Thursday, April 02, 2015

B is for Boom Boxes

This month I'm participating in the A to Z Challenge. My theme is the 80s. Today's letter is:




Before the 80s, if you wanted to listen to music, you did it on your home stereo.



Or on the 8-track player in your car.




But in the 80s, something revolutionary came along. Music became portable. 




And then a little more portable...




I remember listening to music on my boom box in my college dorm room. By the early 90s they'd gotten even smaller but we had no idea that soon they'd be completely obsolete. Today's version of the boom box is simply a small set of speakers that connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth.




Boom boxes will live on forever, however, thanks to a certain romantic movie...




Do you ever listen to music without headphones? What do you use?

128 comments:

  1. Yes, I had several boom boxes in high school and college.
    If I'm listening to music without headphones, it's because I've hooked my iPhone up to my television's system. Surround sound never sounded so good!

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    1. That sounds like the easiest way to get music in your house!

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  2. Here we have a Samsung smart TV to which any gadget can be connected wirelessly. There is a mini home theater too so listening experience is awesome.
    Nice post :)
    Rajiv
    www.magnificentdewdrops.blogspot.com
    www.magicalpresent.blogspot.com

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    1. We're going to have to upgrade to a Smart TV next.

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  3. It's simply amazing how technology has evolved! Difficult to keep up without spending a fortune. Love John Cusack!

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    1. Yes, today's kids will watch Say Anything and wonder what the heck that contraption is he's holding up!

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  4. I still have a cassette player because most of my books have teaching cassettes :) I still own a walkman too LOL... not that I ever use it....

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    1. I had one of those yellow Walkmans that seemed so cool at the time.

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  5. I still listen to my car radio! Or if I'm going to be traveling in the car, I will plug my iPod in.

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    1. My phone automatically connects to my car...it works about 80 percent of the time. The rest of the time I have to actually get the phone out and make it connect.

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  6. I had a functional black boombox that I used to record songs off of... sometimes in infinite loops. I got so excited when I could catch a new radio on the waves. Good times. :)

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    1. I remember doing that! And you'd just hope the DJ didn't talk over the beginning of the song.

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  7. Love your theme, Stephanie. I can definitely immerse myself in it! And you're right, John Cusack made sure to make boom boxes live on forever!

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    1. Say Anything came out in 1989--I'm pretty sure that means he was holding up a really old boom box. They were much smaller by then. But that big one made more of a visual impact.

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  8. I remember boom boxes well. It's funny thinking about how they have changed.

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    1. I do miss the record store experience at the mall, though. Kids today don't know how fun it was to go to the mall with $20 in your pocket and pick out an album.

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  9. I skipped that phase, mine were smaller by the time I got around to listening to it. Those boom boxes had to build muscle though lol

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    1. I know! I never had one even close to that size. I did have a stereo in my room but my first boom box was a much smaller one. I think those big ones were super expensive.

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  10. I had one smallish one that was easy to carry around. Then I got a bigger one - with double cassette player! - that sat on a shelf in my room.

    There's an episode of Modern Family where that Say Anything scene is sort of recreated. It's hilarious. :)

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  11. All hail the Bose!

    I balked at the cost of that thing, but it sounds awesome. Unfortunately, I can only play it when my son is away....he'll want me to use earplugs! That doesn't go with my flipster stance at all, but I do it.

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    1. Yeah--unless you're home alone, you can't really enjoy the sound your expensive speaker produces.

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  12. Oh yes, I listen to music on my big Boom-Box, I even listen to CD's on my big Boom-Box.
    Hugs,
    JB

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    1. I remember walking at the gym in the mid-00s with my portable CD player. Then I got an iPod Shuffle. It was the kind without a screen, though, so you never knew what song would play next. You just had buttons to skip forward, skip backward, and turn the volume up and down.

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  13. These days we use an iPod doc with an adaptor that means we can play digital radio through it from my husband's smart phone :). We never had a boom-box, only a record player to begin with and later a stereo for CDs. My sister and I grew up on my parents' single and album collection.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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    1. When I worked in an office I'd listen to IHeartRadio on my iPhone. After a while, though, they started playing more commercials than content and it became too annoying. I switched to Pandora and now I go back and forth between Pandora and Spotify.

