Retrotisements: RIP Sony Walkman (1979 – 2010)

You ever read an obituary on some famous, really old celebrity and think, “I thought that person was dead already”?  I reacted in much the same way when I read recently that one of Sony’s most famous products, the Walkman, was discontinued from production in Japan.

Who even listens to cassettes anymore, except hipsters wanting to look all ironic?  And more importantly, who would listen to one in public?

Well at one time the Sony Walkman was the product to have, and I was a proud owner.  I can’t say I’ll miss them, even though I have fond memories of playing my cassette copy of Alive! on an endless loop as a youth.  But it’s an important piece of music history, so the least I can do is throw some classic Walkman advertisements your way.  Check back in 30 years so we can wax nostalgic about the newly retired iPod.

First Walkman Ad

Straight from the mother country comes this gem from the early days of the Walkman.  There’s a lot to take in here, from the curvy model to the old Japanese dude ogling her, and lastly to the early Walkman logo that, surprisingly, did not have a lot of staying power.

Sony Freestyle ad - 1980

Depending on where you lived your Walkman might have been known by a few different names.  In Sweden it was known as the Freestyle (seen here modeled by a Tony Levin lookalike)…

Sony Soundabout ad (1982)

While in America it was originally known as the Soundabout.  Dig the extendable antenna!

Sony Walkman ad - 1980

From 1980, evidence that a 14-ounce music player was considered “featherweight” at one time.

Sony Walkman ad - 1981

Moving right along…

Sony Walkman ad - 1982

Sony introduced the Walkman II in 1981 – it was smaller than the original, being that it eliminated the hotline button (which enabled you to talk over the music) and second jack.  A recording model, the R2, came out in 1982 (the year this ad was published).

Sony Walkman ad - 1983

Behold – the Super Walkman!  Capable of…of…well, being small and playing cassettes I guess.

And finally, a Japanese TV spot from 1987 featuring a monkey named Mr. Choromatsu.  Sure, why not?

If you really, really want to know more about the Walkman you should stop by the Pocket Calculator Walkman Museum.  Tell ’em GFS sent ya!

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