The End Of The Sony Walkman & Other Things I Miss From the 1980-90’s

If you hadn’t heard Sony Corporation has chucked the Walkman.

And the world emits a sorrowful cry…

Liz’s post on 13 Things She Misses From the 80’s got me thinking about a few things myself. I agreed with her on pretty much everything she listed, esp. the music and fashion items. Candy bars were only 25 cents though! Does anyone remember the Reggie bar?

Here’s my take (on a mix of ’80’s and early 90’s things that impacted me) after the jump —

The Walkman

Even as technology improved on the original model and we switched from cassettes to CDs, to MP3s, if you were a kid growing up in the Tri-State area who watched WPIX (locally or via cable) then we know where you were after 3pm. Playing Asteroids by shouting out the station call letters (Pix, Pix, Pix) to win a brand new Sony Walkman. Bonus points for the first reader that can name the song played during the game. If your family was on a budget like mine was, then that was more or less the only way you were going to get one aside from a birthday or holiday gift from other relatives.

Video Games

Centepede, Donkey Kong, Tetris, PacMan & Ms. PacMan

Were there any others that were cooler?

Club Kids/NYC Clubs

Yes, I was one and proud of it, too! My Club Name was Faith Faithful. Don’t laugh! I already had enough grief when George Michael’s solo CD came out and title track.  I remember wondering if God was going to send a lightning bolt to strike us down for kids dancing in a church (Limelight). I know now that was the twisted thinking of men, not a Higher Power in an effort at exerting control.

One of the doormen had been a member of a little band called Visage and we used to hum Fade To Grey under our breath every time we went. I’m not sure whether it annoyed him or not. The Michael Alig sponsored Disco 2000 parties were as amazing as you’ve read. This will bleed into the 90’s but I have a distinct period of my life that revolved around wearing outrageous costumes, making friends with the velvet rope gatekeepers and dancing until 4am. There were some really cool pre-rave underground clubs/club nights. Mars. The World. Save the Robots. I ignored the drinking and drugs and luckily for me the DJs hired were so darn good we could spend all night on the dancefloor surrounded by amazing beats. My favorite though was —

The Palladium

Elizabeth Taylor sure casts a long shadow. That’s what I thought when I researched who Mike Todd was since he had a room named after him that I spent so much time in. Well it’s an NYU dorm now but at one point it was the club in lower Manhattan. MTV even sent VJ Julie Brown there to host a show, Club MTV. Remember that?! Wubba wubba wubba. It took me years to find out who the DJ was. It was Detroit’s own Electrifying Mojo. Mojo had a radio show where he played a lot of European music including bands like —

Kraftwerk

The German pioneers have cast a long shadow of influence. Trans Europe Express. Including on a host of Detroit musicians who founded techno in the US. Juan Atkins, Carl Craig, etc. Who went on to influence other bands like Depeche Mode and so it all comes full circle. After 20+ years Kraftwerk decided to go on tour and it was freaking amazing!!! I saw them twice because the first time I was so excited it was all a blur I thought I was dreaming.

Larry Levan

Another pioneering DJ. I never got to see him perform live but there are quite a few club mixes that bear his name. Whether they’re legit or not is another question. House music all night long.

Ten City

Their debut release NEVER gets tired. Play Devotion and tell me you don’t feel closer to humanity and spiritual rebirth. Byron Stingilly’s falsetto should be a national treasure.

The John Hughes Filmography

I was going to highlight The Breakfast Club since it’s my favorite out of the bunch, but Weird Science was on basic cable recently and I found myself laughing at how silly it was. When I was younger I used to think it was too racy. Boy was I sheltered! There was a definite innocence captured that’s missing from today’s uber-jaded and oversexed culture. I really feel for kids today. Gossip Girl and threesomes should not be in their lexicon so early. I also liked Pretty In Pink (mostly for the soundtrack though).

Classic 80’s Movies

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Xanadu

The Legend Of Billie Jean

Nine to Five

Gremlins

Flash Gordon

Breakin’

Pop Culture

Wendy’s commercial: Where’s The Beef?

Trapper Keeper

Rubik’s Cube

New Wave, New Romantics & 80’s Pop

Duran Duran

I once tracked down John Taylor’s high-rise Upper West Side apartment based on the mention of it in a magazine. I cross-reference new construction and pinpointed its radius by looking up the NYC planning records. This was all before computers and paparazzi stalking so my ingenuity deserves applause. Black girls rule the world you know.

Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam

I Wonder If I Take You Home

All Cried Out

They still get played to this day. Lost In Emotion…not so much hehehe.

