“I remember going to work with one of those enormous, brick-like Walkmans that we all used to have…” -Damian Lewis on NPR
Happy 41st to 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 we go 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!
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!
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…
“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…”
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?
“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 😀