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Classic Rock History: 

In addition to vinyl records, a significant amount of classic rock music, in its heyday, was consumed on 8-track tapes.

The 8-track tape player, also known simply as the 8-track player, was a popular audio playback technology that gained prominence in the mid-1960s and remained popular throughout the 1970s. It was a significant development in the history of portable and in-car audio entertainment. Here's a brief overview of its history:

Invention and Development:
The 8-track tape format was developed by Bill Lear, the inventor of the Learjet and founder of Lear Incorporated. Lear, along with his team, sought to create a reliable and convenient way for people to enjoy music in their cars. The 8-track cartridge was their solution.

The first commercially available 8-track tape player was launched by Lear in 1965 under the name "Stereo 8." This new format was designed to provide continuous playback of music without the need to flip or rewind the tape, making it particularly well-suited for in-car entertainment.

How It Worked:

The design removed the need to wind and rewind the tape between a supply reel and a take-up reel by creating an endless loop. The coil of tape was spooled somewhat loosely around a hub on a rotating disk platform. The tape threaded from the center of the coil, out to a series of openings in the leading edge of the cartridge, then back to the outside of the coil.

A graphite coating on the back of the tape served as a dry lubricant to keep the tape and mechanism flowing as smoothly as possible. This would also necessitate the need for frequent cleaning of the tape head and drive mechanism. Q-tips and isopropyl alcohol, or commercially available head cleaning cartridges were typically used to remove the graphite deposits.

The openings on the leading edge of the cartridge accommodated contact with a track change sensor, the playback head, and the capstan roller to drive the tape.

The term "8-track" is derived from the fact that on the 1/4" wide tape, there are four pairs of left-right stereo channels, arranged (from top to bottom) L1/L2/L3/L4/R1/R2/R3/R4. This arrangement quadrupled the amount of playback time over two stereo track tapes of the same width, but at the expense of frequency response.

The ends of the tape loop were joined by a short strip of metallic adhesive tape. When this strip passed across the track change sensor, the mechanism would physically move the playback head down to read the next pair of stereo tracks. Since the mechanism and tapes could not be engineered with enough precision to match the head to the tape in every instance, an adjustment control allowed for the fine tuning of the head-to-tape contact in order to prevent "crosstalk" from one pair of tracks to the others.

A rubberized pinch roller was integrated into every tape cartridge, negating the need for it to be a part of the player mechanism, and more importantly providing the ability for the cartridge to be inserted and removed without any interaction with the player.

Car Audio Dominance:
Ford Motor Company became the first American car manufacturer to offer an 8-track tape player as an option on its 1966 Mustang, Thunderbird and Lincoln models. In conjunction, RCA Victor issued 175 Stereo-8 cartridges from their catalog of artists on its RCA Victor and RCA Camden record labels. By the 1967 model year, all Ford vehicles offered the 8-track tape player as an option.

Home 8-track players were not yet widely available, and until the format reached a level of market saturation to be offered in music stores, consumers had to visit a Ford dealership to purchase the new tapes.

Nevertheless, the 8-track player quickly gained popularity, becoming a standard feature in many automobiles during the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. It was a significant improvement over the earlier in-car record players, which were prone to skipping and damage.

Music Industry Adoption:
Major record labels embraced the 8-track format, releasing a wide range of albums on 8-track tapes. This helped boost the format's popularity, as consumers could now enjoy their favorite music on the go.

Home Audio:
In addition to car audio, 8-track players were also available for home use. They were often integrated into home phono/AM/FM stereo systems and were commonly found in living rooms across the United States during the 1970s. Home 8-track recorders would also become available, although not as popular as playback-only units.

Despite its popularity, the 8-track format had some limitations. The most notable was the need to split albums into four programs, which often resulted in awkward breaks between tracks. Additionally, the tape itself was prone to wear and tear, which could lead to audio quality degradation over time.