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  14. The 80s was the time when my husband and I were in college. It was one of the best times of our lives. I remember the music, like stuff from Pat Benatar. I didn't own a boom box, but I played lots of music on my stereo. Today I listen to music on my iPhone and on my laptop.

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    1. How sweet that you can still remember it together!

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  15. Some of those Boom Boxes make your liver throb when they're turned up.

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  16. i use my smartphone on occasion. :)

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    1. My iPhone has my grocery list, all my pictures--it's where I get my music and check my email when I'm not at home (sometimes when I am). OH...and it can make phone calls, too. I use it to make phone calls about once a month.

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  17. I pretty much listen to Pandora anymore. That's about it and no headphones. I do remember all the ways to listen to music that's you've mentioned.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. Our music listening habits have evolved quite a bit over the decades.

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  18. I had a double portable cassette player that was a treasured possession until I finally bought a hi-fi system. Now I just flip on my computer and the speakers attached to it do the work :)
    Sophie
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles
    FB3X
    Wittegen Press

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    1. I remember having the double cassette where you could record what was on one tape to another. I thought I was doing well when I got one with one of those buttons that would record a tape in high speed. You could record an entire cassette album from one tape to another in minutes.

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  19. I definitely used boom boxes--lots of them! I loved them in their day. Now I just listen in my car or on an archaic stereo. Sometimes I just use my computer to play Pandora.

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    1. I only listen to music in my car now. When I worked in an office, I'd listen to Pandora on my phone all day, though.

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  20. Ah! Boom boxes. The only boom box I owned was one that I won at a youth meeting. It had two cassette slots so you could copy from one tape to the other. And it had the feature to where it would automatically start playing the other side of the tape without having to flip it over. (I thought I was something.) :) I think I may even still have my old Walkman in a box somewhere. Good times!

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    1. I remember thinking that it was high-tech that a cassette could flip! Especially in your car. Oh...and when you could make it automatically rewind/fast forward to the beginning of the next song.

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    2. Yes! The auto rewind/fast forward was high-tech for sure. :)

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  21. I've been head over heels for John Cusack ever since Say Anything and wishing he'd be outside my window with a boom box. Sadly it's never happened.

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  22. Guess I am really old cause I never listen to music with headphones, lol. Had a boom box in my office.

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    1. I don't think that makes you old...it's all personal preference. I'm watching Netflix on my laptop now while I work with my earbuds in. It helps me focus. I don't know why.

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  23. I did buy a lot of boom boxes for the kids anow they mostly use earphones. I now turn the TV on with a wide selection of music channels rangeing from Classic Country to Smooth Jazz and I also have Sirus radio in my car so I don't have to listen to commercials. :)

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    1. Sirius is great. I'm not in my car enough to enjoy it so I just use Pandora or Spotify on my phone when I'm in the car.

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  24. The first boombox I remember listening to was actually my uncle's. I remember laying out in the sun or washing my parents' cars with the boombox sitting on the driveway. It was hideous (so cool at the time though, haha!) It was HUGE and gray.

    We have a stereo in the basement that we use now (a more modern style with the main part and then two side speakers) but I really need to get with the times and get one of those portable speakers so I can listen to music anywhere in the house!

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    1. Yes, suntanning was HUGE in the 80s. Or maybe it's still huge...we just don't realize it because we have better things to do than spend all day in a lounge chair, baking!

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  25. Great, nostalgic post from an old 80's girl like myself I could totally relate!! Say Anything was a classic movie that I can't help from watching every time it pops up on tv today.

    My kids mock me mercilessly for calling their cds "tapes". Meanwhile, the devices they use to listen to music, I have no idea what they are called or how to use them! LOL

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    1. I still hear young people call compilations "albums." It's interesting...I think of a record when I think of an album, but they haven't come up with a name for the thing an artist puts out with 10-15 songs on it (most of which probably aren't downloaded by most people, since they can pay $.99 for the songs they want!).