Pre-Guiliani New York City

Yes, if you came of age during a certain period of time then you took note at the tenure of the City before he took office and after. I’m not even talking about 9/11. He ushered in the corporatist takeover that was cemented when Bloomberg became Mayor. Prior to that NYC had been “broke” but it was the coolest city in the world. People squatted apartment buildings. You could actually afford to rent an apartment in Manhattan without having to earn a six figure salary. Real artists lived in SoHo. Keith Haring was alive. CBGBs was still around. So was Tavern On the Green. NYU’s annual tuition was a mere $20K. Police masqueraded as homeless people in parks to bust you for buying drugs from drug dealers pretending to be homeless as well. That really annoyed me because I used to pass out food to actual homeless people which is how I found out all of this was going on.

Night Flight/

Kidd Video/Jem & the Holograms

Night Flight was one of the first television shows to air music videos and they tended to lean towards the newer cutting edge artists versus the sanctioned major label artists. I was going to be serious and efficient but then I remembered the Saturday morning live action show that also played music videos and had to mention it “from my radio/to my video”. Jem “glamour and glitter/fashion and fame” was the cool version of Josie & the Pussycats.

I’m going to stop because this could go on for days. What are some of your memories?

28 Replies to “The End Of The Sony Walkman & Other Things I Miss From the 1980-90’s”

  1. I feel so. . . left out LOL!. I was born in 1984, so I missed most of this. I remember New Jack Swing as a kid, and I loved some Color Me Badd, Shai, Jodeci, and Boyz 2 Men. Yeah, loved Whitney, Mariah, and Janet, too, along with many other groups whose names now escape me . . .

    My mother took the longest time to get me a cassette player, and it wasn't even Sony LOL! When I finally had my own cassette player, most people were switching over to CDs: just my luck.

    That is my very miniscule contribution.

    1. That\’s okay Tia. I\’d have liked to have been in my 20\’s during the 1970\’s if only to have been able to buy real estate in places like NYC and California. I\’ve also been fond of imagining myself as Mrs. Chatterly or Catherine from Wuthering Heights. Or perhaps even Marguerite de Valois. That\’s why daydreaming is fun.

  2. Let Me just add to the list: MTV playing nuttin BUT music videos all day all the time, the VJs on MTV especially Nina Blackwood and JJ Jackson, Video Soul and Donna Simpson on BET, Sixteen Candles and Jake Ryan, Adam Ant (masculine drag) and Culture Club (queer drag), Mickey Rourke in 9 1/2 Weeks, Benetton ads, Sade and her long ponytail and golden hoop earrings, miniseries such as The Thorn Birds and Lace and oh yeah reading all of Judith Krantz and Jackie Collins works of art.

    1. Nina Blackwood hosts an 80's flashback radio show in syndication. Oh the Thorn Birds was the bomb!!! It's so funny to look back at that now knowing Richard Chamberlain is gay, lol! Acting…. Sade is still in style.

    2. Sade is still rocking that same look to me it seems. I love her.The Thorn Birds was the bomb, Richard Chamberlain! And yes the two Lace TV miniseries with Phoebe Cates from the Gremlins/Fast Times at Ridgemont High and all! Yep I loved the two Laces! Recently Benetton tried to go back to those quirky multi-culti ads a bit.

  3. I have to confess I love Devo songs too like Jocko Homo, GirlUWant, the un-PC Mongoloid, their cover of the Stones' Satisfaction, and yes even Whip It LOL LOL I wouldn't mind seeing them at a show. There's A LOTTA people I want to see before I die or THEY die more like! LOL I saw Bowie and Lou Reed and Ray Davies from The Kinks play but only like one song each at the Free Tibet concerts that Philip Glass holds at Carnegie Hall each year. I NEED to see Bowie properly!!

  4. Oh yeah Faith check out Einsturzende Neubaten. They came out of the 80s, they're German, they influenced the people who created that Broadway show Stomp, and they are beautiful to hear! Blixa Bargeld, their singer, is and was actually hot looking. Halber Mensch is one of my fave albums and the only one that isn't English speaking out of my collection. I saw Neubaten once in 2004 at Irving Plaza, they weren't able to tour the US alot at the time sadly.

    Check out much early Nick Cave in his first band The Birthday Party whcih were late 70s early 80s era also. The Birthday Party era to me is even better than The Bad Seeds era. Again you probably know about this. I saw Nick Cave play once in London in 2005, and Siouxsie Sioux once in 2008. God, how I love Youtube for things like these although I have the CDs too. I know I don't have to tell you about Bauhaus.

    1. That's cool you got to see them at Irving Plaza. I knew one of the owners a while back and love that venue. I met Siouxsie Sioux at a club in LA in 1995 I think and we figured she must have been doing some serious voodoo or something because she didn't look a day over 30. And yes…Bauhaus, Love & Rockets, Peter Murphy…yes yes yes!!! And I've seen Morrissey live. In fact one of my friends jumped on stage to rip off apiece of his shirt and I had to endure FIVE years of that scrap of fabric hanging from his car dashboard. Good grief, we were FANatics, hehehe.