The endless loop configuration also meant the tape could not be rewound to an earlier point in a program, only played or fast-forwarded.

By the late 1970s, newer audio formats, such as the compact cassette and eventually the Sony Walkman, began to eclipse the 8-track tape player. These formats offered better sound quality, portability, and more convenient features. As a result, 8-track sales started to decline.

By the early 1980s, the production and availability of 8-track tapes and players had significantly decreased, and the format was largely phased out. Collectors and enthusiasts still appreciate 8-track players and tapes as nostalgic artifacts of the era.

While the 8-track format is mostly a relic of the past, it played a crucial role in the evolution of portable and in-car audio technology. It also left a lasting mark on popular culture, with references to 8-tracks often appearing in music, films, and television shows as symbols of the 1970s.

Today, 8-track tapes and players are collectors' items, and some people still enjoy the nostalgic experience of listening to music on this vintage format. However, for mainstream audio playback, the 8-track has been replaced by more advanced and convenient technologies.

Classic Rock History: In The News: 

The first ten videos to play on MTV the day it debuted, August 1, 1981:

1. "Video Killed the Radio Star" The Buggles
2. "You Better Run" Pat Benatar
3. "She Won't Dance With Me" Rod Stewart
4. "You Better You Bet" The Who
5. "Little Suzi's on the Up" Ph.D.
6. "We Don't Talk Anymore" Cliff Richard
7. "Brass in Pocket" The Pretenders
8. "Time Heals" Todd Rundgren
9. "Take It on the Run" REO Speedwagon
10. "Rockin' the Paradise" Styx

Of the 209 videos aired during the first 24 hours, many were run more than once. "You Better You Bet" by The Who, also the first video to be rerun, and "Just Between You And Me" by April Wine tied for the most airings at five apiece. Video number 100 was "Let's Go" by The Cars, which aired only once. "Lonely Boy" by Andrew Gold, also a one-timer, closed out the day.

Other notable first-day landmarks:

9. The REO Speedwagon video was the first live concert video to be aired on MTV, from their Live Infidelity home video release.

16. "Iron Maiden" by Iron Maiden was the first Heavy Metal song to be played on MTV.

41. "Angel of the Morning" by Juice Newton was the first country video to air.

62. "Rat Race" by The Specials was the first video featuring both black and white artists to air on MTV.

Songs You Didn't Realize Were Covers: 

"Jet Airliner" is a popular song written by Paul Pena, an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. However, it is important to note that while Paul Pena did write and perform the song, the version that is most widely recognized and popular is not his original recording. The better-known version of "Jet Airliner" was actually recorded and released by the Steve Miller Band.

Paul Pena originally wrote and recorded the song for his 1973 album titled "New Train." The album showcased his musical talents, fusing elements of folk, blues, and rock. Unfortunately, due to conflicts with his record label, the album was not released until 2000.

The song would gain widespread recognition when the Steve Miller Band covered it. Miller was made aware of the song by a former band member who also happened to produce Pena's 1973 album. This version, in addition to some slight changes lyrically, featured a more rock-oriented sound and became a major hit, receiving extensive radio airplay and charting well on music charts. Miller's band had recorded their version of "Jet Airliner" in 1975, during sessions for the "Fly Like an Eagle" album, but the song was not released until 1977, when it was included on their album "Book of Dreams."

Steve Miller's rendition of "Jet Airliner" propelled the song to greater fame, reaching a broader audience and becoming a staple in classic rock radio playlists. Its catchy chorus and upbeat melody contributed to its popularity, and it remains one of Steve Miller Band's most iconic and enduring songs.

Paul Pena's original version of "Jet Airliner" was rediscovered and gained some recognition after Steve Miller's cover became a hit. Paul Pena continued to pursue his music career and performed with various artists, showcasing his impressive talents as a musician and vocalist.

