Did you know that the Sony Walkman turns 30 years old this week?
I didn’t either.
And, I also feel old now….or maybe again.
I was DJ’s age when I got my first Walkman – and it was an actual Walkman and not one of those knockoffs that came later. As much as I try, I cannot recall the tapes I listened to. Probably some 80s tape from my parents’ collection. I have always been thankful that my dad loves music and has always kept up on it. I do remember, like DJ does today, spending hours with that thing strapped to my side and the earphones in my ears. I shutter to think at how many sets of AA batteries I burned through those days.
I had that Walkman forever. I think I finally had to replace it when I got into high school. And, the replacement was a cheapo one because I was notorious for breaking them (usually by dropping them on cement as I was running for cross country.) In college, my Walkman was replaced by a Discman which got replaced by an MP3 player and eventually the iPod. I cannot imagine not having at least part of my music collection with me now. I remember in my early days of IT when I was building 30 computers a week in the workroom being happy I had brought 10 CDs from home so that I could have music while doing it. Today, I can impulsively download an album if I heard a new band on the radio that I just have to hear more of. Time have definitely changed.
The BBC News Magazine recently gave a 13-year-old boy a Walkman (and took away his iPod) to see what he thought of the device that “started a revolution in portable music” and how it compared to the iPod. Click here to read it.
Fascinating read. It will make you feel old though. One of my favorite passages – when he realizes 3 days into this experiment that cassette tapes are two sided. He had only been listening to one side until then. There are some things about the Walkman that he liked. So take a read, relive your memories of getting your first Walkman, and add your own comments about what you miss (or don’t miss).