A Short History of the Jukebox

It is not certain where the term ‘jukebox’ comes from, but it has been suggested that it comes from the American South where bars playing jazz and blues were called ‘jook joints’. The name ‘Jukebox’ was not commercially adopted until 1937, before then they were referred to as phonographs.

Although Thomas Edison developed a coin-operated phonograph in the late 19th century, the automatic record player was not introduced until 1906 and it was not until the 1920s, when electronically recorded records became available that we saw the kind of jukeboxes that we would recognise. The newly developed changer system was able to pick out the records, play them on the turntable and then return them to their holding place.

The early jukeboxes would have been found in the speakeasies during the Prohibition, they were heavy veneered cabinets with fabric-covered speakers. By the late 1930s they had become quite flashy, with light-up, dome-topped cabinets in bright colours and plastic would have been used for the first time. The models of this period would have been around until about 1948 and they are considered to be part of the golden age of the jukebox.

How did they become so popular?

Part of the popularity of jukeboxes can be laid down to World War II and the fact that the US armed forces took their American music with them wherever they went and left a trail of jukeboxes wherever they had been stationed. With the advent of the rock ‘n’ roll craze in the 1950s the demand for jukeboxes went through the roof and companies such asWurlitzer ande Seeberg exported their machines worldwide.

As the technology advanced jukeboxes were able to store up to 100 discs and the cabinet designs became more and more elaborate, heavily influenced by the 1950s American motor car and its bodywork. The look was sleek, streamlined with flashy chrome fins, dashboard style consoles, gleaming bumpers and glass windscreens. The age of the jukebox had arrived.

The Main Manufacturers of Jukeboxes

There were five main manufacturers of jukeboxes throughout the 20th century:

AMI started production in 1909 as the National Automatic Music Co. They had designed a mechanism that allowed music rolls to be selected and this was first used in automatic player pianos and then adapted for record selection in jukeboxes, the first of which was produced in 1927. This mechanism was the first that could play both sides of ten records – it was used for the next thirty years. The company was re-named Automatic Musical Instrument Company (AMI) after World War II. During the 1950s licensed manufacturing agreements created BAL-AMI, which was the largest British manufacturer of jukeboxes in the 1950s and 1960s. It’s 1957 Model H jukebox was heavily influenced by popular automobile styles of the time, complete with chrome bumpers and tail fins.

Seeburg was one of the first manufacturers to have a multi-select jukebox. In 1949 it developed a mechanism that could play both sides of fifty records and it was so reliable that few other manufacturers could compete. Seeburg introduced the M100B in 1950 – it was the first jukebox that could play 45rpm records and this was followed by the V200, the first 200-select jukebox. They continued manufacturing jukeboxes throughout the 1970s and 1980s until they were bought by Seeburg Satellite Broadcasting.

Wurlitzer is the one everyone will have heard of and that is the name we think of when someone mentions a jukebox. They were initially known for their large theatre organs and they then went on to produce highly decorative, illuminated jukeboxes that played 78rpm records and they dominated the market during the 1940s. Through their use of wood, veneer, chrome, plastic, coloured lighting and animation the jukebox was as entertaining as the music it played. With the onset of the 45rpm record in the early 1950s Wurlitzer lost a great deal of market share and as demand faded so did the Wurlitzer name and they finally went out of business in the 1970s.

Rock-Ola was founded in 1927 by David C Rockola, they manufactured coin-operated scales and pinball games. In 1939 they introduced the successful Luxury Lightup series of jukeboxes, followed by the Magic Glow range in the late 1940s. The company was sold to businessman Glenn Streeter in the early 1990s and he revived the brand and again made Rock-Ola one of the leading jukebox manufacturers in the US.

NSM was founded in Germany in 1952 and was quick to conquer the European jukebox industry. It was successful into the Nineties with its CD mechanism and miniature, wall-mounted jukeboxes.

Why did Jukeboxes go out of Fashion?

The popularity of the jukebox began to decline in the 1960s when diners were replaced by fast food chains and jukeboxes were replaced by television sets. Also, teenagers began listening at home to long-playing records and transistor radios.

