If you had to name a device that defined how people of a specific era listened to music, what would you offer? Today, the options seem endless. Seems like just yesterday when the iPod was invented. Then streaming music. And now smart home devices. But how about past decades?

The jukebox for the 1950s? Albums on console stereos for the 1960s? How about 8-track players for the 1970s? And then there were the 1980s, the era when I attended high school and college. What would you suggest represents music listening habits for that timeframe? Cassette recorders? CD players? 

For people of all ages in the 1980s, it was all about the Sony Walkman. That single device changed how we listened to music, and it added an element of “cool” to cassettes. Sony truly was “the one and only.” I vividly remember my first Walkman. Silver metallic. Cassette only. (Who needed radio?) Lightweight headphones. Telescopic case. I listened to my cassettes in that player for countless hours. And when it finally wore out, I bought the yellow Walkman Sports version.   

The original Walkman launched in Tokyo in 1979. Ultimately, total production of Walkman units surpassed 200 million globally with more than 300 different Walkman models. But as cassettes became less popular, so did the Walkman, and this seemingly must-have gadget came to an end in 2010. 

Will the iPhone meet the same demise? Seems unlikely today, but many of us Walkman users thought the same in the 1980s.

Have a terrific Tuesday, and thanks for reading.

Shane Goodman
Editor and Publisher
Times Vedette digital editions