Generation X: Mid 60s – Mid 70s | Before the iPod, there was the Sony Walkman

I know this is hard to believe, especially for all Gen Y-ers, particularly teenagers:

Before the iPod, there was the Sony Walkman. 

Yes, I know, I know.  You may think you know the Walkman, but I’m talking old school, not new school.  And the shocking thing: It played cassette tapes — tapes, for short.

I had an incredible relationship with my Sony Walkman.  (Actually, I had at least 3 Walkmans.)  Oh, there were so many times I’d run to the East Village and stand on line (not “online”) for the latest releases at Tower Records in order to get the full “album” releases and later “singles” — tapes with two songs.  That’s it.  Two.  Play one side — listen to the song.  Turn over.  Play the other side — listen to the song.

I’d play those tapes over and over and over again until the tape in the tape would get worn, or somehow they’d get twisted in the Walkman and I’d try to save it by unraveling it.  Remember that careful procedure?  It was like surgery.  I’d listen to the radio, using the rotary dial, which, of course, only worked if you weren’t in an area that had heavy broadcast interference.  You’d hear nothing, two stations or “rain”.  *shakes fist and says “grrrr”*

Photo Credit:

Press play.  Press forward.  Rewind.  Pause.  Repeat.

Turn. Turn. Turn.

When Sony released the Walkman, everybody wanted to get their hands on one.  The shiny, heavy, box-like machine with the headset that had a spring-like quality to it.  You’d grab both ear pieces with their plush pads connected by a — what was that, stainless steel? — adjustable over-the-head connector, and using both hands, pull them away from your head.  If you had a big head, you were in trouble because if you pulled the ear pieces apart too widely — snap!  There went your over-the-head connector.  And those plush ear pads…(sigh)…they didn’t last.  Since you were addicted to your Walkman, your black plush ear pads would start to disintegrate, shedding everywhere and then before you knew it, you had nothing covering your ear pieces and you’d walk around with headphones without ear pads (and those ear pieces were hard).  I think in a 10-year period, I bought about 15 replacement headsets.

Ah, the good old days.  I bought so many double A batteries back then too.  So many.  And I also have hearing loss.  What?  Huh?  What did you say?


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