UNSPOOLED: An Adventure In 8-Tracks by Tim Durling

Make no bones about it folks, Tim Durling is a huge music fan. So much so that he decided to write a book on that long lost format known as the 8-Track.


It must have been about half a year ago that I read that Tim started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for  “Unspooled” to be published in hard and soft cover form. I’m always up for supporting anyone local whose trying to do something   that they believe in.

Now when I say local, Tim is in New Brunswick and I’m in Ontario but regardless I’m supporting someone who is taking a major undertaking in releasing a book that they are passionate about. Plus Tim’s a fellow Canuck! So I consider him local.

Let’s rewind for a minute..

I  have only ever owned one single 8-Track in my life (Billy Joel’s “Glass Houses”) It was vinyl from the start with the odd cassette tape thrown in and as the 80s progressed I got into CD’s and gave up on vinyl (my bad!) but once I hit 50 years young four years ago it was time for a vinyl resurgence in my world.

My earliest recollection of an 8-Track was my parents who at the tail end of the 70’s had ABBA (and a bunch of country artist’s) and I never understood the whole deal of the 8-Track kicking out, clicking and than the song continuing. In case you are wondering why I had only “Glass Houses” on 8-Track the answer is that my parents had joined Columbia House and decided to let me pick out a selection. For some reason I could not find any KISS/Cheap Trick/Judas Priest 8-Tracks as those were my go to bands in 1980.

Remember those Columbia House adds? I do as they would come in Saturdays newspaper as a supplement here in Thunder Bay.

My pal Chico was the first guy who had a copy of AC/DC’s “Back In Black” on 8-track and I still recall this day sitting in his parents car (we were only 13 at the time in 1980) and blasting “Black In Black” in its entirety on the tape deck inside the vehicle.

It was all about the discovery of music back then as a pre teen!

Man, I miss those days…

Fast forward to the present…

So this past week “Unspooled” was delivered to my  mailbox. For someone (moi) who never bought into this 8- Track concept, I love this book as Tim does a deep dive into his  collection as he goes from the years 1981-1988. So cool to see a ton of photos of all kinds of what are now considered Classic Rock artists/bands in these pages and the stories that are behind them.

How about coming across a garbage bag that was headed for the dump that had a copy of Van Halen’s second release along with Kansas in it.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Tons of info regarding many artists and bands and what a great layout this book is as well as you know Tim put a real labour of love into the making of this project.  So much so that he had Martin Popoff write the forword and you know Martin would not put his name to it if he didn’t believe  in it.

Spread out over 190 pages I’m really enjoying reading the backstory on a format I ignored over four decades ago as it’s really cool to see one man’s passion to put together a project that means lots to him.

I have to add that Tim was very hands on at keeping everyone updated on “Unspooled” through his Kickstarter page. He even sent a full PDF file as the book went to print. Great job Sir!

Yes Tim, Blame it on Journey!




35 thoughts on “UNSPOOLED: An Adventure In 8-Tracks by Tim Durling”

  1. I thought I commented earlier but it switched to another blog (damn WP!). I love what this guy is doing, and he succeeded in writing the book. I grew up with them and remember that loud CLICK. When I hear Nazareth’s Hair of the Dog today…I still expect that click.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a well put together read. More about the collector and the stories behind it. Tim’s a great guy Jeff and to undertake publishing a book in this day and age is impressive. After reading it I still love my vinyl but it was great to read about one’s interest in a format long gone..

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, and I get the collector thing. I collect plenty of stuff, but they are all things I like, and 8-tracks were never something I liked. I think I had maybe a dozen in my life, and most of those were given to me (I may have bought just one). They would often switch tracks mid-song, which made me crazy. Anyway, we all have our bits of nostalgia. Rock on!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Very cool! Both the idea of the self-published book and the content. Good on you for taking part. I remember 8-tracks from when I was a kid, but never had any recorded ones as far as I can remember . My older brother did, I remember the first couple of cars my family took trips in with me had 8-track players, and my first little Eatons stereo had an 8-track so I did buy some blank ones to try and tape off the radio with. (I never got much into cassettes either except for blank ones I’d either tape from radio or from CDs and LPs for use in car)


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