Woman discovers mixtape lost after 25 years – and it still works

Your 90s mixtapes could be floating across the Channel as we speak

A woman has recovered a mixtape she lost on holiday after it washed up on a beach 25 years later, over 1000 miles from where she last saw it.

Stella Wedell took the tape on holiday to the Costa Brava and Majorca in 1993, aged 12, but lost it during the trip.

However, she discovered the mixtape during a holiday to Stockholm last year, along with a list of the 20 songs she had recorded on it, on display at a photography exhibition.

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UK artist Mandy Barker found the tape washed up on a beach in Fuerteventura in 2017 and sent it to a professional audio restorer, who managed to listen to all the tracks.

“When I was reading the tracklist, it seemed very familiar to me,” Wedell said. “So I took a picture of it and compared it with the original CD from 1993, which I still have – and it was exactly the same tracklist, but starting with track three.

Sony Walkman Mixtape
Stella Wedell had recorded her mixtape especially for her Walkman. Credit: Carl Court/Getty Images

“I remember that I didn’t like the first two songs on the CD because I felt they were too old so I wouldn’t have included them when I recorded the mixtape aged 12.”

Wedell had been on holiday in the Costa Brava resort of Empuriabrava and on the island of Majorca when she lost the tape.

It was collected by Barker after washing up on the beach at Playa de Barlovento de Jandia in Fuerteventura in 2017. “Even after getting the tape to play, it was then an astounding chance for Stella to walk into my exhibition and recognise her tape,” Barker explained.

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“She said she was shocked to find it and when I read her email I couldn’t believe it either. It was shock all round. The songs at the start were damaged but further in the songs were as clear as they would be today. It shows how long plastic can exist in the sea,” she added.

The tape will continue touring as part of Barker’s exhibition but will be returned to Stella Wedell afterwards.

The full tracklist is:

1. ‘Somebody Dance With Me’ (Radio Mix) – DJ Bobo
2. ‘Would I Lie To You?’ – Charles & Eddie
3. ‘The Jungle Book Groove’ – Disney Cast
4. ‘Rock With You’ – Inner Circle
5. ‘Do You See The Light’ – Snap
6. ‘One Love’ (Radio Version) – Dr Alban
7. ‘More And More’ – Captain Hollywood Project
8. ‘Oh Carolina’ (Radio Version) – Shaggy
9. ‘The Key, The Secret’ (Glamorously Developed Edit) – Urban Cookie Collective
10. ‘It Keeps Rainin’ (Tears From My Eyes)’ – Bitty McLean
11. ‘Summer Summer’ (Radio Edit) – Loft
12. ‘Never Let Her Slip Away’ – Undercover
13. ‘Power Of American Natives’ – Dance 2 Trance
14. ‘Iron Lion Zion’ (7” Mix) – Bob Marley & The Wailers
15. ‘Sweet Harmony’ – The Beloved
16. ‘Give It Up’ – Cut ‘n’ Move
17. ‘Go West’ – Pet Shop Boys
18. ‘Runaway Trai’n – Soul Asylum
19. ‘(I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You’ – UB40
20. ‘Mr Vain’ – Culture Beat

Last year, the production of cassette tapes was temporarily delayed due to a global shortage of the materials used to make them.

Despite being technologically outdated, a BPI (British Phonographic Industry) report in 2019 revealed that a cassette tape resurgence was taking place as nearly 35,000 cassette tapes were sold in the UK for the first half of the year.

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