The Importance of the Transistor Radio to Rock N' Roll

27 Jan 2015

The second consumer product to be made with transistors (right after the hearing aid) was the transistor radio, beginning with the Regency TR-1.  

It was produced in part by Texas Instruments which started production in October 1954.  Although it was expensive—$49.95, well over $400 in today’s dollars—and went through batteries very quickly, it sold 150,000 units.  Other companies (including a tiny Japanese outfit called Sony) began to manufacture their own radios.  Prices dropped dramatically.

The transistor radio made music portable.  No longer was listening confined to the family’s console radio in the living room.  Teenagers could now take their rock’n’roll music with them wherever they went, away from the prying ears of their parents.  The transistor radio became a delivery mechanism for the cultural, social, economic, political and sexual revolutions that came with the spread of rock.

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