Saturday, December 13, 2014

Jukebox Memories

         I read this piece of trivia: “On November 23rd, 1889, the jukebox was invented by entrepreneurs Louis Glass and William S. Arnold. They called it the nickel-in-the-slot phonograph which is possibly the least effort we've seen put into the name of a product ever.” and was reminded of having seen jukeboxes on occasion.

        Jukeboxes weren’t as popular when I was growing up, as I believe they were when my mom and dad were teenagers. But I do remember some restaurants featuring a single jukebox and one restaurant that allowed you to make selections from the table.  I also remember spending quarters (not nickels) for making a selection of up to six songs.  I don’t recall ever dancing to my jukebox selections – just having the music in the background.

            There was a jukebox at Snelgroves for a short time while I worked there.  Mostly members of the staff who would crank it up while claiming to work would play the same 4 – 6 songs over and over again –.  I was getting so sick of listening to the same selections night after night.

            And then one day the owner’s daughter asked my brother to find some replacement records for the jukebox – she requested that he make his selection of 50’s and 60’s music.  I remember going with him and allowed myself to help him pick them out.  It was great – because no matter what song was selected to be played, it would be one that we both liked.  

            The staff (mostly young kids still in high school) didn’t seem happy with the new selection.  I don’t think any of them knew that Corey and I (well, mostly Corey) were responsible and I didn’t say anything except that I liked the new selection as I was tired of hearing the same 4 – 6 songs which we didn’t keep (as I recall)

            My memories of jukeboxes are mostly fond.  I think it was a great invention.  They’re still around in some places.  But now so many have music programmed onto their cell phones and other electronic devices that they hold in the palm of their hands, it makes the jukebox seem really rare.

40 singles is exactly how many the standard jukebox used to hold.  It has been speculated that this is why radio stations often introduce the “top 40” rather than another number – like 50.

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