The Way We Heard: Vintage Music and Tech

Jen Brown


Records: 1895 to late 1980s

Music gets groovy. First made of shellac and they vinyl, records dominated for nearly a century. Records started to decline due to shortcomings of the media including it’s fragility, static popping and lack of portability. However, vinyl still has legions of devotees.

Record Store Day: This annual event celebrates musicians, fans and independent record stores around the world. Learn more at


8 Tracks: 1965 to early 1980s

Music is a go-go. Eight tracks mark the beginning of music choice in your automobile. The media largely owes its popularity to the automobile industry as the first players were only available in-dash in Ford Motor Company’s 1966 models of Mustang, Thunderbird and Lincoln.

Parliament / 1977 / This 8 track sold in August 2020 for $2000! Source:


Cassettes: 1963 to early 1990s

Music mixer. Originally designed for dictation, cassettes gave people the power of recording in their own home. That beacon of personal expression, the mixtape, was born.

Fun fact: From 1963 to 1988, more than three billion tapes were sold.

Important moments in cassette history: Sony released the Walkman, a portable cassette player, in June 1980.


CDs: 1982 to 2000s

Music spins again. While developed to store and play audio, CD technology became commonplace for the storage of media of all types, including audio, images, video and even interactive content such as video games.

Did you know? The first CD player cost $1500. "Lying Eyes" by The Bee Gees was the first album released on the CD format in 1981.

Fun Fact: Old CDs are sometimes seen hanging from trees in use as bird-deterents since the reflection scares birds. It's a techno scarecrow.


Throwback Playlists


“You Light Up My Life” // Debby Boone  //  10 weeks at #1

“Night Fever” // Bee Gees  //  8 weeks at #1

“Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)” // Rod Stewart //  7 weeks at #1

“Bridge over Troubled Water” // Simon & Garfunkel  //  6 weeks at #1

“Joy to the World” // Three Dog Night  //  6 weeks at #1

“My Sharona” // The Knack  //  6 weeks at #1



“Physical” // Olivia Newton-John // 10 weeks at #1

“Bette Davis Eyes” // Kim Carnes  //  9 weeks at #1

“Endless Love” // Diana Ross and Lionel Riche // 9 weeks at #1

“Every Breath You Take” // The Police //  8 weeks at #1

“I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” // Joan Jett and the Blackhearts // 7 weeks at #1

“Call Me” // Blondie  //  6 weeks at #1



“One Sweet Day” // Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men // 16 weeks at #1

“I Will Always Love You” // Whitney Houston  //  14 weeks at #1

“Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)” // Los Del Rio  //  14 weeks at #1

“The Boy Is Mine” // Brandy and Monica  //  13 weeks at #1

“I Swear" // All-4-One  //  11 weeks at #1

“I’ll Be Missing You” // Puff Daddy and Faith Evans featuring 112  //  11 weeks at #1