Throwback Thursday

The Beloved Sony Walkman and the Cassette Tape Struggle: Throwback Thursday

Before you could fit 10,000 songs on a device the size of tic tac container, us 80s babies had the Sony Walkman and double-sided cassette tapes. The Walkman was a rite of passage and when you got it (after begging and saving and whining), you felt like you had truly arrived at cool.

Sony walkman

Yes, yall. I remember when I finally got one. I’m not sure what I did to earn it but I walked out of Walgreens doing a jig. My Sony Walkman came with a free tape of Ace of Base. I gave no cares that I didn’t even know who they were.

Chile I got home and popped in the tape and got my life. I began collecting some of my favorite albums and singles. Because: TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL1 And when you wanted to have a song on repeat, you just had to master the “hold down the rewind button for the exact time it’d take for the cassette to get to the exact place you wanted to start” game. It took practice but you finally knew to hold it down for exactly 5.3 seconds and you did a victory fist pump.

When you were done with side A, you’d open up the Walkman and turn it over to side B for continued listening. And then when you needed to rewind all the way, you click the rewind button down and it’d do it’s thing until you heard a click, signaling that it was done.

But you know what hurt feelings were made of? When the tape in the cassette you have spinned out.

cassette tape rewind

After you finished cussing, you’d get a pencil because the shape with ridges made them fit perfectly and you’d turn and turn until the tape was back in the cassette in its rightful place.

We put in WORK with these Walkmans and cassettes, man! Good times. GOOD TIMES!

In case you don’t feel old enough today, watch the YouTube clip below. A pair called The Fine Bros. interviews kids on their thoughts on various things. They do throwback stuff all the time and this time, they presented the Walkman to kids 7-14. Watch and see their reaction. You will want to chase everyone off your lawn afterwards.

Yup. Old.

Did you have one of these? If you don’t remember, then you can’t sit with us. (-_-)

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  1. June 26, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Girl, let’s not even discuss the heads EATING the tape. Surgical and splicing techniques I wound up using in my career were first used on damaged cassette tapes.

    • MsZ
      June 26, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      Yup, get the razor blade and some scotch tape…don’t forget about the q-tip and the rubbing alcohol to try and clean the head before trying to play your newly fixed tape!!

    • Tonia
      June 28, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      I should have been a surgeon for all the cassette splicing and taping I did in my teens…lol

  2. Serenity
    June 26, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    I asked my mother for one for Christmas of 1984. 2 weeks after I asked, she woke/slapped me out of a sound sleep offended that I would ask for a $400+ cassette player. My argument to her, was who else was I gonna ask. She told me ask Jesus cause I wasn’t getting it from her. Jesus didn’t give me one until I got a summer job while in college about 10 years later. By then they were only $40. Someone promptly stole it when I got back to the dorm. I guess Jesus does repos too…..

    • Prettydarkskinnedgirl
      June 26, 2014 at 11:25 pm

      Stop it! You did not just say Jesus does repos too! I keed! You was unworthy! Lol

    • MrsABSdeux
      June 30, 2014 at 8:18 pm

      iDied… ROFL

  3. cocoberrie
    June 26, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Wow, I feel so old right now. You are sooo right Luvvie…we put in work with these Walkmans and cassettes. As a matter of fact, I still have my mixtapes…don’t judge me, please? lol 🙂
    I remember listening to Kiss 98.5, WJLB(Detroit), and 93.7 WBLK. Anyone remember ‘Quiet Storm’? *sigh* Good times, good memories…

    • Oshanae
      April 10, 2015 at 6:41 pm

      Ah yes 93.7 WBLK, goodtimes with that station and cassettes back in the day

  4. June 26, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Your Walkman became ULTIMATE Jukebox when you learned how to put scotch tape over the two holes at the bottom of the tape and you could record the radio over an old tape.

    • ST
      July 11, 2014 at 1:06 pm


  5. Absurdist
    June 26, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    I can’t find my Walkman, but I do still have four or five Discmans tucked away somewhere…

  6. June 26, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Dang! Make me feel old! I remember having a tape player in my car! And when CD’s first came out, I had to get the CD player with the tape attachment to play the CD’s in my car! Mad because when I hit a bump, the CD would skip because the player wasn’t tied down to anything and just hanging out of the tape player by the cord!

