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


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (October 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810982757
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810982758
  • Product Dimensions: 3.6 x 4.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #649,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lyle Owerko is a New York–based filmmaker and photographer whose clients have included the Sundance Channel and MTV. He has also directed music videos for artists such as Rufus Wainwright and American Hi-Fi. Owerko shot the cover photograph for the September 11, 2001 issue of Time, which was ranked as one of the 40 most important magazine covers in the past 40 years by the American Society of Magazine Editors.


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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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There are some really great photos & info.
Crazy Eddie
This beautifully nostalgic look at boombox culture stands alone as a must have for anyone who lived through it or wants to know what it was.
P. Burstin
Perfect coffee table book for those who grew up in this era or those who wish they did.
J. Young

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By P. Burstin on February 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
If you were alive in the 70's and 80's you remember the boombox. You may have been neck deep in the culture and blasted your neighborhood or you may have been one of those passers by angrily looking at hoodlums blasting their music over your peaceful stroll. Either way, Lyle Owerko has captured the culture that came before mp3s and ipods. This beautifully nostalgic look at boombox culture stands alone as a must have for anyone who lived through it or wants to know what it was. Captured in the pages Owerko takes us on a journey through Rock, R&B, Reggae, Hip Hop, Rap, Punk, and New Wave. The selected images document a world where the boombox is star. Owerko's photographs of the great boomboxes from ages past are more like portraits of people, each with personality and charisma. Beautifully designed by Jeff Streeper, The Boombox Project weaves this era into fun and perfect companion to any coffee table. Put down your Ipod, grab a copy, and relive the old days.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robin Benson on October 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The book is a fantastic flash back in time for all those fans who staggered around the hood with ultra heavy sonic boomboxes in their hands and to live life to the full you had to be a battery junkie too. Lyle Owerko has produced a wonderful look back at the machines that were so essential to music in the eighties.

The five chapters blend the machines and the music but it's the beautiful in-your-face spread-wide photos of the radios that really grabbed me. Pages eight and nine feature the Conion C100F, thirty-one inches long and sixteen high, a monster which, as the book says: '...designed not just to catch the eyes, but to hold them hostage'. How about the Sharp GF-777 with four giant speakers or the Panasonic RX-A5 with eight speakers. Both machines were capable of pumping out an industrial strength bass that made them essential elements of street culture music. Chapter four: Fast Forward has photos of fifty radios, several one to a spread and they look like they're bursting out of the book. Others are one, two or four to a page. Great photos, too as they are all straight on shots floating on the pages because they have no backgrounds.

Other chapters, with long quotes from fifty-four contributors, cover DJ and the MC, rap, break dancing and hip-hop. Street scene photos from a variety of photographers give all these pages a lift.

The book has a contemporary graffiti design look that I thought worked well with the static radio shots that run throughout the pages. Everything hangs together beautifully though an index for the radios would have been useful.

The book is a visual treat and celebrates that special decade of the boombox and the hood.

***LOOK AT SOME INSIDE PAGES by clicking 'customer images' under the cover.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marco on January 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
There are books that are interesting only for their images and others that are inspiring by their written content.
It is really hard to find both in one.
Well, The BoomBox Project is both and more.
It is a journey, a time machine, an inspiration for the future and a very cool object to possess.
Worldwide famous art and journalism photographer Lyle Owerko will never stop to surprise me.
He always is on the edge of the coolest subjects or most dramatic historical events.
With this book, he tells a very important story of the musical and urban culture, with interview to the greatest street musicians of the last 30 years.
His work his remarkable and, as soon as my wallet will allow it, I'll put on my wall one of his amazing large prints.
On the personal side? When I picked up the book and started turning the pages, I felt again in my childhood, like a Peter Pan who jumps stories and ends up in wonderland.
A youthful smile invaded my face and it took me few hours to let it go away.
I love this book and this project... I strongly suggest to everyone...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gavinardo on October 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I collect old 80s boomboxes, and knew once I found this book I HAD to have it. The info and history inside is an incredible flashback to the late 70s and early 80s. There are wonderful testimonials and anecdotes from musicians, rappers, breakers, and anyone who had a fond adolescence growing up with a boombox firmly gripped over their shoulder. The nostalgia and history is really something to behold, and it's only enhanced with wonderful two-page spreads of actual boomboxes. Each one is full of character.

I have this book sitting front and center on my boombox collection. Really adds to the conversation piece. Highly recommend it for anyone looking to rediscover some of their childhood, or those who want to appreciate days-gone-by, when hip-hop was still in it's infancy and it seemed everyone was writing graffiti.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maxwell Fohrman on March 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great concept. Great execution.Owerko does an admirable job as both photographer and curator of chronicling a New York minute of time, and does so with a certain aplomb. I even bough one of the prints.
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By Jeff Fast on March 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book really covers the hobby of collecting vintage boomboxes well. Looks into the history and is well worth the price just for the photographs, not to mention the many stories.
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