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Pulling the plug on the Walkman sends me to Electric Avenue

Consumer electronics giant Sony said Monday it would no longer make its iconic Walkman, and I immediately thought of Eddy Grant and Thomas Dolby. Songs by those two pop stars -- "Electric Avenue" and "She Blinded Me with Science," respectively -- were in heavy rotation the spring of 1983, when I received a Walkman for my birthday and fired up the headphones for a walk to a nearby baseball field for a pickup game. Yes, the fact that I was walking to play pickup baseball ages me, I know. And yes, I remember these details. That's because I'm a supreme music geek and not at all ashamed to admit it. What I remember about that day is not just the portability of the listening experience, but the quality of the sound that was being piped into my ears. Grant's "Oy!" and what sounded like a revving motorcycle kicking off what would become an unlikely hit for the reggae performer. And the layered synthesizers and electronic drums of Dolby's novelty hit. Cassettes never sounded so good.

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