Found the Boom Box Museum today, thanks to Boing Boing. For those of you whippersnappers too young to remember these behemoths, I’ll have you know that in my day, these things defined cool. In fact, I can still remember L.L. Cool J’s breakout rap about his Boom Box, “My Radio”:
My radio, believe me I like it loud,
I’m the man with the box that can rock the crowd,
Walking down the street, to the hard core beat,
While my J V C vi-brates the con-crete!
Bigger and louder was definitely better, and as kids began informally to compete to acquire the biggest, most gizmo-laden box, ultimately the things were banned from my high school. This became a problem at pep rallies, when they actually would have come in handy for the cheerleaders’ dance routines. One year the cheerleaders were trying to perform a number to Whodini’s “The Freaks Come Out at Night,” and all they could muster was a pathetic single-speaker box. No one could hear the music, even when our activity coordinator held a megaphone up to the speaker. Finally, about two thirds of the way through the act, the coolest looking mofo I had ever seen sauntered down from the back of the bleachers carrying a gigantic contraband ghetto blaster. As the music died down, he simply placed his box on the gym floor next to the tiny radio the girls were attempting to use, while the entire student body roared its approval. It was so hilarious, I don’t think the guy was even punished for bringing his box to school.