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  26. Loved the nostalgia, wish I could listen without headphones, but being retired, we are always together and husband likes to read. So we compromise.

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  27. As soon as I saw your title I laughed! I remember those. Man, that brings me back. My husband still uses his stereo but I mostly stream music now through Spotify (on my phone).

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    1. Me too...until I get sick of the music I have on my playlist and delete half of it--then Spotify decides I don't have enough songs in my playlist and starts randomly playing things it thinks I'll like!

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  28. I still have a boom box in the washer/dryer area of the basement. Works well.

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    1. At least you have something you can show the younger generations. They'll probably be amazed to see it!

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  29. How I remember it. And we could have done with one relatively recently when my partner was mowing the lawn and decided he needed music to do so. He cranked the stereo to the max (so the walls and windows were shaking) and headed outside. Can you tell he didn't want to do the job and thought I should suffer?

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  30. I have Pandora playing on my computer and the blue tooth speaker that travels around the house with me as I get stuff done!

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    1. That's cool! I had some headphones once that connected via Bluetooth--then I could set my phone down and move around and still hear my music or talk on the phone.

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  31. I remember shying away from the big boys who walked around the town with their boom boxes resting on their shoulders. I probably still would :) Being married to a gadget man and music fanatic, our household is fully equipped with the latest surround sound system which I must admit is only used to full capacity when I am out of the house :) Poor neighbours - mind you, they all probably watch me drive away and then run round to my house with a 6 pack.

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    1. I think there's a line in one of those futuristic 80s movies like that. Peggy Sue Got Married or Back to the Future, can't remember which. The character said in the 80s, everything gets smaller but radios, which get way bigger. That was temporary!

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  32. I never had a boom box but I remember being so pleased with myself when I figured out how to copy music from a CD onto a tape so I could listen to it on the old tape/radio in our kitchen. I was so proud of myself.

    Nowadays I like to put music onto my phone or Kindle so I can listen to it without plugging it into speakers. I used to have to use iTunes which annoyed me because each time I wanted to add a CD they'd changed the programme and I'd have to find where everything was now. My new phone and my Kindle are much simpler!

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    1. iTunes always confuses me. I download ringtones so infrequently that by the time I'm ready to get a new one, I've forgotten where to go.

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  33. I loved boom boxes! I just sold my last one recently. Now I use a big speaker that connects to my iPod.

    But what will ever replace the allure of the mixed tape? Sigh...

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    1. I know. Nothing like it now. I suppose kids can create a playlist and send it to each other?

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  34. I loved my boomboxes! It's kind of sad how they're largely obsolete these days, since they could do so many things. I'm still hoping to get one of those new-fangled boomboxes which has a radio, a CD player, and a record player.

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    1. LOL, record players are back in style, oddly.

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  35. I still have a boombox, looking for a home. Anyone want it?

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  36. Without ear buds, my computer through pandora or itunes. With ear buds, my 3rd gen ipod shuffle

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    1. I don't even know the generations anymore. I had the first iPod Shuffle--the one that was white and was a long stick.

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  37. Fantastic theme! I remember my old boombox...took that thing everywhere! It had a tape player and everything...so fancy! :)
    TheCyborgMom

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    1. I never took mine anywhere. So it was kind of a waste. But I remember when you went to the beach in the 80s, they were everywhere. You had to listen to everybody else's music.

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  38. Hey, I listened to one of those until not long ago ;-)
    I always listen to music without headphones. I love listening to the desktop PC, very loud.

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    1. When I worked in an office, headphones was the only way I got through the day.

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  39. I love your theme! I'm more of a 70's girl, but my oldest daughter was born in the 80's and I can love that decade too. We're cleaning out our basement right now, and have uncovered no less than four boomboxes. Sometimes pushing a button that says play is easier than navigating technology in the 21st century. Good luck with the A-Z!

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    1. My husband thinks fondly of the 70s. He graduated high school in the early 80s, so the 70s were more his time.

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  40. It is amazing that we've gone from an 8 track with an album to a mini-ipod with days worth of music...

