Early 1980s TDK D 60 Audio Cassette

Early 1980s TDK D 60 Audio Cassette

If you were in any way interested in music, or had a need to record audio during the early 1980s, you must surely recognise this cassette. It’s the ubiquitous-beyond-comprehension TDK D 60 – perhaps the general purpose tape of the era. Not because it was the best – but because it struck the perfect balance between price, aptitude and reliability. There were strong rivals, but TDK was a highly respected brand, and that counted for a lot among typical consumers, who wouldn’t necessarily analyse performance in any great technical detail.

This design of TDK D ran for a number of years from the early to mid 1980s – making it even more familar and ‘of its time’. It was very good for its class in terms of noise, but in other respects this was the archetypal ‘entry level’ Type I. Warm and full-bodied in tone rather than sparkling and bright. The tape, could, however, reproduce some pretty serious bass.

I was quite excited to discover that this particular cassette has a live Madness performance recorded onto it. A notable gig, in that it stretches across two separate years. The performance began late on 31st December 1985, in Hammersmith, and ended early on 1st January 1986. As a new year special, it was broadcast on BBC TV. It sounds like my tape recording has been taken direct from the radio, so I’m assuming it was simulcast. Playing the recording took me right back to the end of 1985, which for me was a depressing conclusion to what had been a great year – a moment right after the split of a band I’d absolutely loved being a part of. I’m sure the Madness broadcast would have cheered me up though.

On the B side, among other things, there’s a live performance from the band Big Audio Dynamite, who were fronted by former Clash guitarist Mick Jones. There are no details of the broadcast, but it sounds to me like an episode of Channel 4’s Friday evening music show The Tube.