Happy Birthday to SONY Walkman: I had one and Damian had one, too!

“I remember going to work with one of those enormous, brick-like Walkmans that we all used to have…” -Damian Lewis on NPR

Happy 39th Birthday SONY Walkman!

One of the great things about writing on Damian Lewis is that he’s from my generation. This essentially means I very easily relate to a lot of things about him, from the football team he supports, the pop culture references he makes, his sense of humor or the music he likes — I know some people have found his music taste “unsophisticated” on Desert Island Discs, but hey, we both grew up in the 80s, cut us some slack please ☺ And so some of the stories I write are mine as much as his… like… this one!

Today’s throwback takes us back to 1980s, to a big cultural icon and a real coolness symbol of the times: SONY Walkman… and Damian Lewis, too! Well, as the Great Charlie Crews says “everything is connected.” And everything, in our universe, finds his way, ultimately, to Damian.

One of my music idols and my first ever crush Simon Le Bon, the lead singer of Duran Duran, suggests in an interview with The Stranger that it was Sony Walkman that changed everything about listening to music:

“Nothing has happened recently that compares to the massive change that happened at the beginning of the ’80s, when the Sony Walkman was invented. That was the biggest change in music. It still is. It’s still massive. The fact that people listen to their own music, and they have their own playlists, their own set of likes. You don’t have to listen to everybody else’s choice. That, to me, still is the biggest development in the music scene in 50 years. Everything comes from that. The downloading, the internet, the relationship with music that the internet has provided wouldn’t exist if the Sony Walkman hadn’t been invented.”

Ah, and I still remember the day I received my PRECIOUS! 🙂

My mom always promised me some gift for the end of school year on the condition that my report card looked exactly the way she wanted… meaning that I had to stay at the top of my class! And, in mid-1980s, the Walkman was all the rage in Turkey! I know it was introduced in the US and in Europe way before, but what else could you do if you lived in a developing country? We just waited for the stuff to eventually arrive!!!

So, my mom promised to buy a Walkman for me that year. And, not one of the lesser brands (sorry, Toshiba, Panasonic, Aiwa and all that!)  but MINE would be a Sony Walkman — it was the ultimate symbol of coolness at the time — and it would be RED!!!!! Haha, it seems I always liked RED things!

The anticipation was AMAZING! I just could not believe that you could have some portable gadget that you could take anywhere with you and listen to your music. Anywhere… On the bus, on the beach, even when you go to bed… you could still listen to “The Wild Boys.” BRILLIANT! Haha, yes, Damian, there was Kevin before you, and there was Simon Le Bon way way before him singing “…and your telephone keeps ringing while you’re dancing in the rain…” The silliest lyrics, huh? But who cares? I loved them! My teenage bedroom was full of Duran Duran and Simon Le Bon posters looking at me from all different angles. To this day, I regret I never took a pic of my room. Bummer!

duranduran

And… I am extremely happy to report that our favorite guy turns out to be a Duran Duran fan as well. I smiled BIG when I read Damian saying in an interview with The Times that he was forced, as a teenager, to choose between indie rock and Duran Duran, and he was “right in the Simon Le Bon camp in a fairly dreadful way. And prog rock.” Thank you, Damian! You could not have made me happier!

Now, here is a picture for those of you that are not old enough to remember the original Walkman cassette player and especially for those of you that, in fact, remember it just for the sake of sweet nostalgia! And here is a nice article talking about how the walkman came about and evolved over the years!

86/472-1:2 Sony Walkman cassette player, Japan, [1984] (with earphones)
86/472-1:2 Sony Walkman cassette player, Japan, [1984] (with earphones)
Ah, the good old cassettes! They were always damaged after some use and did not rewind well— especially if you tried to rewind and play the same song again, and again, and again… like I did… like all the time… Then we inserted pencils into the reel holes to rewind them! Remember that? If you don’t remember that, you are very young, and I present you wikihow teaching how to rewind a cassette in six steps here!

Now, in celebration of those good ol’ days, this song is for myself, for Damian and for those of you out there that had a Walkman and listened to Duran Duran on it 🙂

I had my PRECIOUS for a couple of years, then I had another Walkman, then the CD Walkman, then an iPod, and then another iPod when they made the smaller one, and then got a Shuffle, too, just for fun. Today, I have most of my music-on-the-go on my iPhone.

BUT… none of them gave me the happiness and the excitement I had when I got my first one.

I just believe that the first in everything is just special and may be left behind at some point, but never forgotten, and always a memory to savor, even years and years later…

Being in the same generation, Damian, of course, did not just enjoy ’80s music but he also had a SONY Walkman, too… And, honestly, being the musical guy that he is, it would be so surprising if he didn’t have one, right?

