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