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    1. I know! Now many of us own more songs than we could ever possibly listen to. I've given up. I just use Spotify now because I downloaded too many songs to an Apple device, only to have them vanish when I switched to a new one. I think it's better now that there's the iCloud, but I just got tired of figuring it all out. Life's too short!

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  41. I just missed boom boxes but grew up in the age of hi-fis and walkmans, and eventually the personal CD player. I don't really tend to listen to music on the go very often any more, but I use Spotify on my laptop at home. I'd really like an iPod.

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    1. I loved my first Walkman. It was amazing to me that I could listen to music everywhere I went with headphones on so nobody else could hear it!

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  42. Boom boxes were awesome. I think the fact that they were so clunky made them so cool.

    When I listen to music without headphones it's on my TV thanks to the music channels, so I simply unplug my headphones from my computer and turn the volume up. :)

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    1. I think we have those TV channels. We only occasionally turn them on...usually while cleaning the house.

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  43. Great retrospective on musical transmission devices. I remember when the Walkman was so revolutionary because it was so small. Now I have an iPod Shuffle that's not much bigger than a button.

    A-to-Z Participant
    www.passporttobrilliance.com
    www.creativecaravanclub.com

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    1. I know...makes you wonder just what future generations will have. Maybe the device will be implanted so they don't even have to carry anything around with them.

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  44. I think we still have a few boom boxes here, LOL :) (that is what happens when you marry a musician). We have a stereo we listen to music with these days or lately hubby has been finding stations on the TV through the cable service that has music he likes (jazz)

    betty

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    1. Musicians probably hate listening to music through headphones, since the music isn't as pure?

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  45. I still have my first CD player from 1991, which has a cassette player. I sometimes find audiobooks on cassette, so it comes in handy once in a while, even though I no longer have any of my cassettes from the 1980s.

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    1. I remember going to the library in the 90s and picking out books on tape to listen to in my car. I didn't have a CD player so the books on tape the library still had were perfect. I had an Audible membership when I commuted every day and it was nice to have access to the latest books right when they came out.

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  46. I can't imagine not having my stereo and my CD's and I still have vinyl! I also have 2 boom boxes:) I have yet to even have an Ipad (or is it IPod??). I remember watching some comedy with a boom box-either Police Squad or Airplane...can't remember but I laughed:)

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    1. Yes, and the funny thing is that younger generations will probably only ever see boom boxes through old movies.

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  47. Oh man, the boom box scene from Say Anything! Classic! :)

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    1. I know! I had to include that scene in this challenge somewhere, right?!

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  48. I love this theme! Those were the days, I miss playing at the park and listening to the music of the boys playing basketball.

    My dad gave my son a boom box and some cassettes that he had laying around (because he never gets rid of ANYTHING) and he thinks it is the neatest thing. It's all mix tapes I made in high school (cringes) and really old music but he loves it.

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    1. It would be cool to have those old mixed tapes but would the tape still be in playable condition? I'd worry it would break inside the player!

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  49. lol, love this post! Especially the romantic scene! Ah! I feel sorry for my daughter's generation who will never experience some things (or movies for that matter!) the way we did!

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    1. My stepdaughter and her friends were all asking for record players for Christmas. I thought that was interesting.

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  50. Oh boy, I remember those - and I had one, too. It was huge! And heavy! These days I mostly listen to music on my computer.

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    1. I never had one of the ones LL Cool J is holding up there--I think they were super expensive at the time so we skipped that generation of them.

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  51. I remember the 8 track tapes. My grandma had one and I played my Leif Garrett tape all the time. lol I had a boom box when I was a teenager in the 80's. It was huge and I loved it. Now if I'm not using ear buds, I have 300 music channels on my tv that I listen to.

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    1. I do have a picture of Leif Garrett at some point this month. I think he's part of Z, so it'll be a while!

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  52. Happy things got smaller. Now you can get everything on an ipod. We had cases to hold everything back then. Boom boxes are still nice to have though. We have two.

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    1. Amazing. "Jobs" starts out with Steve Jobs showing everyone the brand new iPod. You do realize what a monumental moment that was when you see that scene.

