Before portable speakers, before the ipod, before the Walkman and MP3 players there was the boombox. The name of the portable, battery operated radio/cassette player was partly due to its heavy, box like aesthetic, and its bass enhancing power speakers (boom). Initially introduced to the American market during the mid-1970s, the boombox’s popularity surged in the 80s, becoming almost a status symbol. With the change in musical genres and the boombox’s ubiquitous presence on the streets, over time, these portable radios became increasingly larger, some even reaching the size of a suitcase.
Though today the boombox is more of a symbol of the 80s and early 90s, being referenced for example by artists like Madonna in her Hung Up (2005) and “Sorry” (2006) videos as well as featuring in Lady Gaga‘s 2008 “Just Dance”, the boombox has a much stronger association with that period in terms of cultural and musical history than just a portable radio.