Bring Back the Boombox!

Remember the Classic 80s Ghetto Blaster?

The vintage boombox has become an icon of the 1980s with hundreds of bass pumping variations from major electronics manufacturers and obscure niche brands.

This lens explores ghetto blaster history and finds the best boombox gift items for your friends and family. Find the best of boombox culture from videos to vintage boxes for sale to ghetto blaster photos to retro boombox shirts and a new boombox book that is not to be missed.

Boombox by The Lonely Island

history of ghetto blaster
history of ghetto blaster

History of the Boom Box

Back in the day...

Boom boxes first became commercially available in the 1970s as an evolution of the basic portable radio-cassette recorder. As they became more popular manufacturers competed to bring out more powerful boxes with new features and better quality sounds. Electronics makers including major Japanese brands and smaller now forgotten marks each brought their ideas to market competing for the biggest sounds, clearest bass, flashy chassis and novel designs incorporating large speakers, gold and chrome faces and colorful lit up displays.

In the 1980s ghetto blasters became increasingly popular and spread through popular culture in hip hop, breakdancing, movies and music videos. As the decade progressed boom boxes began to become more refined and mass produced which brought down price but also the quality. In the end the ghetto blaster would be replaced by Walkman style personal stereos with headphones.

Ghetto Blaster Trucker Hat

Boombox Trucker Cap
Boombox Trucker Cap

Cool boombox hat for men or women.


What do you call it?

Jah Boom Box
Jah Boom Box

Reader Poll

  • Boombox
  • Ghetto Blaster
  • Jambox
  • Portable Stereo
See results without voting

Gil Scott Heron - Washington D.C. - Gil Scott Takes His Ghetto Blaster for a Walk

The Boombox Project - One of the coolest books this season.

The Boombox Project: The Machines, the Music, and the Urban Underground
The Boombox Project: The Machines, the Music, and the Urban Underground

On the heels of the graffiti renaissance comes a vibrant look at an old-school icon that figured prominently in the hip-hop, rock & roll, and punk movements of the 1970s and 80s. The Boombox Project features contemporary fine art portraits of an array of vintage boomboxes, as well as scores of documentary photographs of the people who brought the boombox movement to life back in the day.


Vintage Ghetto Blasters for Sale - Get an original Boombox from eBay.

If you are looking for an original old school blaster then eBay is probably your best bet but be prepared to be bidding against collectors. Other good places to hunt down vintage gear is at thrift stores, pawn shops, swap meets and flea markets where you may still find a bargain!

Quick Poll

  • Yes still do!
  • I used to.
  • No, never had one.
See results without voting

New iPod Boombox by iHome

iHome IP4GZC FM 30-Pin iPod/iPhone Speaker Dock Boombox (Gunmetal)
iHome IP4GZC FM 30-Pin iPod/iPhone Speaker Dock Boombox (Gunmetal)

The iP4 is a re-imagining of the classic stereo boombox with intriguing updates for your iPhone and iPod. The iP4 features SRS TruBass digital signal processing technology and 5 band EQ coupled with an amp pumping 4" woofers and separate 1" tweeters for sound that has to be heard to be appreciated. Includes FM radio and auxillary line-in jack. Works with iHome Radio app for access to thousands of internet radio stations.


Hello Kitty Pink Boombox

HELLO KITTY KT2028A Stereo AM/FM/CD Boom Box with Cassette Player/Recorder
HELLO KITTY KT2028A Stereo AM/FM/CD Boom Box with Cassette Player/Recorder

HELLO KITTY Stereo AM/FM/CD Boom Box with Cassette Player/Recorder makes a fun gift for girls who love music.


LL Cool J - I Can't Live Without My Radio - 1985 Rap Salutes the Ghetto Blaster

Ghetto Blaster Weekend Bag

Present Time Ghetto Blaster Weekend Bag with Photo Print
Present Time Ghetto Blaster Weekend Bag with Photo Print

The design on one side is a life-sized boom box that is sure to grab attention. This is also a very very rugged bag made of a sturdy sturdy vinyl with silver toned metal accents on the handles as well as "feet" on the bottom to prevent wear and tear. The inside is lined in black nylon with a removable sturdy insert that sits on the bottom to keep the bottom shape of the bag. This unisex Ghetto Blaster Tote bag is perfect for an overnight trip, a weekend away, gym bag, a computer or work bag or a very hip diaper bag for dad (or mom).


