and gain exposure they could never have dreamed of in the vinyl era.  

Audio cassettes likely would have remained the dominant format for music distribution into the 1990's if not for yet another improvement in sound:  the compact disc.
QUESTION:  What famous 1979 invention made cassette listening mobile beyond just for car listening?
A)  Sony Walkman
B)  Transistor Radio
C)  Pac-Man
D)  Sanyo Tape Deck
ANSWER BELOW

CAMARO.  Introduced on this day in 1966, one of Chevrolet's most famous cars was welcomed to the world.  Well over a decade after Chevy's iconic Corvette entered the market, the Camaro was inspired by a sense of competition with Ford's Mustang, introduced two years earlier.  Equal parts 'pony car' and 'muscle car,' the Camaro and the Mustang are indelibly linked together, but so is a strong love Americans have for our powerful automobiles.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MR. AUTRY!  Born today in 1907, Orvon Grover Autry, a.k.a. Gene, would become one of the most famous of the singing cowboys of radio, television and film.  In a career spanning 93 films, his own tv show, and scores of popular records, Autry's legacy lives on with his most famous of hits - Christmas music including "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman."  He passed away in 1998, but what a legacy!

QUOTE:  I'm not a good actor, a good rider, or a good singer, but they seem to like what I do, so I'll keep on doing it as long as they want. - Gene Autry.

ANSWER:  A)  Sony Walkman.  That was an easy one!