Wednesday, July 2, 2014

An Ode to the Walkman

So, nothing makes you feel as old as hearing that a product that defines your childhood is 35 years old, and basically obsolete. 

My hearing is damaged right now as I type because of Sony's invention of the Walkman. 

I don't remember when I got my first Walkman, but I'm pretty sure it was early on, because I can't remember not listening to music.  I'm going to guess it was in 4th grade or so.

So while I'm not sure what the first tape that I played in my Walkman was, I'm pretty sure it was probably Debbie Gibson's Out of the Blue, Tiffany, or Michael Jackson's Bad.  I do remember that my first purchase of a cassette tape was Lionel Ritchie's Dancing on the Ceiling. I also liked Phil Collins and Genesis, Journey, REO Speedwagon, and Air Supply.

I can remember taking it on a field trip to Richmond in 4th or 5th grade.

And also listening to lots of mix tapes. 

For those of you, who, like Caleb, do not remember a time when your IPhone didn't automatically connect to the radio in your car and started playing your playlist (because, there was not an IPhone.  Or a cell phone, for that matter.  I didn't even have a cordless phone at that time.  And I'm pretty sure that blue tooth was something that happened when you drank a blue Icee from the Dime Store... see what I did there? And don't get me started on Icees from the Dime store...)

So, a mix tape was when you listened to the actual radio (gasp!) and recorded whatever songs you liked.

I had quite a few of those.

I also had a pen pal from France who sent me some tapes of popular American music--- but it was recorded in French! That was probably around 7th grade, and by that time I'm pretty sure I had a discman, but I still relied on the Walkman.

About the same time that I most likely got my first Walkman, Billy came to live with us and introduced me to house music, so I also had several tapes that played techno music for 2 hours straight with no breaks and occasional rapping. I loved that stuff.

Then there were the big hair bands- Warrant, Poison,  Motley Crue, with a little Metallica and a lot of Bon Jovi thrown in.

I loved that Walkman.  It accompanied me on many bike rides down Highland Road.

Best of all, it made me appreciate all the more the ability to listen to music that only I wanted to listen to... except I had to sing out loud.  Loudly.  Obnoxiously, sometimes.

Somethings never change, because Caleb is doing the same thing with his IPhone and earbuds.

Thank you, Sony... Apple may have changed music for my son's generation, but you impacted mine greatly.

And because I want you, my audience, to completely appreciate the experience... a few videos for your listening pleasure. (Debbie Gibson) (Michael Jackson- Bad)

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