Ads #79: Music Ads

Yes, Mrs. Johnson, your new Yamaha Electone Organ will definitely bring you closer to your punk daughter.

Here is a collection of randomly chosen music related ads.  I steered away from advertising for specific artists and albums - these pertain to instruments, audio equipment and media, etc.  We'll start with cassette tapes....


I'm sure they thought this would be sexy; but all I can think is how sweaty these plastic wrap pants would be.

If I'm not mistaken, this is Geena Davis.

Nope.  Sorry. Cassette tapes sounded awful.

Possibly the most bold-faced lie ever perpetrated in advertising history.  Cassette tapes did not last. Records might scratch, but they lasted - cassettes were ticking time bombs.

Randy's drug dealing days are over; he owns a legit business now.  Although, regular customers may find "something extra" in their Jethro Tull cassettes.


This is oh-so very metal; especially that armband.

He is so high right now.

The Warlock Bass.  The perfect instrument to strum onstage in front of a Stonehenge prop with smoke machine cranked up to 11.

Of all the advertising I've posted on Retrospace, this may be the winner for most tasteless and inappropriate.   I love it.


Cheers to Radio Shack for almost delivering an upskirt in their stereo ad.

Touch Disco - it's disco, but with lots of touching.

Do my eyes deceive me, or does one of these eight tracks look NSFW?

Meanwhile, in an advertisement completely unrelated to the Sony cassette tape ad above, we once again have a woman in Saran wrap pants.

I pulled this ad from a 1980 issue of Savor magazine.  Plenty more music ads still sit unpublished, but we'll hold off until next time.  See you then!


  1. The "problem" with cassettes was most people treated them like shit. If you bought good quality ones and took care of them, never played them in a $19.95 player, or slammed them back and forth with fast forward/rewind, they could last a very long time.

    Some of the best car stereo setups I ever heard used Nakamichi cassette decks.

    1. I didn't get an 8-track player when everyone else did; but went to cassettes before they became popular. I even had cassette recorder decks in my car. Yes, the cassette had its drawbacks. Mainly, the speed: 1 7/8 inches per second; a quarter the speed of normal reel-to-reel tape, and half the width. A lot of information was running on that 1/4-inch tape with four tracks. I still have a lot of cassettes; they had their uses, even compared to the better-sounding CDs. They didn't skip in a moving player.

    2. Voiceofthe70sOctober 27, 2015

      I'm not surprised you didn't have an 8-track player. There is a common stereotype and misconception now that everyone in the 70s listened to 8-tracks. This is inaccurate. Although they were ubiquitous for a time, nobody even reasonably hip would be caught dead using one. The format was just too ridiculous,unwieldy and yes, uncool. Consequently they were abandoned by young people almost immediately, and became the province of old people riding around in big Buicks listening to Mantovani and Lawrence Welk.

    3. Untrue. Although 8-track and compact cassette were developed around the same time, 8-track gained an earlier lead in popularity and availability. *Plenty* of "hip" people had them.

  2. That Scotch ad is quite the turn-off. I hate when people try to look like hip old people, especially that face she's making in the last 2 frames.

    Swap-a-Tape. Like wow.

    That whole factory-engineered heavy metal look was the most embarrassing of all music-based fashion styles. Ugh.

    An upskirt followed by a downblouse followed by a nude. Bravo! BTW, what the hell is she doing in the Radio Shack ad? That thing in her hand could be some sort of fake tympani mallet, but it's too short. Is it a marshmallow on some fancy stick? What object would go with money in her left hand?

  3. Yeah, cassettes blew, but you at least you could enjoy their crap sound anywhere! I bought them for several years after (stupidly) selling all my heavy, unwieldy vinyl. Columbia Record & Tape Club baby! But Geena Davis... wow! Love her even more now.

  4. The one thing that I liked about tapes was that they didn't skip. The early CD players, especially the portable ones, skipped a lot. Metal guys still swear by tapes. I guess they sound a little warmer and they make recording on the fly easy to record. However, in today's day and age digital recording is getting really easy to record with.

    Some of my early cassette players sounded fantastic. There was always that hiss going on but some of my better tapes on a good player sounded really good. CD's and digital media; i.e, flashdrives, mp4's, mp3's, wave files, etc., can prove hard for me to get a really balanced mixed sound sometimes. The high's can be so harsh but when eq'd down they sort of get lost in the mix. So sometimes I have to settle for harsher highs or muddled highs. I don't recall that problem with tapes. I'm not sure but it sounds like a compression issue with digital media sometimes. I still dig vinyl for a nice warm mixed sound but that doesn't help while I'm driving.

  5. I also had no problems with cassettes, sound-quality wise. Using quality blank tapes and good tape decks that were regularly maintained, I made plenty of good sounding tapes for my car stereo & walkman. I've never had a cassette deck tell me it couldn't read a tape, but I've had computers tell me it couldn't read a CD-R or digital file. MP3 players are great for the obscene amount of music they can hold and quick track access, but that's the only advantage, IMHO. They can sound kind of harsh if you don't have an amp or receiver with some kind of expander or other mode to improve the compressed sound.

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  7. MP3's are highly dependent on the bit-rate used to encode them. Higher bit-rates give better fidelity (wider frequency response), but the bad thing is that almost all are 16-bit conversions, which severely limits the dynamic range.

    There are also other encoder algorithms you can use that don't "throw away" so much of the input content for the sake of a smaller file.

    FLAC is a good one, and OGG is another.

  8. "Arthur Murray taught me dancing in a hurry"

  9. This post is hilarious - the commentary cracked me up.

    I like Cecilia Formica from Paris, France.