Boombox iPhone Skin

GelaSkins Protective Skin for iPod Touch 4G with Access to Matching Digital Wallpaper Downloads - "Boombox"
GelaSkins Protective Skin for iPod Touch 4G with Access to Matching Digital Wallpaper Downloads - "Boombox"

Includes access to an online gallery of matching digital wallpaper downloads for the screen. GelaSkins protect your iPhone with a durable anti-scratch, anti-UV coating. The removable skins are thin enough that they won't interfere with any other accessories (ie. other cases, bags, peripherals, etc.). With patented adhesive technology by 3M, GelaSkins remove cleanly when you want to remove them or switch them for another design.


New School Blaster Video - Tim Healey vs Marc Adamo - GhettoBlaster

Ghetto Blaster Belt Buckle - Plastered with rhinestone bling!

Gold Boombox Rhinestone Belt Buckle Ghetto Blaster
Gold Boombox Rhinestone Belt Buckle Ghetto Blaster

This cool gold tone plated boombox belt buckle is absolutely covered in gleaming clear crystal rhinestones. The buckle has great detailing, from the speaker cover texture to the buttons for the cassette player and the numbers on the radio dial.


Boom Box Watch by Fluid

Flud Men's BBX002 Boombox Gun Metal Plated Stainless Steel Watch
Flud Men's BBX002 Boombox Gun Metal Plated Stainless Steel Watch

The good folks at Flud Watches just put another classic retro icon back on your wrist with the Boombox Watch. Available in both Gun Metal and Silver, this push button digital watch comes complete with slick details from the speakers to the handlebars. One quick push reveals a sharp red LCD display.


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Guestbook - Feel free to leave feedback here! 61 comments

MisterJeremy profile image

MisterJeremy 5 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

You've got some great retro lenses. I had a big gray boom box with stickers all over it. It was dual casette and everything. Blessed.

SofiaMann 5 years ago

Fantastic lens. I enjoy it. Congratulations.

TreasuresBrenda profile image

TreasuresBrenda 5 years ago from Canada

Ah yes, I still call our CD players boomboxes. My teens just raise an eyebrow...

Lisa-Marie-Mary profile image

Lisa-Marie-Mary 5 years ago

I call 'em jamboxes. I love this lens - thank you so much for the walk down memory lane!!! And yes, of course - I still have one! Not from 'back then' - it's one my husband won me at Dave and Buster's about ten years back. It's blue and pretty and super cool. It's one of those rounded-shape ones. And it's got lights that go with the music! LOL!!! (I rarely use those, though, because I'm afraid when the bulbs run out, I won't be able to replace them. So I only turn them on for 'special occasions' - who knows what constitutes 'jam box music lights special occasions' hahaha! Maybe to impress little kids or something! )

JenOfChicago LM profile image

JenOfChicago LM 5 years ago

Love them! I really want that iPod boom box now!

Timewarp profile image

Timewarp 5 years ago from Montreal Author

@MisterJeremy: Cool, my brother did the sticker thing all over his, I kept mine pristine hehe thanks for visiting and giving my new lens a boost!

Timewarp profile image

Timewarp 5 years ago from Montreal Author

@TreasuresBrenda: That's okay, I still catch myself calling my ipod my walkman :/

Timewarp profile image

Timewarp 5 years ago from Montreal Author

@Lisa-Marie-Mary: Jambox is new to me but I see other people use it online, thanks for giving me an idea for a new poll that I just posted - "What did you call it?"

reasonablerobby profile image

reasonablerobby 5 years ago from UK

These are iconic. The tube of Gil Scott Heron is great. Lensrolled to my Gil Scott Heron lens. Did you know his father played soccer for Glasgow Celtic in the UK!

anonymous 5 years ago

The bigger the better was the motto... now look how small we have gotten with our mp3 players and all. Would have saved some of our shoulders if we had today's technology!

mariaamoroso profile image

mariaamoroso 5 years ago from Sweden

This was a really nice lens about boom boom boxes! Blessed by a Squid Angel!

anonymous 5 years ago

I'm getting an eighties Sony Ghetto Blaster from my uncle mike in 2 weeks. It's literally brand new, he used it twice. Still works. Still has the original box, manuals, cord, and all the original knobs and stuff.

