Top 25 "It" products of all time: #11 -- The Sony Walkman
Tired of listening to your sister's Depeche Mode? Put on your headphones and listen to Creedence Clearwater Revival or The Eagles instead. Your siblings keep winning the battle over what to play on the car radio? Pull out your Walkman and listen to whatever you want.
By cleverly marketing the device to young people, celebrities and those on the go, Sony hit on the cool factor and created a whole new market for portable stereo players. One month after going on sale in 1979, all 30,000 units had sold out. And competitors like G.E. and Toshiba soon followed with their own versions.Sure, some were better and more compact, but to me, the classic Sony Walkman remained the one to get, even in 1994. That Christmas, I was thrilled when my sister gave me a bright yellow Sony Sports Walkman. I took it everywhere -- to the gym when I worked out, on the subway train to my job, and on the airplane while visiting my parents in Florida.
And thanks in part to the Walkman, making mix tapes for close friends and crushes became a cool hobby. My husband wooed girls in high school by making mix tapes of Alphaville, R.E.M. and 10,000 Maniacs. Of course, today it's all about downloading music. The sound may be better and it may be more efficient, but it lacks a certain romance.