Jukebox #atozchallenge

I haven’t seen as many jukeboxes as I used to. I guess everyone brings their own music with them on their phones or listens to whatever music happens to be playing over the intercom system. You used to see them all the time, primarily in bars and restaurants, but really anywhere people wanted to sit around and listen to music. I remember there was one at a laundromat we used to go to when we were on vacation.

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

The idea is simple: you drop in some money, choose the songs you want to hear, and one by one, the jukebox locates the record, sets it on the turntable, and plays it. When that’s done, it puts that record back, gets the next record and plays it. Some restaurants had a controller at each table, where people wouldn’t have to get up and walk to the machine to pick their records; they could choose them right where they were.

When I was living in the dorm at Loyola, the food service folks brought in a jukebox so we could listen to music while we ate. After a while, a group of students would play Rose Royce’s “Car Wash” over and over and over at dinnertime. They would arrive at the cafeteria early, load the jukebox with quarters, and request that song repeatedly. It got to where people were avoiding the cafeteria at dinnertime, because, while they might have liked the song, they were tired of listening to it all the time while they were eating.

Legend has it (I was in class three nights a week at the downtown campus and missed it) that the jukebox was taken out when one guy snapped and cut the electrical cord with a pair of hedge clippers….

Hedge clippers (source: Amazon

From 1977 (or maybe 1976), Rose Royce, “Car Wash.”

47 thoughts on “Jukebox #atozchallenge

  1. I really like jukeboxes and knew people who own them. I remember one of the first I saw was I. The early 1970’s, I put in a quarter and out came a song I love to this day. I found out it was Cecelia by Simon and Garfunkel. My best friend is going through a horrible divorce( he is a narcissistic sociopath..think Trump) and he mentioned the jukebox which she didn’t care if he got it.

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    1. They were. I think everyone over the age of 40 remembers stuffing the machine full of quarters (or nickels or dimes) and finding and picking songs. At one time, “jukebox plays” was a key element in the Billboard surveys; in fact, there was a whole survey dedicated to them.

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  2. How funny that you can do a post on remembering Juke boxes, and that some folks might not know what they are. Oh how times change. I can just imagine someone getting fed up like that with only one song playing! What a killjoy. There is one place I know of in Lake Park, Georgia that still has a juke box, but it’s all digital now, no 45s… Great post. Found you on “If Only I Had a Time Machine”s blog from the A to Z master list! Happy A to Z! http://www.lisabuiecollard.com

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    1. Right: jukeboxes were ubiquitous at one time. Now they’re collector’s items that you might see some places.

      I had to look up Lake Park, GA because I live near Atlanta and had never heard of it. That’s almost Florida… 😉

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  3. There’s a beautiful one in the gift shop/gathering area of Sun Records. It’s a Wurlitzer “bubbler.”

    I hadn’t thought about how everyone dragging their phones around might affect jukeboxes. No records, no rack jobbers. :-/

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    1. That whole aspect of music is gone now, replaced by MP3’s and streaming services. I’m midway between feeling badly and saying “good riddance.”

      The ones you see now are the antique models, the ones that are worth saving. Maybe they take the guts out and replace the records with MP3’s, but the look is the important thing.

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  4. I have great memories associated with jukeboxes. Most of the diners in the area where I grew up had the controllers at every table. As a kid I remember being frustrated when my songs never played. You just never knew how many nickels came before you. My jukebox is mainly in my head these days.

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    1. Some jukeboxes would play songs in the order they were requested, while others used an algorithm that would put the songs in the order that it decided on. It was a pain. Spotify and YouTube are my jukeboxes now…

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  5. Love the story ❤ My brother-in-law graduated from Loyola way back when. Yesterday the husband had to attend a conference and it was at Northwestern University. That’s where he graduated from. He said he didn’t even recognize the campus. The building where the conference was, he said use to be a field. Time marches on…Tick, tock. Great AtoZ I remember those Juke Boxes. Never could not play it, always had to put some quaters in it 😉 I remember it from the movie, “Top Gun,” too. Righteous Brother’s/You’ve Lost that Lovin Feeling ❤

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    1. I can sympathize with your husband. I follow NU on social media, and I remember one day they were talking about freshman orientation and the time-honored tradition of walking en masse through the arch. Heck, when I was there (1974-76) there wasn’t an arch, much less a tradition of walking under it…

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      1. Well if you were there in 76′, that’s the year I found him (my forever ❤ ). He was a Junior, Poli/Sci major. He graduated in 78’…Like I always say, “5 degrees of separation !!” Happy Challenge Mr. John 🙂

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          1. He lived on campus for the first 2 years and then he too went back home and commuted from the Southside..ICGRR/Randolph Street Station, then the he’d hop on the “L” right there by Fields ie Macy’s

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  6. I see a jukebox now and again here, but they are probably digital…no vinyls in there. Someone my aunt knew would give her the discontinued 45s from jukeboxes he serviced (not sure) but, she’d give me the records. They all would have a small hole drilled into them in the label area. I asked why, and she said they came out of a jukebox. Fun memory…and I still have a few of those old records. 🙂

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    1. I’ve seen jukeboxes with CD’s instead of vinyl. Pretty high-tech looking, and now all but obsolete.

      Mom dated a guy whose mother worked at WCFL, and she used to get me all kinds of records. The albums were marked “RADIO STATION COPY” and the singles had the little hole in them, too.

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    1. WLS and WCFL live on as Internet streams. WCFL was only a rock station for about 10 years. They used to carry White Sox games before they went rock. A friend from high school’s father was the station manager at WCFL during their rock days, but I still listened to WLS (AM and FM; FM was WDAI from the early ’70’s through the disco days).

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  7. There is a mom and pop diner near where I live that has a jukebox and each table has the little music selection box… BUT it’s all just for show, non functioning. It gives the diner a fun atmosphere though.

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  8. What does it say about me that I find your story hilarious?!?!? Yay for the guy with the hedge clippers. As much as I love music, Car Wash on repeat would drive me bonkers. I think I have a jukebox memory in one of my posts down the road.

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    1. Little Miss Dynamite! One of my favorites!

      I’ve seen the whole “being seen” parade. I especially like the “pretend you’re not trying to be seen while you’re trying to be seen” charade…

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  9. Love jukeboxes. Our mechanics for the 64 Galaxie have two jukeboxes in their office. They work beautifully with blinking lights and lots of old songs. Any song that is played repeatedly gets on my nerves.

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  10. Okay, gonna show my age here. I love juke boxes! I even remember them when they were in the booths at restaurants and me always bugging my dad for a quarter! LOVE THEM… hehehehe Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I remember that they were a dime a song, three songs for a quarter. (Same with guitar picks.) I think they were cheaper before my time. Now we have Spotify and other streaming services…

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  11. There did usta be a lot more of them! I remember two mostly, one from the local pizza joint and the other in our high school cafeteria. (Neither are there now.)

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