Throwback Thursday to an ’80s Cultural icon: SONY Walkman

"I remember going to work with one of those enormous, 
brick-like Walkmans that we all used to have..." 
- Damian Lewis on NPR
source: LA Times
source: LA Times

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 when we happened to be teenagers: SONY Walkman… And to some “tasteful” 80s music as well! 🙂

Ah, 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 — man 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 “Wild Boys.” BRILLIANT! Haha, yes, Damian, there was Kevin before you, and there was Simon Le Bon way way 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 Duran Duran!


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!

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 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 Lewis, of course, 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 told a really fun story on the THR Drama Actors: FullUncensored 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 Studio Era?” (side note: Ha, ha, 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 “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 for you 🙂

Author: Damianista

Academic, Traveler, Blogger, Runner, Theatre Lover, Wine Snob, Part-time New Yorker, and Walking Damian Lewis Encyclopedia :D Procrastinated about a fan's diary on Damian Lewis for a while and the rest is history!

11 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday to an ’80s Cultural icon: SONY Walkman”

  1. ‘Now, those days are gone’ … Wowzers, it feels like yesterday yet it is a distant memory…. And It seems ‘nostalgia’ and ‘melancholia’ ( in a very throaty Greek way of saying) are central themes in DL’s life. (Sorry Nyfes’ sentimental quotes are still so vivid on my mind:-) I am from a Walkman generation myself too but sadly I don’t remember my first ‘precious’ one. Does it mean I have betrayed her?! I had so many of them; different colors, mades. shapes….And I remember how jealous I was when my best friend’s Japanese neighbour brought her a brand new Sony Walkman from his country as a present. (he brought me only some fancy chopsticks). This was a real deal, high-tech stuff by then…. But I remember my first ‘precious’ cassette ever. It was Trio’s ‘Da Da Da’:-))) I was only 4, doing crazy oriental hip moves in aha aha aha da da da rtyhms whenever I heard the song on the radio… And one afternoon my grandfather came home with their cassette… And thanks Damian reminding us how awful morning commute in London is – we still listen ‘Another Day in Paradise’ sometimes on our way to work ; from our IPhone, Spotify, available offline’ playlist selection hehe:-))

    1. Ah, the Walkman. I was a really late adopter myself. My sisters and I were boom boxing it up way into the 80’s and didn’t feel the need for anything portable and private till we got to our twentis. Don’t remember ever owning a cassette walkman. But I do distinctly remember a CD walkman I would carry about on morning commutes in NYC, and despite the anti-skip technology only sort of working, turning it on would promptly drain the battery after about an hour or so. I don’t think carrying around CD’s and expecting them to not skip was ever achieved by man.:)
      I skipped over the early iPods, late adopter that I was, and got an iPod Touch as my first real usable portable music device just a few years ago. And it still stays my go-to on the treadmill.
      It’s important to hold on to these things as long as possible. Getting new stuff all the time as soon as it comes out only adds to the melancholia within nostalgia, I think.:)

    2. Gozde, thanks so much for your lovely comment – my precious was just so PRECIOUS that there was no way for me to forget about it – something like first love, first kiss… And when I heard Damian talking about his “brick walkman” it just put a huge smile on my face! I still remember the nights I was sleeping with my precious with the headphones on and because my precious had the capability to reverse the casette it was playing Simon Le Bon singing something – anything – all night 😀 Me and my brits 😀 Coming to Nyfes… I love that movie, it was such a pleasant surprise to see the opening scenes were supposedly in Izmir – my hometown – and I really have to write about that romantic man, Norman Harris, very soon! Much love.

        1. You know, my dear Bookworm, you may wanna write about Norman, too — I just say this for selfish reasons 🙂 I can just tell what I’ve seen but you can do MORE! He goes back home to his broken marriage. And maybe he finds Niki one day in Chicago? That story must not end there! 😀

    3. Funny fantasy by a friend who is living in the same building with Phil Collins in NYC. She wants to get on the elevator with him one day with her ring tone set to Another Day in Paradise.Then her husband calls her while in the elevator – all staged, of course; and my friend just keeps her cool and doesn’t say a word. Haha, poor Phil Collins 😀

      1. Wowzers you’ve got a signal coverage in your ‘elevators’??? This is still a fantasy for our ‘lifts’… (Shame on you England; will you ever be a developed country??)

        And dear Damianista, please write about Norman Harris please… He cannot be a dead character. Someone needs to resurrect him and this beautiful love story needs to have a better ending… Maybe you will write one;-)

        1. Elevators are okay, but we don’t have little – if any – reception on the subway 🙁 I would LOVE to write on Norman Harris — sooner than later — let’s say a couple of weeks! No, he can’t be a dead character and no that love story has to have a better ending – that’s what I was telling my dear Bookworm, she, with MisFit are brilliant fan fiction writers. Their Homeland stories are amazing if you love to read them. Why not Norman & Niki? 🙂

          1. Oh well, I would be over the moon even if I receive a strong signal in my own flat; having a coverage on the ‘tube’ is like a moon landing for Britain. In some respects, we are still a 3rd world country:-p

            Norman Harris tastes like Louis de Bernières characters…. A little bit ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’, a little bit ‘Birds Without Wings’…. and Damian Lewis’ ‘less is more’ acting… He doesn’t need to say anything. This guy speaks with his eyes which is rare for male actors….So go Bookworm…go Damianista; I am waiting for your magic pens’ act on Norman;-)

          2. We’ll do our best not to make you happy, ma’am, and make you forget about life’s lemons like wireless carriers 😀 Gozde, I absolutely hear you about Louis de Bernieres’ characters!

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