Thanks For That Little Yellow Box

While children and teenagers across the land were secretly reading books by flashlight under the covers, I was covertly listening to the radio. My parents were none the wiser, thanks to a plastic yellow box — the Sony Sports Walkman.

Yellow Plastic Sony Sports Walkman

With the Walkman came the ability to listen without creating noise through the stereo. This meant I could lie in the darkness of my room while my parents watched television downstairs. (But don’t tell them. I don’t want to get in trouble.)

The Sony Walkman changed how we listened to music. You could be in a room full of people and individually enjoy your tunes. No one knew if you were rocking out to Henry Rollins or loving on Lionel Richie. The notes were just for you.

At night, the radio became a jungle of new sounds. Nationally syndicated shows, deemed “too mature” for younger audiences, grabbed airtime late at night. The doctors suddenly took over the airwaves — from Dr. Demento to Dr. Ruth. My local college radio station — Siena College’s WVCR 88.3 FM — turned up the heat in the evening, pulling out new songs and obscure artists.

Music isn’t just something I listened to, I devoured it. My ever-present friend whacked me over the head with the punk scene, introduced me to new wave depression and snuck in a random rock ballad once in a while.

I was able to step into a different ecosystem of music and culture thanks to Sony. While friends were bopping to Tiffany, I was hanging with King Crimson. While classmates were swooning over Wham!, I was angry with early U2. Those late night rendezvous with my Walkman radically changed how I viewed the world. It transplanted me from my sleepy suburbia to a thriving urban oasis of sound.

I can’t even imagine how my mind would have been molded without the eye-opening tunes of emerging artists and underground amateurs. So thank you little yellow box. You rocked my world.


  1. I had a sony walkman for cds, and it was my life. I had my headphones in at all times and loved going to Sam Goody for a fresh set of tunes. This is definitely how I wasted my time for so many years of youth lol

    1. This was the “waterproof” version so you could take it to the beach and not worry about getting sand and water into the mechanism. Boy did I love that bright yellow!

    1. I remember getting a portable CD player but it always drove me crazy how it would skip so easily whenever I moved around. Boy, we sure lead rough lives, didn’t we? 😉

  2. Ah, brings back memories. I didn’t have the radio or cassette one, but I had a walkman that played CDs. I’m sure my brothers still have nightmares of me belting out Mariah Carey tunes while I had my headphones on.

  3. Wow, i had exact the same back in the 90’s. Such a cool item. Thank you for bringing me memories from my childhood and teenage years.

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