Mixed Tape

In my ongoing quest for new blog topics, I discovered a delightful site – First 50 Words – that provides writing prompts and a writing sample of what the first fifty words might look like. It is definitely part of my RSS feed, and I’ve bookmarked so many of the ideas. Today is the first one I’m using as an idea for the whole post, not just the first 50 words.

Here Comes the Sun

Being a child of the ’80s, many an hour of my adolescence was spent creating my own mixed tapes. The summer between my sophomore and junior year I became engrossed with the music of the 1960s. Ma and Tom had a fabulous CD collection, so I remember thoughtfully planning out a tape, making sure the songs would play well next to each other and set a mental mood.

Mixed Tape
Thank you Hey Cherry for the use of the image

I felt so superior that I knew the name of Buffalo Springfield’s, “For What it’s Worth,” and I knew all the words to Country Joe McDonald’s “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag.” Both of those songs, plus of course “War,” were prominently featured on one side.

The other side was comparatively light and airy. The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” is the song that stands out most in my mind. It was followed by “California Dreaming.” I listened to that tape until it warped and then finally broke. To this day whenever I hear “Here Comes the Sun,” my brain is waiting for the Mamas and the Papas to join in next.

I assume I wasn’t the only teenager who felt like she was born into the wrong era. Not that I would have lived the hippy lifestyle or anything if I grew up in Ma’s era instead of my own – not enough rules to suit me, especially at that age! Much like television programming from the 1950s gave a distorted perception of life in the era, the music was not enough to give me the true feel of the times. I do believe that my interest in this music and the story it told is in part what drew me to study history in college.

Was I the only one that thought out every song on mixed tapes? or What era speaks most to you?

4 thoughts on “Mixed Tape”

  1. You have some great tunes here! I also belong to the wrong era, I think. I was born in 1970 so I was a child in the 70s and a pre-teen and teenager in the 80s. I can sing every 80s song there is. But I love the 70s so much more – and probably the latter half of the 60s. Why? Probably my youngest three aunts and uncles – they are five, nine, and fourteen years older than I am and I grew up listening to “their” music with them.

    However. My family loves music from the oldest to the youngest so I have a bizarre familiarity with music as old as the 20s and straight on through. But my all time favorite? Probably the 70s.

    And yes, mix tapes HAD to be well-planned. I always labeled mine, categorized them, and made sure any duplicates on another tape had good reason for being there. What a blast from the past – I loved mix tapes!


    1. I’m so glad to know that I’m not the only one drawn so strongly to another era’s music. Something about it is so alluring.

      I had never thought through the rules cross tape cameos of songs, but I immediately fell in love with the idea! It made me want to make a series of mixed tapes! I guess the equivalent these days is creating a playlist, but it’s not the same. I don’t like ebooks because there are no physical pages to turn, and with a playlist, it is virtual. There is no holding of the completed tape when done, and the patting of the back that always went along with it … because it was work!


  2. I’m pretty sure those “rules” were not anything real – just my OCD. But I also had songs that I loved so much I put them on every mix tape, no matter what. Did you have any of those?

    And you’re right – playlists and Pandora and such are just not the same. Nothing is like a good old fashioned homemade mix or the regular old radio. And even the radio sounds different to me today than it did 25 plus years ago. Sigh…so this is middle age, huh?


    1. Billy Joel songs made it onto most of my tape. And “Pour Some Sugar on Me” made it onto every single tape I made my last two years of high school.

      Radio has changed dramatically since our golden age. DJs used to be able to choose the songs. Now it is preset for them at most stations.

      We were able to be at the tale end of a lot of good things. We can appreciate how it was AND the advances there are now. We are getting the best of both worlds!


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