The Beatles on Eight Track Tape

The 8-track cartridge format originated in the mid 1960s and, amazingly, survived more than twenty years. It was the preeminent portable and car audio format of the late 1960s and 1970s. In September of 1965, Ford offered a factory installed in-dash player for all their new 1966 models, which helped increase the popularity of the format. In the 1967 model year, Chrysler and GM offered optional 8-track players.

The 1/4 inch tape was housed in a plastic cartridge, running in an endless loop at 3¾ inches per second. The pinch roller was built in to the cartridge, and cheap manufacturing led to the use of plastic rollers instead of rubber, which caused excessive tape wear and jamming. The tape is divided in along its length into 8 channels (tracks) - allowing 4 "channels" of stereo music. Most major companies quit producing 8-tracks by 1988. Several smaller companies continued to release titles into the 1990s.

In the late 1990s, the popularity of collecting 8-track tapes became more popular. Prior to that time, most collectors would pass these by at conventions and on sales lists, figuring them to be pretty much worthless. Trying to find Beatles titles of the 1960s 8-track tapes that are still sealed has become more difficult over the years. Even sealed, they hardly exist in mint condition, as many that turn up have "bubbled" labels and bent outer cardboard sleeves.

The very first Beatles 8-track tape issued was Rubber Soul, at the end of 1965, and the last was Reel Music in 1982. The last Beatles-related 8-track issued was George Harrion's Cloud Nine which was released via record club only in 1987. The ONLY promotional Beatles 8-track ever issued was Live At The Hollywood Bowl, designed for in-store promotional use.

Three distinct Capitol 8-track styles exist -Green backs used from 1965-1966, White cartridges used from 1967-69, and Black cartridges used from 1969-1982:

1. GREEN BACKS - May have a black or white plastic shell, and any one of several grip styles. The most common shell type is the Audiopak, made by Capitol. Another shell type is the Lear Jet shell. The 8-tracks themselves will have front and back covers made of labels adhered to the plastic, with the back cover being a song listing on a green background. Early copies have white shells. Green-back labels were used until 1969 and were used on the later black plastic shells.

2. WHITE CARTRIDGES - In 1967, Capitol's labeling became more colorful. All shells issued in this period were white. The green back was phased out and replaced with a white back which was usually rimmed in red or pink. This issue is easily identified by the pink or blue color on the spine (or front edge) of the 8-track. The first Beatles 8-track issued in this style originally was the double titled package Beatles VI / Yesterday...And Today.

3. BLACK CARTRIDGES - In 1969, Capitol eliminated the white shell altogether, using black from that point on. The issue sports only a front label, instead of a front and a back label, with few exceptions. There are ways to more accurately date 8-tracks from this period. Recessed grips are most common through 1970, though they became scarce afterwards. Around 1971, Capitol started putting their round logo on the back of the shell. Until 1973, this logo was followed by "T.M." From mid-1973 on, a ® (Registered Trademark) symbol followed the Capitol logo. The outer boxes housing the 8-tracks contained a warranty statement until 1975. After mid-1976, Capitol 8-tracks were marked to indicate the factory of origin, using the same symbols as on the LP's. These symbols can be found on the back of the shell near where the Capitol logo usually is. Sometimes the factory symbol, but not Capitol's logo, can be found in this space. In 1982, Capitol stopped producing 8-tracks, although some Beatles solo 8-tracks were available from record clubs until 1987.