Overall, "Jet Airliner" is a song that highlights the journey of its original songwriter, Paul Pena, as well as the enduring success of the Steve Miller Band's cover version, which brought the song to a wider audience and secured its place as a classic in the world of rock music.

Guitar Heroes: 

Brian May is an English musician, songwriter, and astrophysicist, best known as the lead guitarist of the legendary rock band Queen. He was born on July 19, 1947, in Hampton, Middlesex, England.

May began playing the guitar at the age of seven and went on to form his first band, Smile, in 1968, which later evolved into Queen with the addition of singer Freddie Mercury and drummer Roger Taylor. Queen became one of the most successful and influential rock bands of all time, with May's distinctive guitar sound and musical contributions playing a major role in the band's success.

May is known for his unique guitar style, which features a blend of heavy distortion, melodic phrasing, and intricate harmonies. He also developed his own custom guitar, the Red Special, which he built with his father when he was a teenager, and has used it throughout his career. He is known for using a British sixpence coin as a guitar pick, and for his preference for Vox AC30 amplifiers, both of which contribute to his recognizable sound.

In addition to his music career, May is also an accomplished astrophysicist and holds a PhD in the subject. He has contributed to several scientific publications and was even appointed Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University in 2008.

May's contributions to music and science have earned him several awards and honors, including the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 2005 and the honorary title of Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association in 2014. He continues to perform and record music, both as a solo artist and with Queen, and remains a beloved figure in the world of rock music.

Songs You Didn't Realize Were Covers: 

"Love Hurts" was written by American songwriter Boudleaux Bryant. He initially composed the song in 1960, and it was first recorded by The Everly Brothers that same year. The Everly Brothers' version of the song, with their distinct harmonies, helped popularize it and established it as a classic. Roy Orbison also had some success with the song when he covered it in 1961. However, it was the cover version by the Scottish hard rock band Nazareth that achieved significant success and became their signature song.

Nazareth's rendition of "Love Hurts" was released as a single in 1974 and featured on their album "Hair of the Dog." The band's interpretation of the song transformed it into a power ballad with a heavier rock sound, differentiating it from the original version. The lead vocals were performed by Dan McCafferty, whose raspy and emotive voice added a unique depth and intensity to the song.

The Nazareth version of "Love Hurts" became a massive hit for the band, reaching high chart positions in various countries, including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. It remains one of their most well-known and beloved songs.

The lyrics of "Love Hurts" explore the theme of love and its accompanying pain. The song expresses the anguish and heartache experienced when love goes wrong, highlighting the emotional struggles and conflicts that often accompany relationships. With its heartfelt and relatable lyrics, the song struck a chord with listeners and became an anthem for those dealing with the ups and downs of love.

Over the years, "Love Hurts" has been covered by numerous artists from different genres, further solidifying its status as a timeless classic. It has been performed by the likes of Cher, Jim Capaldi, Rod Stewart, and Gram Parsons, among others. Each artist brings their own interpretation to the song, showcasing its universal appeal and emotional resonance.

Nazareth's version of "Love Hurts" remains an enduring rock ballad that continues to captivate audiences with its raw emotion and powerful delivery. Its timeless message about the complexities of love has made it a beloved song for generations of music lovers.

One Hit Wonders: 

Here are some of the most popular one-hit wonder songs of the 1970s:

"Spirit in the Sky" by Norman Greenbaum (1970)
"In the Summertime" by Mungo Jerry (1970)
"War" by Edwin Starr (1970)
"Come and Get Your Love" by Redbone (1974)
"Rock the Boat" by The Hues Corporation (1974)
"The Night Chicago Died" by Paper Lace (1974)
"Kung Fu Fighting" by Carl Douglas (1974)
"Lovin' You" by Minnie Riperton (1975)
"Play That Funky Music" by Wild Cherry (1976)
"Afternoon Delight" by Starland Vocal Band (1976)
"Fly, Robin, Fly" by Silver Convention (1975)
"You Light Up My Life" by Debby Boone (1977)
"Disco Inferno" by The Trammps (1977)
"Baby Come Back" by Player (1977)
"Magnet and Steel" by Walter Egan (1978)

Note that some of these artists may have released other singles, but these songs are considered their only true hit.

