A guided tour of Bucks Burnett’s Eight Track Museum


Growing up in the 1970s, Bucks Burnett never even owned an eight-track tape: When his parents purchased their first post-LP stereo console, they went straight for a cassette player. “They were visionaries,” he says.

But that hasn’t stopped Burnett from becoming the eight-track’s most vocal champion, amassing an incredible collection of Stereo 8 cartridges, and opening the world’s first museum devoted entirely to the format. Located in the Deep Ellum neighborhood of Dallas, Texas, Burnett’s original Eight Track Museum opened in 2011, offering visitors a peek at an often overlooked medium plus an archive of every audio recording format created since the earliest wax cylinders of the late 1800s. In October of 2012, the second outpost of Burnett’s homage to the 8-track opened at the Orphic Gallery in Roxbury, New York, expanding the reach of his crusade for lesser known forms of audio recording.


Burnett’s obsession with Stereo 8 tapes began after a chance encounter at a garage sale in the ’80s, and he’s never looked back. The quirky vibe of each Eight Track Museum is perfectly matched by Burnett’s outsized personality (when the Oxford English Dictionary decided to remove the entry for “Cassette Tape” in 2011, Burnett retaliated by banning the dictionary from his museum). During the ’80s, Burnett befriended such music world notables as the ukelele-playing Tiny Tim, as well as Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, the founding members of the Talking Heads who went on to create Tom Tom Club in 1981. Among others, each of these stars is a part of Burnett’s unfinished documentary on the 8-track tape, called “Spinal Tape,” which is expected to be completed in 2013.

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