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.
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.
It was the hottest item of it’s time, with a fervour matching the iPhone today, wasn’t it? Loved this post!
That’s so true… the Sony Walkman was the iPhone of its day. I hadn’t thought of it that way 🙂
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
Oh my goodness. I haven’t thought of Sam Goody in forever!
Laurie Collett says
I always though a fort like that would be loads of fun! Thanks for hosting & God bless!
Indah Nuria Savitri says
stunning color! I have one from Sony, years agoo…but it was grey, not lovely yellow like that :)…yeaah, it was really cool to have one at that time…
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!
Christy Garrett @ Uplifting Families says
I remember my first walkman, I loved it too. I could use it while walking or riding my bike. I also remember my first portable cd player too. I have always had a love for listening to music and still do. 😉
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? 😉
Donella Crigger says
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.
Ha! That’s awesome. The CD Walkmans always drove me a little crazy because they would skip. But I had one… for my car!
Mimi Widmer says
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.