Hear Long-Lost Extended 8-Track Versions of Two Rolling Stones Hits
The limitations of the long-gone 8-track cartridge format caused headaches for artists and engineers. While the platform offered the first big chance for mobile record listening and stereo sound to automobile drivers in the '70s and early '80s, it was far from perfect. One band that bravely tried to find a solution was the Rolling Stones – even though Mick Jagger had no time for the cartridge system.
Their 8-track version of their 1978 album Some Girls featured a different running order from the editions released on vinyl and cassette, and later CD (you can see compare track listings below). It also contained three cuts that, until the internet era, were never heard anywhere else. Opener "Miss You" was around 50 seconds longer than the standard version, "Beast of Burden" was about 40 seconds longer and closer "Shattered" was around 60 seconds shorter. You can hear the longer editions below.
Former Atlantic producer and engineer Barry Diament explained some of the challenges in a 2007 forum post, and also revealed Jagger's feelings about the looping cartridge that kept playing until stopped, while requiring a break in playback each time it changed from one pair of stereo tracks to the next. "[M]ost companies just put the program onto the cartridge without consideration for the fact that songs would be interrupted," Diament wrote. "I remember riding in my cousin's car, listening to the Allman Brothers at the Fillmore, being jarred by the sudden stop in the music, then its reappearance a few seconds later (with the music from that gap missing)."
He added: "The 'solution' my bosses came up with...was to first re-sequence the album, trying to get as close as possible to four equal length programs...[but] since getting four equal length programs from most albums doesn't happen more than once out of a hundred or more records, they wanted me to further match the program lengths by having some songs go across the end of loop track switch points.
“Rather than have the abrupt cutoff of music, followed by the abrupt return, they wanted me to fade the song (wherever in the song we happened to be when the time came). Then, before the song re-appeared on the next track pair, they wanted me to rewind the original tape and fade up, across the same 10 seconds or so that faded out at the end of the previous pair of tracks.”
Diament said his preferred solution would have been to "leave all the songs intact, in their original sequence, and if there were long silences, that was just the fact of 8-track life. ... Of course, sometimes those silences were a few minutes long."
He went on to recall his encounter with Jagger, saying: "I was working on an 8-track for a Coasters 'best of' ... Mick Jagger, who was in the studio at the time with the Stones, walked into the room. We talked a bit about the Coasters and what great music they made. Then we talked about 8-tracks. Mick said something like, 'Anyone that buys an 8-track deserves whatever they get.'"
Listen to the Rolling Stones' Extended 'Miss You'
Listen to the Rolling Stones' Extended 'Beast of Burden'
The Rolling Stones, 'Some Girls' Standard Track Listing
1. "Miss You"
2. "When the Whip Comes Down"
3. "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)"
4. "Some Girls"
6. "Far Away Eyes"
8. "Before They Make Me Run"
9. "Beast of Burden" (Extended)
The Rolling Stones, 'Some Girls' 8-Track Track Listing
A1. "Miss You" (Extended)
A2. "When the Whip Comes Down"
B1. "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)"
C1. "Far Away Eyes"
C3. "Before They Make Me Run"
D1. "Some Girls"
D2. "Beast of Burden"