Were you ever ‘blown away’ by sound?

Steve Guttenberg writes: Before multitasking, sound was a big deal, so it was easier to be blown away by it.

CNET's Geoff Morrison used the above image from a Maxell tape ad in his "Music multitasking: How 'background' listening enhances life" blog post a few weeks ago, and that image really took me back. Maxell's "Blown Away Guy" campaign debuted in 1979, and it was perfect: the hipster is on the right side of the picture slouching in a massive Le Corbusier chair, with a table lamp and martini glass "blown away" by the sound of a JBL L100 speaker on the left side of the frame. The photo is by Steven Steigman, and there have been endless parodies of the image over the years.

Communicating great sound in a black-and-white still image isn't easy, and the ad's creators' achievement has never been surpassed. Sound never stands still, it's constantly in motion, and the image makes that perfectly clear. The Maxell ad was so popular it was ...


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