The Walkman’s Invention 40 Years Ago Launched a Cultural Revolution

SONY Walkman

In 1979, the new device forever changed the way we listened to music. At the apex of the Walkman craze, 1987 to ’97, the number of people who reported that they walked for exercise rose by 30 percent. (ioulex)

In 1979, when Sony introduced the Walkman—a 14-ounce cassette player, blue and silver with buttons that made a satisfying chunk when pushed—even the engineers inside Sony weren’t impressed. It wasn’t particularly innovative; cassette players already existed, and so did headphones. Plus, the Walkman could only play back—it couldn’t record. Who was going to want a device like that?

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