Classic Rock History: Signature Sounds of Classic Rock: 

The Dumble Overdrive Special amplifier is considered one of the most sought-after and iconic guitar amplifiers in the history of rock music. Created by Howard Alexander Dumble, a reclusive amp builder based in California, the Dumble Overdrive Special has gained legendary status due to its unique tonal characteristics and its association with some of the world's most renowned guitarists. Let's delve into the history of this remarkable amplifier and the guitarists who have embraced it.

Origins and Development: Howard Dumble started building amplifiers in the late 1960s. He crafted each amplifier meticulously, with a strong emphasis on tone and quality. The Dumble Overdrive Special came to prominence in the mid-1970s and gained popularity due to its ability to deliver a wide range of tones, from clean and pristine to rich, harmonic overdrive. Dumble amps were hand-built in limited quantities, in various configurations, and their high price tags made them exclusive and highly coveted.

Notable Features: The Dumble Overdrive Special is known for its distinct tonal characteristics. It typically offers a three-channel configuration with separate inputs and controls for each channel. The clean channel provides a smooth, glassy tone, while the second channel delivers a mild overdrive. The third channel, the "Overdrive Special," is the amp's signature feature, offering a cascading gain structure that provides a highly responsive and touch-sensitive overdrive tone.

Dumble Peculiarities (Personal and Professional): Dumble asked prospective clients to sign contracts stipulating the purchased amp's chassis not be opened or photographed, nor the amplifier be resold without his authorization. In the 1980s, Dumble began "gooping" his preamplifier circuit boards with opaque epoxy, ostensibly to foil copying. In the 2000s, he began asking to be referred to as "Alexander", his middle name. Living largely "off the grid", he would trade repair or refurbishment work for things like needed household appliances.

Guitarists and their Dumble Amps: Numerous influential guitarists have used the Dumble Overdrive Special and other Dumble amplifiers, contributing to the amp builder's mystique and reputation. Here are some notable guitarists associated with Dumble amps:

Stevie Ray Vaughan: One of the most celebrated blues guitarists, Vaughan is often synonymous with the Dumble sound. He primarily used a Dumble Steel String Singer to achieve his iconic blues tones, and his usage of this amp greatly contributed to its popularity.

Robben Ford: Renowned for his jazz and blues fusion playing, Robben Ford has extensively used Dumble amps throughout his career. He helped showcase the versatility of the Dumble Overdrive Special in various musical contexts.

Larry Carlton: A highly regarded session guitarist, Carlton has been a longtime user of Dumble amplifiers. His distinctive jazz and fusion playing style found an ideal match in the responsive and dynamic qualities of the Dumble Overdrive Special.

John Mayer: Known for his soulful and melodic playing, John Mayer has embraced the Dumble sound, particularly in his earlier years. He utilized Dumble Overdrive Specials to achieve his expressive and smooth guitar tones.

Carlos Santana: While Santana primarily used other amplifiers like the Mesa/Boogie Mark series, he did incorporate Dumble amplifiers into his rig for specific albums and performances, including the renowned album "Supernatural."

Eric Johnson: Recognized for his virtuosic guitar playing and meticulous attention to tone, Eric Johnson has employed Dumble amplifiers in his setups. His use of Dumble amps can be heard on his iconic album "Ah Via Musicom."

It's important to note that Dumble amplifiers are extremely rare and highly sought after, leading to a limited number of musicians having the opportunity to play through them. Nevertheless, their impact on the guitar world and the distinct tones they produce have left an indelible mark on the history of guitar amplification.

