Music History

The History of the Boombox

I’ve never heard of a “boombox archivist” before, but that’s a good term for anyone who collects these things.  Miles Lightwood is such a person and runs a site called  Boomboxラジカセ Creators.  Collectors Weekly interviewed him about boomboxes and why they had just an impact on society for a while.

Q:  Where did the boombox originate?Miles Lightwood: The boombox by its typical definition—a handled, portable, radio cassette deck with one or more speakers—was actually invented in the Netherlands by Philips in 1969. The one considered the first boombox was made so that you could record from the radio onto the cassette without having any external cables for a microphone. All of a sudden, you’ve got a very easy music-sharing culture, and the Japanese companies basically took that idea and ran with it.

In my mind, the first device that’s like the urban boombox of popular culture is the JVC RC-550, which was a monster box. It’s got a 10-inch woofer, it looks mean, and it’s got lights and the whole package. That was made in ’75.

If you ever owned a boombox–hell, I’ve got about six in my basement–this is fascinating stuff. Continue reading.

(Via Boing Boing)

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38293 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “The History of the Boombox

  • Hi! Speaking of Boomboxes…I would like some advice from all the experts who frequent this site. Trust me, this is not me advertising anything. I am thinking of buying something, and I would like some input. It’s a Boombox from Hammacher Schlemmer. Has anyone else seen this thing? It’s built on a wagon chassis, is pulled around by a handle and has 10″ wheels. It boasts 2000 watts of power, 8 Piezo horn tweeters, two 6″x9″ mid-range speakers, and a 12″ dual-voice coil subwoofer with dedicated crossover. It has a CD player, AM/FM radio, USB port, remote control, plays from any Bluetooth-enabled device, has a four-band equalizer, radio antenna, 3 drink holders, bottle opener and a flag pole mount. It runs on a 12 volt 34AGM deep-cycle marine battery for 20 hours of audio on a full charge and comes with an AC charger. Oh yeah, it costs $ 4,000.00. (comes in blue, black red or yellow). Now I don’t know what most of this stuff means, so I was hoping some of you could tell me what you think. Please? Thanks!


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