For music fans of the late ’70s, ’80s, and early ’90s the boombox was a beloved companion. It allowed its owners to create an instant party wherever they found themselves, from apartments to street corners, without the need for expensive equipment, crates of records, or a deejay. And now those devotees will finally have a tome that recognizes and celebrates their passion for the battery powered sound system. The Boombox Project: The Machines, the Music, and the Urban Underground is the new book from Lyle Owerko, a photographer, filmmaker, and boombox collector from New York City.
Owerko was recently interviewed by AOL News and he believes the time is right to explore the history of the machine saying, “These devices have not been in vogue for 20 years, yet not a day goes by where I don’t see someone with a boombox silk-screened on a T-shirt.” These outsized portable tape decks are, in Owerko’s eyes, a means to bring people together. He observes, “”I think people have had their time listening by themselves, and now they want more a group experience.”
The artist’s book, published by Abrams Image and featuring a forward by Spike Lee, goes into a detailed history of not only the boombox but it’s effect on various genres of music and the way the device changed the way people listened to music. It also features Owerko’s thoughts on several different models. His favorite, he told AOL News, is the Sharp GF-777 which he calls, “the BMW of boomboxes.”