Guitar Heroes: 

Stevie Ray Vaughan, born on October 3, 1954, and tragically died on August 27, 1990, was an immensely talented American guitarist and songwriter. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest guitarists in the history of blues and rock music. Known for his passionate playing style, soulful tone, and virtuosic skills, Vaughan left a lasting impact on the music world during his relatively short career.

Early Life and Musical Journey:
Stevie Ray Vaughan was born in Dallas, Texas, and raised in the nearby city of Oak Cliff. He grew up in a musical household, with his older brother Jimmie Vaughan, who would also become a renowned guitarist. Stevie Ray Vaughan began playing guitar at the age of seven and quickly showed great aptitude for the instrument. He was heavily influenced by blues musicians such as Freddie King, Albert King, and B.B. King, as well as rock guitarists like Jimi Hendrix and Lonnie Mack.

In his teenage years, Vaughan started performing in various local bands, showcasing his exceptional guitar skills. He gained recognition in the Texas music scene, and by 1982, had formed a power trio version of his band Double Trouble, consisting of himself on vocals and guitar, bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton. The trio would become Vaughan's primary band configuration for the rest of his career. They became a four-piece by 1985 after adding Reese Wynans on keyboards.

Breakthrough and Success:
Stevie Ray Vaughan's breakthrough came at the 1982 Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, where he caught the attention of David Bowie's guitarist, Mick Ronson. Ronson, impressed by Vaughan's talent, invited him to contribute to Bowie's album "Let's Dance." This exposure helped introduce Vaughan's music to a wider audience.

In 1983, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble released their debut album, "Texas Flood," which received critical acclaim and established Vaughan as a guitar virtuoso. The album showcased his fiery guitar playing, soulful vocals, and a deep understanding of the blues. It included standout tracks like "Pride and Joy" and the title track "Texas Flood."

Over the next few years, Vaughan continued to release successful albums, including "Couldn't Stand the Weather" (1984) and "Soul to Soul" (1985). He gained a reputation for his electrifying live performances, often captivating audiences with his passionate playing and incredible improvisational skills.

Legacy and Influence:
Stevie Ray Vaughan's impact on the music world cannot be overstated. He played a pivotal role in revitalizing the blues genre, bringing it to a new generation of listeners. Vaughan's technical proficiency, coupled with his emotional expressiveness, made him a unique and influential guitarist.

His playing style combined elements of blues, rock, and jazz, creating a signature sound that inspired countless guitarists. Vaughan's use of the Fender Stratocaster and his mastery of techniques like string bending, vibrato, and fast-paced blues licks became synonymous with his musical identity.

Tragically, Stevie Ray Vaughan's life was cut short on August 27, 1990, when he died in a helicopter crash at the age of 35. His death shocked the music community and led to an outpouring of grief from fans around the world.

In recognition of his contributions, Stevie Ray Vaughan was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. His albums continue to be celebrated, and his recordings are studied by aspiring guitarists seeking to understand his unique style.

Notable Discography:
"Texas Flood" (1983)
"Couldn't Stand the Weather" (1984)
"Soul to Soul" (1985)
"In Step" (1989)
"The Sky Is Crying" (1991)

Stevie Ray Vaughan's music remains a testament to his immense talent, and his influence continues to inspire guitarists and music lovers to this day.

Songs You Didn't Realize Were Covers: 

"Blue Bayou" is a popular song recorded by American singer Linda Ronstadt. It was released in 1977 as a single from her album "Simple Dreams." The song was written by Roy Orbison and Joe Melson and had previously been recorded by Orbison in 1963. However, Ronstadt's rendition of "Blue Bayou" became the more well-known and successful version.

"Blue Bayou" is a heartfelt ballad that showcases Ronstadt's powerful vocals and emotional delivery. The song has a timeless quality and resonates with listeners due to its themes of longing, nostalgia, and a desire for a peaceful escape. The lyrics paint a vivid picture of a yearning for the tranquility and simplicity of a place called Blue Bayou.

