The first "Walkman" came out in 1979 marketed in Japan and by the 1980s was popular across the world under various names such as the "Freestyle" in Sweden or the "Stowaway" in the U.K., all names used for the portable listening device were trademarked by Sony who had pretty much changed the world by filling our lost journey times with the sweet sounds of music. Initially it was made to play your cassette tapes and eventually developed into a CD player with the popularity of the new format. It became a must have item that was not only "fashionable but culturally definitive" and spread the idea of high-tech "Japanese-ness" across the world.
Thinking about a time just before it's release where people didn't have music on the go, seems almost unbearable compared to today's endless list of smart phones, tablets and streaming services. With all of this choice comes great responsibility and it's seems we take for granted the incredible supply of music at our fingertips. Don't get me wrong I love choice - the way I'm able to discover music without even trying because of smart features such as Apple Music's "For You" or a quick search that sends you hundreds of "related" tracks is amazing. By no means would I want to be limited to having to wait to buy a physical copy before I get to hear my favs new tracks but I do wish we appreciated music on the go, the way we were forced to do, in the days of the Walkman. You had to pick one CD and most of the time that ended up being an album just so that you'd have a few more songs as options for that day and then you were stuck with it, unless you were those super organised collectors with the CD folder in your bag but even then, the effort to keep changing CD's just to hear one song, often meant you'd take the time to overplay an album or song before switching it up.
The Walkman gave us life soundtracks. You had to decide your mood and where you were going that day and make sure your music choice would match. I have memories borrowing my sisters Walkman and sitting in the garden playing Aaliyah's "More Than a Woman" and I listened to that song so much that it serves as a soundtrack to my child hood, it doesn't matter what the subject matter was, that song reminds me of making up dance routines with my older sister and filming our recreation of the music video on our dads camcorder until our moves were perfect. The way that I listen to music now, still closely resembles the Walkman style of music digestion - I tend to focus on albums and I listen over and over for about a month before I get sick of it. Yeah it means I'm often behind on the latest stuff because I only briefly spend time looking at the latest singles but there's a magic in knowing I've heard all the little nuances in the music that others probably missed. So yes I do wish we'd bring back the days of Walkman style music fans in the midst of all our choice, just so we'd pay attention to every little detail that went into a song or whole project before moving on to something new. Maybe then artists would continue to focus on quality over quantity. I've put in Aaliyah's "More Than a Woman" just so I can reminisce so sit back and take it in. Put it on replay like the good ole' times.