      1. Yeah with Siouxsie Sioux I think it’s just because she stays out of the sun entirely because she looked great back in 2008 too although I was in the back and she was on stage. But I’ve seen recent pics of her. She’s just never in the sun and that’s it. Siouxsie’s been living in Bordeaux, France for years now and it’s probably never sunny out there.

        Neubaten was great and I was right by the front too and Blixa looked good. Look out for them near you in the States because you never know. Maybe things have worked out for them again and they can tour in the US more now? Still haven’t seen Morrissey yet though.

  5. At least I got to go to Tavern on The Green once with my Mom a year or so before they closed down The Russian Tea Room I believe so sadly I never went in there, but I went to the Tavern and the food was good!

  6. Check out Japan though, and as MUCH early Gary Numan as you can I still love him and always will, Lene Lovich, and you MUST check out the three earliest Ultravox! albums those that were made BEFORE Midge Ure of the Vienna song came about. I mean John Foxx-era Ultravox! when there was an exclamation point. Those albums are Ultravox!, Ha-Ha-Ha, and Systems of Romance. With that being said check out John Foxx's Metamatic. John Foxx is now still a musician/singer, but he's also a photographer, artist, and part time college professor now too. He looks just like an ordinary guy now but when the Metamatic album came out in 1980 he had this hot, pretty David Bowie Thin White Duke era thing going on!

    Check em out baby if you don't know already! LOL LOL

  7. Are you familiar with the British label Stiff Records? Because they had some of the coolest late 70s to early 80s bands on there ever! Check out The Selecter ska band fronted by sister Pauline Black they're similar to The Specials, Lene Lovich 'Lucky Number' I love that song, forget Gwen Stefani becasue it's all about Lene, and so many others Faith.

    I hope I don't come across as 'informing' you Faith since you already had the perfect pre-Giuliani NYC life YOU probably know more than I did. But when I lived in NYC in the Noughties as the Brits say, I had a cool musician and DJ friend who was friends with so many musicians who knew a lotta well known and famous musicians/singers too. I used to see Foetus around all the time but he was so weird, i didn't like him, and I briefly met met Kim Gordon by accident and she was standoffish, I didn't like her either! LOL I walked down the Lafayette Avenue once and saw Lou Reed getting out of the car he saw me and just stared right into my eyes for a few seconds but I looked away quickly and kept walking because I was too shy! LOL It it was The BOWIE……I would have screamed!

  8. Loved Lisa Lisa's songs also and still do!

    I love Molly Ringwald and all the John Hughes films that she was in and even though she wasn't in St. Elmo's Fire I like that film alot too. Don't leave out Dirty Dancing though baby yeah and it will NEVER. DIE.

    One of my fave 80s movies is also Modern Girls with Daphne Zuniga and Virginia Madsen wich has a cult following now, and Valley Girl with Nicholas Cage.

    The Walkman was bound to die because I haven't seen cassettes in WELL over a decade!

  9. I can't use my normal name ak by the way BUT IT'S STILL ME, ak !

    Yeah I moved to the US in the late 80s and early 90s but I hear that the USA Network on cable had some pretty hot music videos and slightly underground-ish music showings on, like Night Flight! Which must have been cool.

    Pre-Giulianin NYC? I want YOUR life Faith! I want it now! I wish there was a time machine and a Freaky Friday situation right now and no you can't have your body back either! NYC was smokin HOT. And as far as clubs to back in time to see Studio 54 in the 70s would be the top of my list, but there are others!

  10. OMG OMG OMG you and Khadija are the COOLEST. Her with her love of The Smiths, and you with Kraftwerk. Aaaau….to…baaaahhhhhnnnnnn! There's only one original member of Kraftwerk left as I only just found out, the other founding member Florian left a little while ago but he out of any of them is the only guy willing to give interviews and even those are just once in a blue moon.

    Jem the cartoon and the doll! Yes! But also Thundercats, He Man, She Ra, The Smurfs, and The Mysterious Cities of Gold, Garfield and Friends, and Inspector Gadget. Transformers too. Even the theme songs of esp. Inspector Gadget and The Mysterious Cities of Gold were great!