JimDuke profile image

JimDuke 5 years ago

This is awesome-think I may get one that new one on Amazon that I can use my iPhone with!

ChemKnitsBlog2 profile image

ChemKnitsBlog2 5 years ago

I'm still laughing over the ipod boombox!

ChemKnitsBlog2 profile image

ChemKnitsBlog2 5 years ago

I'm still laughing over the ipod boombox!

sushilkin lm profile image

sushilkin lm 5 years ago

Thanks for sharing nice lens! PRAY FOR JAPAN Please

anonymous 4 years ago

When it came to Boomboxes, it seems like everyone had a bigger one. Love the iPod boombox, now there's an idea!

Close2Art LM profile image

Close2Art LM 4 years ago

I wish I still had my old boombox, boy that thing would eat some D batteries up quick...:)

JeanJohnson LM profile image

JeanJohnson LM 4 years ago

Boomboxes were cool! I like the updated boombox ipod docking station.

BestRatedStuff profile image

BestRatedStuff 4 years ago

Fun lens! The *0s,now those were the days. Boomboxes, break-dancing, whatever. Thanks

pawpaw911 4 years ago

Man, hard to believe people used to carry those around.

goo2eyes lm profile image

goo2eyes lm 4 years ago

those were the days.

GoAceNate LM profile image

GoAceNate LM 4 years ago

GoAceNate LM profile image

GoAceNate LM 4 years ago

@GoAceNate LM: Thank you Timewarp.

RawBill1 profile image

RawBill1 4 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

This is awesome. I remember in the 80's carrying one to school hidden in my oversized bag as we were not allowed to take them to school. I went through loads of D sized batteries on my lunch breaks! Blessed :-)

anonymous 4 years ago

@pawpaw911: Yea I know, im handicapped and in a wheelchair and was born with CP, and I used to have a Magnavox Ghatto Blaster that came with a strap attached to it, and I used to roll down the street with it in my wheelchair cranked up only halfway, that thing cold out blast som pretty loud home Stereo systems.

I think it was one of the last ones made, man that thing had great sound with bass and treble of course it had a five band Graphic equalizer for bass and treble it was black and yellow with three speakers in the front, I think it was one of the last ones made that was big and rectangular, instaed of boxy I think it came out in 87 or 88 I traded a guy my boxy Gerard for it, mine was newer, with a digital quarts tuning, an dual cassette with auto reverse and that's how I talked him out of his, but his sounded a lot better.

But eventually one speas shorted out as is common especially since it had a slider volume control.

but it lasted quite a long time. I got it in 1989 it had dual cassette but no auto reverse but sound was more important to me. you coul crank that thing and have little to no distortion!

markettrol profile image

markettrol 4 years ago

Very Interesting Lens....Thank You

cherriebombetsy profile image

cherriebombetsy 4 years ago

AWESOME! I used to ride my bike around Philly with my mixtape-playing jambox velcroed to the handlebars - only 5 years ago but feels like forever. (I was too young in the 80's to carry mine around, but I had one then too, a HUGE one!) Great lens, and thanks for dropping by mine today! :)

JoshK47 4 years ago

Gotta love the old school boom box - I remember mine when I was a young 'un.

Rhythmgame 4 years ago

do you think it is worth it to buy a boombox now?

KeenanCasanova 4 years ago

Thanks for sharing this! Awesome nostalgic lens!! I miss those days....I used to chain a boombox to my bike when I was little...I'd roll up to school blasting mixtapes...ya know the ones that you and you're friends would always swap....sure sharing is easier these days, but there's something more personal about a good old mixtape!

"LMFAO, Jason Derulo & The Blackeyed Peas being held hostage by Eminem"

WriterJanis2 profile image

WriterJanis2 4 years ago

I really loved mine.

EileenSmith LM profile image

EileenSmith LM 4 years ago

Wish I had a boombox! Wouldn't be worth buying one now, but I'm sure they were great for the time. Loved this lens.

Edutopia 4 years ago

Ah the Ghetto Blaster. A great cultural icon and still an awesome thing to have nowadays.

newbizmau profile image

newbizmau 4 years ago from Mobile, AL

Made me laugh

EDawg408 LM profile image

EDawg408 LM 4 years ago

Ahh...good times! I remember breakdancing on linoleum in elementary school with a boombox!

