What Was in my 1985 Walkman

By Ann Shayne
May 5, 2018
MDK Field Guide No. 6 is a special joy: patterns by Amy Christoffers, yarns by special folks

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28 Comments
  • Love this!

  • The classics are the best! Brahms and knitting are two of my favorites.

  • This is the best! What an amazing memory to have. My father still uses a Walkman – he is rather stuck in his cassette ways. We couldn’t find him a Walkman anywhere and we stocked up on the ones they sell at the drugstore but they don’t rewind (only fast forward, you have to flip the tape over) and only work on 60 min tapes (30 min each side, not 90 total). My sister’s friend found a Sony Walkman at a vintage store, unopened! It is carefully being saved for when we can no longer find the ones in the drugstore.

    • Don’t save it! Good things are meant to be used! Please give it to him now; you don’t know how much longer he’ll be around to use it.

      • I have been informed by my sister that the Sony Walkman was opened and used but sadly broke.

  • I had a bright yellow Sony Walkman. I loved it–made my walks to and from university classes rather delightful.

  • Lovely memory. Will put Brahms’ 4th on my iPhone!

  • I have a Walkman that my dad bought me as a gift from overseas. I’d love to get it running again, to relive my mixtapes from the 1980s….

  • What a lovely post on a Saturday morning. This makes me happy!!!

  • What a beautiful memory!

  • Thanks for making me smile at the memories of my walkman, walking the streets of Boston in suits and sneakers going to sales appointments for my job.

    Simpler times when it felt like anything was possible.

  • For me it was Brahms’ First, living for the cello passage in the fourth movement. Bernstein’s, anyone’s! It still brings tears to my eyes and makes my heart feel larger, nobler.

  • Thank you for that lovely interlude to my morning. This was not on my playlist until now. Love your comments on symphony director

  • Aww Ann, this is a lovely story. Leave it to you to make me go all misty for my Walkman Days.

  • I think many of us were slogging the streets of Manhattan with our Walkmans (mine was blue, it had Sondheim, Mozart and Tchaikovsky). I had a college apartment mate who would blare Brahms’ 3rd and 4th constantly … you would walk into the apartment and be hit by all those swelling tones. Or Schubert Lieder … my roomates were music majors.

    Now everyone in the City has whitebuds in their ears … and hardly anyone wears sneakers to work anymore (did you keep your shoes in your desk? I sometimes did …now I just wear Merrill clogs. And keep refilling my Metrocard (remember tokens?)

  • What a lovely story and memory. I love how music instantly transports us back in time. I’m going to find that version of Brahms’ 4th for my iPhone so that I can weave, knit and walk to it.

  • Such high tech! I love the Brahms 4th. I was a publishing assistant in NY in the early 80’s, too, but no walkman. Not cool enough…

  • Just read the review! “No conductor of our time enjoys such wonderful rapport with himself as Mr. Bernstein.” Very funny/snarky.

    • I adored Leonard Bernstein because he was such a “showboat”

  • Just right.

  • Imagine my palpitations when I saw my all-time mancrush (and Ravatar), Carlos Kleiber, on today’s post! I too had a Walkman for my commute in ‘86-87 from Park Slope to the World Trade Center in hose and sneakers, but was sadly relieved of it on the Paseo Recoletos in Madrid in a daytime robbery while jetlagged. Thanks for the memories, Ann.

  • My first husband gave me a Walkman for our second Christmas together in 1982. I had forgotten how it ate batteries but the sound quality was so worth it! Listening to music skiing was my favorite thing to do. I had Aaron Copeland on one tape. My beloved father-in-law, age 61, died of a heart attack 3 months later and The Denver Symphony played “Fanfare For The Common Man” from the back of a crowded cathedral. March 1982. Music and memories.

  • So lovely. Your description made me imagine a movie of you commuting with that improbably lush music as the soundtrack.

  • I love this symphony. Thank you for the lovely memories.

  • Wonderful memory and music. Thank you.

  • lots and lots of love. thank you for sharing, ann !

  • Second only to smells, music brings you back to other places and times. And who knows what newfangled gadgets are ahead for us?

  • Thanks for this. I took a symphony class in college, and this was one of the pieces we studied. I’d forgotten all about it. So wonderful to click the play button and rediscover one of my favorites. I need to listen to more classical music, dig up those old favorites!