  7. lexi
    June 26, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    So, I was born in the era when walkmans turned into CD walkmans. Lol and I thought that was a struggle. Best believe I’d be so mad when my discs got scratched or when I’d forget my adapter for the tape player in my parents car. And when it would skip if you were doing too much! Nostalgia at its finest…

  8. Kenzy
    June 26, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    what I miss most about cassettes is the B sides!!! for the youngings the B sides had all the unreleased songs from the artist and you LIVEEEDDD for!!! You wanted to get a cassette with a B side if you loved the artist so you could hear a track not on radio or album.

    I am a Mariah Carey fan. I have been since I was 9 years old and my 4th grade teacher introduced me to her to me. Im in my 30s now..anyway my first b side was her Dreamlover B side which had Do You Think of Me on it.. i still remember going to the record store (wow another showing my age and throwback) My grandma picked me up from school and there was this record store 2 blocks down i begged her to stop by so I could look. My little fingers ran through all the tapes in the C sections looking for that B side and I got it!!! boy was i happy that day.. memories…

    Sidenote: i almost hate reminiscing as i feel like coming of age in the 90s was truly the last great decade pre technology where kids got to be kids and really knew the value of something. It makes me happy at my childhood but sad for the youth..made even worse by the fact that I’m an elementary school teacher so i know what these kids are about these days and its not like how I was ..but I’m just sounding even more old “well back in my day…” so ill shut up now

    • Clarice
      June 27, 2014 at 12:17 am

      I actually still have a BUNCH of cassettes for this reason lmao
      I just can’t let them go because some of the B Sides I haven’t seen online. And I have live concert bootlegs, I had some pretty cool radio stations where I grew up broadcast events so I’d tape them and Idk why I hang onto them cuz I don’t listen to them but in case aliens come down and need a recording from 1992 I COULD SAVE HUMANITY :p

  9. janelfelice
    June 26, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    It hurt me when I saw a Walkman in the Smithsonian. Along with the original iPod!

  10. Tiffany
    June 26, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Waiting all day for your song to come on the radio,hit record for the DJ to cut it short talking and stuff! I spent all day waiting for Kriss Kross to come on and now I rewind it and wait. Can’t even listen to my walkman because my mixtape ain’t fresh for school!

    • Prettydarkskinnedgirl
      June 26, 2014 at 11:30 pm

      Oh my Gawd you just took me back girl! I used to HATE when the damn DJ wouldn’t shut up for a song I had been waiting ALL DAY to record! Used to think they did that mess on purpose because they just knew some kid was sitting at home with their tape recorder held up to the stereo speakers lol

      • howlingbanshee
        June 27, 2014 at 10:52 am

        That’s exactly right

  11. Scribe
    June 27, 2014 at 12:00 am

    Ya’ll was like sperm and egg when this all went down. Reading Wikipedia again. Mama T

  12. howlingbanshee
    June 27, 2014 at 10:55 am

    “It’s so hard!” “It’s too much work!” “You have to actually DO something to make it work” – whiny li’l kids who have the nerve to laugh at and mock grown folk who struggle when they handle a touch-screen smartphone for the first time.

  13. RavenJ
    June 27, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    MAN!!!!!!!!!! I drove my mommy crazy playing Dial My Heart over and over and over on the stereo and that’s how I got my Walkman.
    On another note…I live in Houston and since it’s June 27th the cassette tape is being celebrated down here today. :-/

  14. SteelFire3698
    July 8, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    Lol! I’m 13 and I was using my mom’s Walkman and listening to her a-ha cassette because we don’t have an a-ha cd and I don’t keep music on my phone. Luckily Take on Me is the first song on the cassette so I don’t have to time out how long to rewind, I just have to rewind until the wirring sound is different XD I love Take on Me sooooo much that I rewound it every time the song ended and I ended up listening to it like 30 times.