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 60s and 70s. 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.

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. It's hard to believe, but several smaller companies still release titles on this format today!

Now, in the late 1990s, the popularity of collecting 8-track tapes is noticeably on the rise. It wasn't too many years ago that most collectors would pass these by at conventions and on lists, figuring them as pretty much worthless. Just try to find ANY Beatles title of a 1960s 8-track tape that is still sealed - you'll find many titles harder to find and perhaps rarer than their sealed vinyl counterparts. Even sealed, they hardly exist in mint condition, as many had "bubbled" labels and bent outer cardboard sleeves.

The first Beatles 8-track tape issued was Rubber Soul at the end of 1965, and the last was Reel Music in 1982. 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 well into the 1980s.

- MM/PC
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 Number Title Label Desc. Release Date
8XT-383 Abbey Road Apple Black shell
(White & black Apples on label)
1969
8XT-383 Abbey Road Apple Black shell
(White & green Apples on label)
1970
8XT-383 Abbey Road Capitol (California address not on label) 1976-79
8XWB-101 The Beatles
("white album")
Apple White shell
(Contains 2 cartridges individually numbered "8XW-160" and "8XW-161" in black custom Apple slip-on title box)
1969
8XWB-101 The Beatles
("white album")
Apple Black shell
(same as above)
1970
8XWB-101 The Beatles
("white album")
Capitol Black shell
(Outer slip-on box no longer has Apple graphic)
1976-79
8XW-11638 Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl Capitol Black shell 1977
SMAS-11638 Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl Capitol White shell, promo
(Contains 5 selections from the LP, label reads "IN-STORE PROMOTION NOT FOR SALE")
1977
8X3T-358 Beatles Deluxe, The
Meet The Beatles/
Magical Mystery Tour/
Yesterday and Today
Capitol Black 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.)
1969
8XT-2358 Beatles VI
(see also combo version listed below with Yesterday And Today)
Apple Black shell 1969
8XT-2228 Beatles '65 Capitol White shell 1969
8XT-2228 Beatles '65 Capitol Black shell 1969
8XT-2309 Early Beatles Capitol Black shell
(Contains extra track Roll Over Beethoven)
1969
8X2T-2521 Early Beatles/
Meet The Beatles
Capitol White shell, green-back issue
(Double LP on one tape set)
1966
P8-3661 First Live Recordings Vol. 1 Pickwick Tan shell
(From 1962 Hamburg,Germany)
1979
P8-3662 First Live Recordings Vol. 2 Pickwick Tan shell
(From 1962 Hamburg,Germany)
1979
U-3006 A Hard Day's Night United Artists Black shell
(Has extended version of A Hard Day's Night)
1970
8XT-2386 Help Capitol Black shell 1969
8XT-385 Hey Jude Apple Black shell
(Capitols' 4 factories listed on Label)
1970
8XT-385 Hey Jude Apple Black shell
(No factories listed on label)
1976
4504-8 In The Beginning Polydor White shell 1970
4504-8/RCOA In The Beginning Polydor White shell
(Record Club issue through Record Club of America)
1970
ART-8001 Let It Be Apple Black shell
(Has two red Apples on label)
1970
8XW-11921 Let It Be Capitol Black shell 1979
TP-2-7001 Live At The Starclub: Hamburg,Germany Lingasong Black shell
(Issued with custom slip-on title box)
1977
8X2B-11711 Love Songs Capitol Black shell, with title graphics
(Double LP on one tape)
1977
8XT-2835 Magical Mystery Tour Capitol White shell 1967
8XT-2835 Magical Mystery Tour Capitol Black shell 1970
8XT-2047 Meet The Beatles Capitol White shell 1967
8XT-2047 Meet The Beatles Capitol Black shell 1969
8XKB-3403 The Beatles 1962-1966 Apple Black shell, double tape set
(Contains 2 cartridges individually numbered "8XK-3405" and "8XK-3406")
1973
8XKB-3404 The Beatles 1967-1970 Apple Black shell, double tape set
(contains 2 cartridges individually numbered "8XK-3407" and "8XK-3408")
1973
8XA-12060 Rarities Capitol Black shell 1980
8XV-12199 Reel Music Capitol Black shell
(Last available Beatles title on 8-track format in U.S.)
1982
8XT-2576 Revolver Capitol White shell, green-back issue 1966
8XT-2576 Revolver Capitol Black shell 1969
8XT-2576/TA-63004 Revolver Capitol White shell
(Record Club issue)
MID 1970s
8XW-2576 Revolver Capitol Black shell 1976
8X2K-11537 Rock 'N' Roll Music Capitol Black shell
(Double LP on one tape)
1976
8XT-2442 Rubber Soul Capitol White shell, green-back issue
(FIRST Beatles 8-track release)
1965
8XT-2442/TA-63099 Rubber Soul Capitol White shell
(Capitol Record Club issue)
1970
8XT-2442 Rubber Soul Capitol Black shell 1970
8XW-2442 Rubber Soul Capitol Black shell 1976
8XT-2080 Second Album Capitol White shell 1967
8XT-2080 Second Album Capitol Black shell 1970
8XT-2653 Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band Capitol White shell
(Extended version of Sgt Pepper Reprise)
1967
8XT-2653 Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band Capitol Black shell 1970
8XT-2108 Something New Capitol White shell
(Extra track Thank You Girl)
1967
8XT-2108 Something New Capitol Black shell
(Extra track Thank You Girl)
1970
8XW-153 Yellow Submarine Apple/Capitol White shell
(Extra track Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds)
1969
8XW-153 Yellow Submarine Apple/Capitol Black shell 1969
8X2T-2648 Yesterday and Today
Beatles VI
Capitol White shell / double tape
(All tracks from Y&T album are in true stereo)
1967
8XT-2553 Yesterday And Today Capitol White shell 1968
8XT-2553 Yesterday And Today Capitol Black shell 1970
8XT-2553/TA-63098 Yesterday And Today Capitol White shell
(Alternate photo with purple background and yellow print, Record Club issue)
1970


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.



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