MelonyVaughan profile image

MelonyVaughan 4 years ago

What a great lens! I saw a young man carrying one of these on his shoulder the other day on the subway and boy, let me tell you, he had people's heads turning!

jstarley profile image

jstarley 4 years ago

I love this lens! Don't make the mistake of calling your kid's stereo a boom box...that's all I can say about that! Love Andy Sandburg BTW!

KandDMarketing profile image

KandDMarketing 4 years ago

Love it!

rpm1200 profile image

rpm1200 4 years ago

Great lens, thanks so much!

sudokunut profile image

sudokunut 4 years ago from Reno, Nevada

Yeah you just don't get the same visual effect with one of those mini Jambox speakers.

designINmind profile image

designINmind 4 years ago

Carrying one of these around could be a great way to lose some weight - when you get tired, just put it down, push play, and dance a little :)

LaraineRoses profile image

LaraineRoses 3 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

I can't say that I ever carried around a boombox but I sure did enjoy listening to some of my friend's stereos. I seem to remember that a sort of costume went with the carrier .. not unlike the ones in the photo above. :)

JohnGcorner profile image

JohnGcorner 3 years ago

lol on the "Ghetto Blaster", didn't hear that one before.

atomicgirl24 3 years ago

@JohnGcorner: Yes, it was called a ghetto blaster. There was even a song back in the '80s where there's a woman singing "blast that ghetto blaster!" Wish I remembered what the name was.

atomicgirl24 3 years ago

I miss the boombox, because to me it's a symbol of how life in the inner city used to be before the horrible drug epidemic of the '80s. Back then, kids played in the streets until late at night (because it was safe), the community looked out for each other, and everyone was just so relaxed and happy. Now it's so different.

Beatdawg 3 years ago

This sure brings back memories, i used to breakdance on a sheet of cardboard

lesliesinclair profile image

lesliesinclair 3 years ago

When I returned to college after raising children I exerted myself and bought a boombox and a walkman, in the late 80s. I loved the sound.

DMVAgent 3 years ago

cool stuff. i appreciate the concepts of this lens and the uniqueness of ideas you've shared, thanks a lot people!

anonymous 3 years ago

We're bringing the boombox back! Hand made in the U.S.A. doesn't get much better than that. -

Timewarp profile image

Timewarp 3 years ago from Montreal Author

@atomicgirl24: You might be thinking of "Drop That Ghetto Blaster" which was a Karen Findlay sample used in "Theme from S-Express" ... classic track!

MrMojo01 profile image

MrMojo01 3 years ago

Haha I thought these were so cool when I was a kid!

anonymous 3 years ago

@Beatdawg: i collect these cool machines, they knock the socks off today's crap, keepin the spirit alive when alls lost, keep on boomin guys.

anonymous 3 years ago

Used to be fun carrying around one in the 80's! Nice reminiscence though! :)

joannal 3 years ago

This brings back sweet memories about my youth. All those street parties :)

eightieschild profile image

eightieschild 3 years ago

The ipod has nothing on the boombox. Bring em back I say! :)

Baddew Fibes profile image

Baddew Fibes 3 years ago

Yeah, Ghetto Blasters are the best!

anonymous 3 years ago

I love boomboxes, hate i-pods! I really miss the variety of sounds and looks not to mention big bass!!

anonymous 2 years ago

I have 3, a Sanyo M-X920K (my favorite), a Sanyo M-9982 with a strap and a Sharp WQ272 mini. Love them all!! For those of you mentioning iPod boxes, DON'T, JUST DON'T... they suck whether it's a new Lasonic, TDK, new Sony, Beats, or iHome. I've heard them all and compared them to my 80's units. If you need to use an Ipod, then get a real ghettoblaster with at least 20w AC output, Line in jack, separate bass/treble and Dolby NR that works well and you will need an RCA to 3.5mm (headphone jack) cable. You can even record mixtapes from your Ipod which is extremely fun to do. You will not be disappointed.

anonymous 2 years ago

I love ghettoblasters they give a rich real sound from a simpler time when everyone would listen to music together not alone on there iPods I miss the 80's

Vantype 2 years ago

Wow, cool more boomboxes! I just made a lens for a Sanyo only boomboxes but plan to more lenses on other boomboxes too!

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