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  53. I had an awesome boom box. Had dual cassettes. Still have it in my closet. Not sure what I'm saving it for, but you never know. :)

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    1. Sometimes you just have to hold onto those things!

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  54. I rarely ever use headphones, only on a plane. I just started using an ipod in my car, I am pathetic:)
    I will never forget my first Thumbalina record player and my first 45, my first stereo, 8-trak player, boom box with double cassette and six cd player. I wander what ids next.
    It is nice to meet you, I am one of Lisa's Live Wires.
    I am going to check out your books for my granddaughters, I have six of them.

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    1. Wow, thank you! And congratulations on having six granddaughters. I'm sure they keep you busy.

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  55. I sometimes have pandora playing on my laptop or the car radio. I usually just listen to pandora on my headphones.

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    1. Me too--although Spotify is kinda cool, too. You can add any songs you want. Just search for them and add them to a playlist. You can even add specific albums.

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  56. I recently found out about network audio, which is where you get these exceptionally good-quality speakers that connect to your wifi and you can play music from your computer or phone all throughout the house. It's amazing.

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    1. Cool. I haven't heard of that. Sounds great, though.

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  57. Hey, Stephanie! Finally have a few seconds to visit my fellow Minions and Live Wires. I love your theme! I miss the 80's so much. My old car was cassette player only and my friends would taunt me relentlessly about my Flintstone era vehicle ('98 Rav). When I finally 'upgraded' in 2011, it was to a used 2005 Ford Focus with a 6-CD changer. LOL. I thought I all that. NOT!

    I still have my mini-boombox packed away somewhere in one of my boxes. I just can't keep up with technology it seems. I still haven't figured out all the nifty things my Android smartphone is apparently capable of doing. Sigh. I'll get there eventually.

    I'm looking forward to checking out the rest of your posts for the month. Have a great night! Eva http://lilicasplace.com

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    1. I need to visit my fellow Live Wires, too. I saw that email earlier. I feel so far behind.

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  58. We still have a full stereo system downstairs (with equalizer, turntable, etc.). And upstairs we have a system with the 5 disk changer... I hadn't bought a cd in years but a couple of weeks ago I wanted to hear the entire John Cougar Mellencamp album from 81 and my copy of it ended up packed in the huge box of albums that didn't arrive with my other stuff in a moving van. The cd was $7 less than it would have cost to buy every song from i-tunes.

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  59. Ahhh the boom boxes. I just listen to tunes on my phone. No earplugs.
    Good post:)

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  60. What a fun theme. I am listening to music now - on Sonos. I love the system. I can have music in any room or every room in my house. Same or different. And I can change it with any device (computer, pad, phone).
    ~Rhonda, a fellow LiveWire

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  61. Ahh loved that movie :) I don't think I ever had a boom box. Huh!

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  62. That's a cute red boombox. I listen to music with a small speaker connected to my iPod. Otherwise, it's online radio (called Live 365). I like having a bit of instrumental or folk acoustic in the background while working.

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  63. I've had a boombox and a walkman. I used to just "love" winding cassette tapes with a pencil, lol.

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  64. The boom box was a faithful companion at the beach when I was a teenager. I can't stand listening to music with headphones. Stereo sound still rules for me!

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  65. In the world of Apple Watch, you made me miss my boom box, the black colored Philips box, played endless music. When FM was introduced, the magic box brought so much cheer! Loving your posts.

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  66. I had a Walkman at one point, but also several boom boxes over the years. So 80's!

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  67. I had a boombox when I was younger, and then an iHome-style speaker set. Now I just use my computer or phone, and I'd buy a "Jambox" (the bluetooth speakers you mentioned) if I listened to more music.

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  68. I loved my boombox in the 80's and 90's... when I listen music without headphones, it is on my computer... I miss my boombox though, I could take that anywhere xox

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  69. I remember this!
    They also called the "improved version" of the boom box, a ghetto blaster.

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  70. Paradise by the Dashboard Lights...

    I sometimes miss seeing people with boomboxes. Watching a bunch of people with mp3 players just isn't the same.

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