The boombox, also known as a ghettoblaster, jambox or radio-cassette, was first introduced to the world in the late 1970s. Before this you had the 8-track or the record player, which were not portable in any way, shape or form. Once the boombox became available, teens were seen everywhere, walking down the street with them on their shoulder. We can all see why this was such a huge craze. It was portable, loud and you could listen to your music whenever and wherever you wanted. You could hear hip hop music everywhere on the streets of your neighborhood. Of course, cars had stereos but not everybody had cars, especially teens. It also made it possible for breakdancers to do their shows pretty much anywhere they saw fit. All they needed were batteries to keep the music playing and the show going.
The first companies to debut this were Panasonic, Sony, Marantz and GE. The boomboxes were small, heavy and black. Eventually, the size literally grew. The biggest, loudest, bassiest, and flashiest ones were considered the best ones. It became a type of status symbol.
From the 70s & 80s...
1978 JVC RC-838JW
1980 JVC RC-M70
1982 Hitachi TRK-8290
1984 Sharp GF-777Z
Photo by: Powerhouse Museum
To the 90s...
1993 Sony CFD-10
You can see how much the boombox has evolved. It went from having cassette players to CD players. From CD players to having a port for you to plug in your MP3 player. They went from being big and heavy to being small and light. Evolution indeed.
Do you remember the first time you saw a boombox? I do. Well, I first saw it in the movie Beat Street but thats not when I really became interested in getting one. The year was 1990 or so, when I was watching Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing, and Radio Raheem walked down the street with Public Enemy's "Fight The Power" blasting from the speakers. Everywhere he went, so did his boombox. Wherever he went he was noticed by everyone. Peep the video below:
Would you carry an old school boombox today? If you would, just remember one thing....DON'T FORGET THE BATTERIES!