  11. One of the guys from Visage left it and became a club doorman? Hmmm..interesting. Not hating, just interesting. Speaking of groups from the UK from that era. Are you familiar with a group called Japan? They came out of UK in the late 70s -- early 80s too. They looked similar to Duran Duran but they were little less commercial, and they came out first. David Sylvian, Japan's singer was and still is bee-yutiful. But their bass player Mick Karn died of cancer on January 4th, and it was really sad that he was asking fans for help financially towards his wife and kids or so I heard. Mick was Greek-Cypriot British and had this very Mediterranean look about him. But you MUST check out Japan if you don't know. Go on YouTube and look up Gentlemen Take Polaroids and Ghosts. Japan also did covers of Don't Rain On My Parade and Smokey Robinson's I Second That Emotion.

  12. OMG OMG OMG OMG Faith? Faith? You were actually one of THE club kids in Limelight back in the 90s?? I saw the movie Party Monster when it came out and my gay/drag friends in NYC said they used to go to Limelight sometimes and they were friends with some of the biggest club kids of the time back then who knew Michael Alig!

    (cont)

    1. AAk I'm not sure why you couldn't register under your usual moniker here, but I have all of your messages. They were in moderation. Yes, I went to Limelight. It was fun. As were many things a young girl does when she thinks she's invincible and things will last forever! I'm not familiar with the record label you mentioned, but I do know of the group Japan. I sued to spend ALL of my money on import records. Yes, records. I had lots of DJ friends as well.

      As for Studio 54, I used to think I'd love being transported back there as well. Surprisingly, they played ROCK music, not disco at 54. They had a bit of a "selective" door policy as well as you know. Which is why Nile Rogers & Bernard Edwards wrote Le Freak (loosely based on their reaction at not being able to get in even though they were guests of Grace Jones).

      1. I used to walk right by the Limelight all the time when I lived in NYC saying to myself 'I wish someone could just tell me where it is! I wish I could find out where it is!' A friend of mine told me twice where it was in Manhattan and I would walk by looking for it……because I never would have believed they put the darn thing in a CHURCH! LOL LOL

        Then I saw this old Sex and The City episode that showed Carrie and her best gay friend partying in the Limelight and then I was like oh yeah, it really IS in that church! Now Limelight is some horrible Yuppie bridge-and-tunnel overpaid place called Avalon. But without the Bryan Ferry coolness LOL

      2. I had NO idea that they played rock at 54?! It can't be mainly rock though right? It had to have been a mix of rock and disco together no?

        Because when you pictures of the crowd in there, they don't look anywhere near CBGB-ish for one, they just don't look rock-y. The vid clips of them doing their dancing doesn't look like their rocking out hard or banging heads either. And even I said to myself 'The black chicks dancing in those old 54 vid clips on VH1 or whatever were dancing to rock?!' LOL

        1. I don't think they were playing punk rock but pop radio rock, but it definitely wasn't disco. I do believe the people were too drugged or celebrity-spotting to care honestly!

          1. OMG color me so surprised anyway! LOL So where the heck WAS all that disco music playing then and how did disco get to be so popular then anyway?! LOL

          2. I've been told by people who actually attended 54 that it was primarily rock music being played, not disco. I never said it was the only music they played.

      3. The door policy bi**hiness at 54 was probably part of the thrill too even when it was the most annoying! We want what we can't have! I heard that one of the doormen told a girl to strip down to nothing out in the freezing NYC cold and he still didn't let her in, and I saw the vid clips of Steve Rubell bi**hing to men and women alike about their appearance outside of the club. He told one guy to go home and get a shave!

        And let's not forget the 'black comedy' of the famous horrible, tragic yet somehow silly situation of one desperate person who tried to sneak into 54 through some side window, they couldn't get themselves in or out, and they were stuck in there forever until somebody smelled a rotting smell they probably thought was a dead rat! When you hear that a nightclub is worth dying for, then you know you've found the best nightclub ever! LOL

  13. Okay seriously you are going to talk about Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam without mentioning Head to Toe? Really? Looking at this post made me laugh as I remembered the time when I thought I knew everything. Yeah 80's and 90's. I loved that Where's The Beef Commercial. Did you know she got sued when she did that commercial where she said I finally found out. As for George Michael I still love him, Still know all the words to his songs and yes I pitched a fit when he did his 25 Live Tour and didn't come anywhere near close enough for me to be able to see it. If you mention that to anyone, you and I are going to have words LOL.

    1. Haha Renee about George Michael! I forgot about Head To Toe. I can't remember or list everything!!! Those were fun times. We got to avoid the hip/hop kill the police we all live in the hood and kill each other nonsense that was soon to follow and had scores of "cheesy" but happy and positive songs. I feel for kids today growing up with all of the angst, gloom, doom and oversexualization that's rampant.

      1. I know what you mean. The worst I got up to back in the day was a bit of Big Daddy Kane. I am actually kind of glad that my kid is such a Michael Jackson freak right now because it means he is not exposed to a lot of negative things. Now if only I could get him to embrace George Michael.

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