Solo Beatles 8-Track Tapes

Click on the catalog number below to see a photo of the tape
The Beatles USA 8-Track Tapes
Catalog NumberTitleLabelDesc.Release Date
8XT-383Abbey RoadAppleBlack shell
(White & black Apples on label)
8XT-383Abbey RoadAppleBlack shell
(White & green Apples on label)
8XT-383Abbey RoadCapitol(California address not on label)1976-79
8XWB-101The Beatles
("white album")
AppleWhite shell
(Contains 2 cartridges individually numbered "8XW-160" and "8XW-161" in black custom Apple slip-on title box)
8XWB-101The Beatles
("white album")
AppleBlack shell
(same as above)
8XWB-101The Beatles
("white album")
CapitolBlack shell
(Outer slip-on box no longer has Apple graphic)
8XW-11638Beatles At The Hollywood BowlCapitolBlack shell 1977
SMAS-11638Beatles At The Hollywood BowlCapitolWhite shell, promo
(Contains 5 selections from the LP, label reads "IN-STORE PROMOTION NOT FOR SALE")
8X3T-358 Beatles Deluxe, The
Meet The Beatles/
Magical Mystery Tour/
Yesterday and Today
CapitolBlack shells, triple tape set
(Issued in a 12-1/4" square black custom hinged box. Plastic inner tray holds the three tapes. This is the rarest of all Beatles 8-Track issues.)
8XT-2358Beatles VI
(see also combo version listed below with Yesterday And Today)
AppleBlack shell 1969
8XT-2228Beatles '65CapitolWhite shell1969
8XT-2228Beatles '65CapitolBlack shell1969
8XT-2309Early BeatlesCapitolBlack shell
(Contains extra track Roll Over Beethoven)
8X2T-2521Early Beatles/
Meet The Beatles
CapitolWhite shell, green-back issue
(Double LP on one tape set)
P8-3661First Live Recordings Vol. 1PickwickTan shell
(From 1962 Hamburg,Germany)
P8-3662First Live Recordings Vol. 2PickwickTan shell
(From 1962 Hamburg,Germany)
U-3006A Hard Day's NightUnited ArtistsBlack shell
(Has extended version of A Hard Day's Night)
8XT-2386HelpCapitolBlack shell 1969
8XT-385Hey JudeAppleBlack shell
(Capitols' 4 factories listed on Label)
8XT-385Hey JudeAppleBlack shell
(No factories listed on label)
4504-8In The BeginningPolydorWhite shell 1970
4504-8/RCOAIn The BeginningPolydorWhite shell
(Record Club issue through Record Club ofAmerica)
ART-8001Let It BeAppleBlack shell
(Has two red Apples on label)
8XW-11921Let It BeCapitolBlack shell 1979
TP-2-7001Live At The Starclub: Hamburg,GermanyLingasongBlack shell
(Issued with custom slip-on title box)
8X2B-11711Love SongsCapitolBlack shell, with title graphics
(Double LP on one tape)
8XT-2835Magical Mystery TourCapitolWhite shell 1967
8XT-2835Magical Mystery TourCapitolBlack shell 1970
8XT-2047Meet The BeatlesCapitolWhite shell 1967
8XT-2047Meet The BeatlesCapitolBlack shell 1969
8XKB-3403The Beatles 1962-1966AppleBlack shell, double tape set
(Contains 2 cartridgesindividually numbered "8XK-3405" and "8XK-3406")
8XKB-3404The Beatles 1967-1970AppleBlack shell, double tape set
(contains 2 cartridgesindividually numbered "8XK-3407" and "8XK-3408")
8XA-12060RaritiesCapitolBlack shell1980
8XV-12199Reel MusicCapitolBlack shell
(Last available Beatles title on 8-trackformat in U.S.)
8XT-2576RevolverCapitolWhite shell, green-back issue1966
8XT-2576RevolverCapitolBlack shell1969
8XT-2576/TA-63004RevolverCapitolWhite shell
(Record Club issue)
MID 1970s
8XW-2576RevolverCapitolBlack shell 1976
8X2K-11537Rock 'N' Roll MusicCapitolBlack shell
(Double LP on one tape)
8XT-2442Rubber SoulCapitolWhite shell, green-back issue
(FIRST Beatles 8-track release)
8XT-2442/TA-63099Rubber SoulCapitolWhite shell
(Capitol Record Club issue)
8XT-2442Rubber SoulCapitolBlack shell 1970
8XW-2442Rubber SoulCapitolBlack shell1976
8XT-2080Second AlbumCapitolWhite shell1967
8XT-2080Second AlbumCapitolBlack shell1970
8XT-2653Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club BandCapitolWhite shell
(Extended version of Sgt. Pepper Reprise)
8XT-2653Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club BandCapitolBlack shell1970
8XT-2108Something NewCapitolWhite shell
(Extra track Thank You Girl)
8XT-2108Something NewCapitolBlack shell
(Extra track Thank You Girl)
8XW-153Yellow SubmarineApple/CapitolWhite shell
(Extra track Lucy In The Sky WithDiamonds)
8XW-153Yellow SubmarineApple/CapitolBlack shell 1969
8X2T-2648Yesterday and Today
Beatles VI
CapitolWhite shell / double tape
(All tracks from Y&T album are in true stereo)
8XT-2553Yesterday And TodayCapitolWhite shell 1968
8XT-2553Yesterday And TodayCapitolBlack shell 1970
8XT-2553/TA-63098Yesterday And TodayCapitolWhite shell
(Alternate photo with purple background and yellow print, Record Club issue)

8trposts.jpg - 15065 Bytes

A 24" by 48" Capitol promotional poster for 8-track and cassette tapes. Featured was Abbey Road and Band On The Run, plus releases by The Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, Helen Reddy, Bob Seger, Steve Miller Band and others.

Capitol tape list

Apple Records retailer order form for cartridge tapes. Click for enlargement.

Special thanks to Perry Cox, Tom Drozewski and Robert York for help in compiling and designing this page. 8-track logo graphic courtesy of Robert York.

Get Back to home pageSolo Beatles 8-Track Tapes