Remembering tape

Sometimes you pull out something from the boxes in the furthest depths of your storage cupboards that makes you sit back, stare and think. A box of audio cassettes in this case. Technically these are Compact Cassettes as originally developed by Philips in the 1960s. I used to have mountains of TDKs and BASFs in the ’80s, upon which I recorded stuff from vinyl records and CDs to play in my Sony Walkman. I even had loads of pre-recorded cassettes that I paid good money for!

Staring at my box of assorted cassettes, which represented a fraction of what I used to have (where are all the rest?) I began to recall fuzzy memory of my parents before me, and the humungous Philips four-track tape recorder/player they used to playback the hits of 1970’s Indian cinema (now known as “Bollywood”) when I was a nipper. I remember my Dad having to load two giant reels onto horizontally-oriented tape deck, and then wind the tape from one reel onto another by hand before pressing the play button!


Memories of tape and my endless rows of TDK C-90s.
(Taken with my cameraphone and then blurred a bit more in Photoshop.)

There is one song I remember the most from those hazy days of the Philips four-track. Click on the green button below to load the tune, and then press play – and turn up the volume.

ALSO: after you’ve pressed the “play” button, click on the label of the cassette in the photo above; “Start flashback” for some accompanying “flashback”.

It’s a real 1970s Bollywood, ear-piercing, humdinger of a foot-tappingly infectious tune called Dum Maro Dum, from the film Hare Ram Hare Krishna from 1971. Literally translated it means “Take another toke” (!) and is sung by Asha Bhosle and Usha Iyer picturised on 1970s Indian Cinema megastar Zeenat Aman who plays a “hippie” in the film. Strangely, this particular song is still hugely popular today in India, most of today’s younger generation who weren’t even born when the song was first popular will know the song very well and several modern hip-hop and Brit-Asian scene DJs and producers have sampled some of the psychadelic guitar bits from the song for use in more contemporary mixes. And if you steal a taxi in the console game Grand Theft Auto (Liberty Cities) edition you will find this track playing on the “world radio” station of the car radio!

I must get round to fixing my cassette tape deck …

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You can watch the song from the original movie in all of it’s gory, state-of-the-1970s-art detail on Youtube. Click the “stop” button above to silence the music here before clicking here to open the vid on YouTube.

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