Linda Ronstadt's version of "Blue Bayou" became one of her biggest hits, reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. It also achieved success internationally and remains one of her most recognizable and beloved songs. Ronstadt's interpretation of the song earned critical acclaim and contributed to her reputation as one of the finest vocalists of her generation.

"Blue Bayou" has since been covered by various artists, further cementing its status as a classic. It has been recorded by notable musicians such as Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison (the original songwriter), and even Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo. The enduring appeal of the song lies in its timeless melody, evocative lyrics, and the emotional depth conveyed by Linda Ronstadt's interpretation.

Classic Rock History: Signature Sounds of Classic Rock: 

Melody Maker Single Cut

The Melody Maker is a popular model of electric guitar produced by Gibson. It has a long history dating back to its introduction in 1959. The Melody Maker was initially designed as an affordable option for beginners and students, but it gained popularity among professional musicians as well due to its unique sound and simplicity.

Here are some key features and details about the Gibson Melody Maker:

Design and Construction: The Melody Maker features a solid body construction, typically made of mahogany or a combination of mahogany and other tonewoods. The original body had a single-cutaway design, similar to Gibson's iconic Les Paul models. It has a lightweight and sleek design, making it comfortable to play for long periods.

Neck and Fingerboard: The guitar typically has a one-piece mahogany neck with a set-in joint, providing stability and sustain. The fingerboard is usually made of rosewood or baked maple and features dot inlays or simple acrylic dot markers.

Melody Maker 3/4 Scale

Scale Length and Frets: The scale length of the Melody Maker is typically 24.75 inches, which is a common scale length found on many Gibson guitars. The number of frets varies, but it usually has 22 medium-jumbo frets. 3/4 scale versions with necks joining the body at the 12th fret to accommodate younger, smaller players were also offered.

Pickups and Electronics: The Melody Maker was known for its simplicity when it comes to electronics. It usually features one or two single-coil pickups, though some models have been equipped with humbuckers. The controls are straightforward, including volume and tone knobs, and sometimes a three-way pickup selector switch. The sold body was routed to accommodate pickups and controls, which were all mounted on the pickguard.

Bridge and Hardware: The guitar usually comes with a wraparound compensated bridge/tailpiece combination, providing simplicity and ease of string changing. The hardware, including the tuning machines and bridge, is generally basic but functional. Players often replaced the bridge with an aftermarket adjustable bridge/tailpiece unit, such as the Leo Quah "Badass" model. Replacement tuners such as those by Schaller or Grover were popular.

1965 Melody Maker D

Finishes: The Melody Maker has been produced in various finishes throughout its history, including natural, sunburst, solid colors, and more. The available finishes may vary depending on the specific model and year of production.

Evolution and Variations: Over the years, Gibson has released different versions and variations of the Melody Maker. Some notable models include the original single-cutaway models from the late '50s and early '60s, the double-cutaway models from the '60s and '70s, as well as reissued versions in recent years. The original double cut design gave way to an SG style body shape in 1966. Later reissues returned to the earlier designs.

Sound and Playability: The Melody Maker is often praised for its unique tonal character. It tends to have a bright and snappy tone, especially with the single-coil pickups, making it suitable for genres like rock, blues, and alternative music. The simplicity of the design and minimal electronics contribute to its raw and focused sound. The lightweight construction and comfortable neck profile make it a pleasure to play.

Notable Players: A number of artists have become known for their embrace of the Melody Maker. Jimi Hendrix is known to have owned and played a 1966 cherry finish double cut model early in his career. Joan Jett has a signature model, as does Michael Clifford of 5 Seconds of Summer, although both feature pickups and embellishments not found on original MM models.

It's worth noting that Gibson has made various changes and updates to the Melody Maker over the years, so the specific features and details can vary between different eras and models. If you're considering purchasing a Melody Maker, it's recommended to research the particular year and model you're interested in to ensure it aligns with your preferences.