It's hard to imagine our lives without portable music -- nowadays most of us can fit our entire music collection into an MP3 player the size of a deck of cards. But 30 years ago, as people hefted boom boxes off their shoulders, they oooh'ed and ahhhh'ed in fascination at a little machine called the Walkman.
Originally, portable cassette players were marketed for people who needed to record audio clips for their work, such as journalists and businesspeople, but Sony's Walkman brought the idea of playing cassettes to the masses. Not only did many Walkmans have cassette players, AM/FM dials and dual headphone jacks, they also had cool features such as auto-reverse and record.
Pictured here is the first Sony Walkman -- the TPS-L2, introduced in Japan on 1 July 1979. Reaching the US the following year, it cost $200 in the US and was called "one of the hottest new status symbols around" by The Wall Street Journal in 1980. Like consumers of today's iPods, people had to wait at least a month to get the TPS-L2 because of a backlog in orders.
Sony sold 30,000 Walkmans in its first two months and 50 million in the following decade. This week, as the Sony Walkman turns 30, our colleagues at CNET.com decided to take a look at some of the original Walkmans, with the top 10 songs that were rocking America in the year they came out -- y'know, for context. Apparently, in 1983, Men At Work were more popular than Michael Jackson.