Wednesday, October 27, 2010

RIP Sony's Walkman (sort of)

It turns out the reports of the death of Sony's Walkman were only half true. According to an article in PC Magazine yesterday, Sony will cease its production of the iconic personal music player in Japan, but it's still available in the US. I honestly thought it was gone from store shelves years ago.

I got my first Walkman at the ripe old age of fourteen. It was a Christmas present, and if I recall correctly, the first song I played on it was Eric Clapton's "It's in the Way That You use It." I wish I had a cooler story that that, but it was the late-80s and coolness wasn't on my radar yet. I was just glad to have something that let me listen to music in the privacy of my own two ears, no longer tethered to the "big stereo" in the family room. The real fun was taking it to school with me the next week just to spite the principal who threatened each semester to ban all portable music players, but he never did.

Needless to say, I promptly dropped it in the second floor girls' bathroom, losing the back that held the battery inside the body. I wrapped the thing in duct tape for the next year because my working-class parents sure as hell weren't going to buy me a new one. I went through several walkmen (walkmans?) throughout the 80s and all the way up to the 2000s when I finally broke down and bought, get this, a discman. No early adopter, I only bought my first iPod a couple years ago and now can't imagine life without it. Yes I can. It involved cassettes rattling around in the bottom of my backpack and the inevitable call of "Can I make you a mixtape?" I'm not one to get misty over the technology of my youth, and I don't miss schlepping around tapes, but it's sad when something so iconic, something so suggestive of a particular era goes the way of the dinosaur.

1 comment:

  1. My Walkman recorder is still going strong after 24 years. Still haven't found anything digital that is affordable and records in decent stereo quality.