ufoIt’s that time of the week again when our resident classic rock king Self Made Man waxes lyrical about the music he loves.

This week’s retro-fuelled column references vinyl and – yes, wait for it – cassette tapes and their place in rock history.

Self Made Man writes exclusively for RUSHONROCK every week. 


Across the music world, thousands of us are dusting down our old LPs and even buying new vinyl.

Even those who no longer own a turntable know where their old record collection is.

I haven’t played vinyl for many years but there’s no chance of me ever throwing out the records I grew up with even though most of that music I now own in CD or digital form.

But what of cassettes? Ugly, unloved, forgotten.

Cassettes will never make a comeback. Consigned to the dusbin of technological history.

Yet there is a part of me, admittedly a small part, which, with the passing of time, looks back on them, with fondness.

In my life I had, what I would describe as two ‘cassette eras’.

The first was as a 10-year-old when my parents bought me a fine cassette record for Christmas.

So the first albums  I ever bought were cassettes. Razamanaz by Nazareth, something by The Wombles and Alvin Stardust and Gary Gl…….er, we’ll leave it there, I think.

About 12 years later, having built up an impressive collection of LPs, I switched back into cassette mode for one simple reason – my new car boasted a splendid cassette deck.

I’d spend hours lovingly recording compilations – or playlists as they’d be called today – or transferring my LPs onto blank tapes.

And for a two year period, I probably bought more albums on cassette than vinyl.

I can still recall a few of them _- Thompson Twins, Talking Heads, Madonna, Mister MIster – I called it my eclectic phase though there were also trusty old favourites like Aerosmith’s Permanent Vacation and On Every Street, the last-ever studio album by Dire Straits.

The music system in my Nissan Cherry was a good one and driving with the speakers blaring became a happy pastime.

Twice I travelled through Europe with mates and that cassette player was rarely in off-mode.

My fleeting love affair with cassettes ended abruptly one night in 1988 when my car, parked in a Darlington sidestreet, was broken into  and three leather cases stuffed with my music was stolen.

That was my entrire cassette collection gone, forever. I hated the car thief, I hated myself for being stupid enough to leave the cases under the car seat.

And there was a part of me which hated the cassette too. There was never any inclination to replace the stolen goods in the same format.

In fact, I don’t think I ever bought another cassette again. Replacement albums were subsequently bought on CD. 

And no, I never did get around too replacing that Mister Mister album!

Ian Murtagh