Damian shares a really fun story on THR Drama Actors: Full Uncensored Interview a few years ago when asked about whether he had a miserable job before he got a break as an actor…

source: Hollywood Reporter
source: Hollywood Reporter

“I just had a terrible, boring… yes, selling car alarms, tele sales, car alarms, down in the land of South London, gang-land.

It was a time when Phil Collins had gone solo… And, Genesis, yeah it had its moment, and then he went solo and it went wrong for Phil… and…

source: Hollywood Reporter
source: Hollywood Reporter

Jon Hamm intervenes:

“This is Sussudio Era?” (side note: Haha Jon knows his Phil Collins, too!)

“Yeah… Later than that…It is… remember that song?

(He sings):

“Oh, think twice, it’s just another day for
For you and me in paradise…”

“Oh My God, and I had this brick SONY Walkman and I sort of come out of the Tube like this, and every morning I put the radio on and this song would just come to my ears and I go off to sell car alarms with “Oh, think twice…” just going on in my head.

It was terrible. It was a terrible three months.”

You can watch it here and see Damian sing a bit of “Another Day in Paradise.”

You’re welcome 😀

I admit I sort of liked “Another Day in Paradise” and I remember it was the opening song on the B-side of my favorite mixed tape in senior year of high school!

So, Damian, this one is just for you 😀

10 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to SONY Walkman: I had one and Damian had one, too!”

  1. Quite interesting comments! I enjoyed this posting. Although the transistor radio was the Walkman of my era. (Confession time here, my children are all older than Damian.) That era was the 50’s. My radio was a GE and made of leather. My husband’s was a Zenith. Oh yes, we were teenagers together. Both took batteries of course. (The radios, not us.) Mine hasn’t been seen in years, but his is sitting on a shelf in the garage; still works too!

    1. Thank you, Connie! As much as Walkman let people listen to whatever music you want, their own choices, rather than set programming, on the go, Transistor radio is the first that let people carry their music and programming wherever they go! Love it that you were teenagers together. I know those radios are incredibly durable, we still have my grandmom’s transistor radio from 1950s in my mom’s house. I used to listen children’s programs on it (early 1980s) when I was a kid and so it brings back sweet childhood memories and it is very precious for me.

      As always, thanks so much for reading us, and please keep your feedback coming!

  2. Ok I’ve got an adorable story with regards to the cassette tape and the generation that doesn’t know what they are!

    My son and I like to play a game where he gets on my husband’s cell phone, and he texts me emojis. It’s usually a half dozen of the smiling poop, some of the animals, smileys, etc. One day he was playing this with me, and he sent me the little emoji of the cassette tape, and sings “Iiiiiiiiiiii’m hooked on a FEELIN!!” His only point of reference for the cassette tape is the movie “Guardians of the Galaxy.” I felt REALLY old. 🙂

    1. Adorable story! I cannot find it now but I saw this video where they give a good old walkman to a teenager and he cannot figure out what to do with it. He does not even understand it is to hear music! Maybe it is staged, I don’t know, but it is possible that young kids now have NO IDEA about it 🙂

      1. There’s a youtube series where they do “kids react to _____” They’ve done some really funny ones, like “Kids react to grumpy cat” and “kids react to jnco jeans from the 90’s”, I think they are probably the ones who did the video you are thinking of!

  3. This brings back such memories! I had a “walkman” but not Sony one. My dad got one “off a truck” that was Aiwa (I think that was the brand). I remember trying to tape songs off the radio and making a “mixed tape” to listen on it! You would miss the beginning of some of the songs because the DJ wouldn’t shut up! I had shoe boxes and shoe boxes full of tapes! I have no idea where they went!

    Thank you for bring back memories from the best decade: The 80’s!!

    1. In my 30s my nephews lived a few years with me. They HAD to have Walkmans, so, of course, they got ‘em. Then I would get all irritated they were always on their ear buds. It all goes too quickly to sweat such small stuff. (We didn’t say earbuds,did we? What were they calling?)

      1. Hahaha all that “ear buds” stuff and kids not talking to adults started back then… Still, we used to put aside the walkman and go out with friends. Ipads and such are basically making kids want to stay home and not go out! 🙂

        Maybe we called them headphones?

    2. Hahaha OUR DECADE, baby! And, you know what, yes Aiwa is a brand and Lewisto had an Aiwa walkman, too. For some reason, I was obsessed with SONY. Oh the mixed tapes!!!! HOW FUN!!!! I had drawers full of cassettes and brought some to the US with me when I came in 1996 and I am sure my mom got rid of the rest!

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