However, with the current interest in anything vintage and the timeless appeal of rock ‘n’ roll there has been a revival in the interest in jukeboxes and they have become very collectable. You can have them adapted to play your own music, you should contact a major jukebox dealer to arrange this. If you buy a vintage jukebox that needs restoration you should get a qualified restorer to do this for you.

If you are interested in collecting jukeboxes, they are not cheap. While at the lower end you might get one for around 1,000 a classic Wurlitzer can cost anything between 6,000 and 10,000.

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Shut Up and Let Me Go – The Ting Tings Lyrics and Beats That Blew the World Away

Katie White and Jules de Martino of the indie pop band, The Ting Tings, stunned everyone with their new brand of sound and eclectic grooves. Their debut album, We Started Nothing, takes us into a whimsical ride to their original techno-pop tunes, unmistakably witty Ting Tings lyrics, and new-fangled musicality that the industry has long been clamoring for.

The Ting Tings hailed from local bars in Salford Mills. In between break ups with other bands and disappointments with studios, Jules and Katie found themselves tired and betrayed by the music industry. Jules hailing from the South of England went to the North and found blonde singer, Katie White studying in Leeds University. The two hit it off quickly and decided to form a band that adheres to the tune and style they want to create. Since both come from a fairly similar yet different upbringing in music, Katie and Jules seemed to balance each other’s impulsivity and seriousness which also translate into the music they create. Hence, the Ting Tings was born.

While in the process of establishing their sound, the duo decided to experiment with different styles and genres until they finally carved out their own niche. Although they have been writing music together for 4 years before the band’s success, it was only when Jules went back to his first love, drumming, and Katie started to toy with the guitar that they finally nailed the sound they want. Katie had a poor attempt on tinkering with a poorly played D chord and started throwing in some melodies taken out from the crevice of her imagination. The product of this serendipitous event led to the composition of the UK radio hit, Great DJ. From then on, the two have worked on the style that they accidentally reinvented followed by the conception of other songs with distinctive Ting Tings lyrics and beats, Shut Up and Let Me Go, That’s Not My Name and Fruit Machine.

After much exposure in UK television shows, radio campaigns, jam-packed gigs, and the quitting of a DJ band member, the band finally signed a huge label deal with Columbia Records and finally released their debut offering We Started Nothing. Before they knew it, their songs are already blaring in the background, being featured in famous American TV shows, and becoming the soundtrack of Friday disco night of many teenagers and music buff the world over.

Their tracks give listeners a whole new mysterious genre with beats reminiscent of 70s disco fever days, and yet, still fresh enough to belong to the 21st century jukebox. A true product of an artistic and innovative band, We Started Nothing marks a definitive turn of European music that promises out-of-the-box and fun approach to music.

White and de Martino stand out among other European artists not only because of their very diverse sound and a polished mix of varied genres in their album. Most of all, they’ve created a mark in the often RnB and pop dominated UK music scene through their overall approach in music. Without coating their songs with uncalled for complexity, White and de Martino pin down their tunes to pure fun and entertainment without jeopardizing their literate musical taste.

One defining characteristic of their music would be the powerful vocal rendering of Katie White. The distinct quality of her voice complements Jules’ crazy drum beats and their arsenal of synths and loop machines. Another devise would be their simplified approach to music hidden behind smart arrangements and intelligent music technology. This approach never bothered for musical frills or seriousness equating to songs that would have you hooked.

The Ting Tings lyrics may not be that poetic, but the beats and loops are enough for them to be marked as a representative of the funk/pop/techno dance genre. An eclectic musical experience to enjoy, the Ting Tings is ready to take over charts and rig in album sales. People all over the world, despite the language barrier, are starting to bask in the swirling notes that this band has brought to the table and recognize them as one of the hottest artists of the year. And with a name like that, who wouldn’t?

Shopping For Jukebox MP3 Players

Just a few years ago, the term jukebox MP3 players were being used by a number of different companies to describe their units. Dell is one of the main ones that come to mind.

However, most of those initial jukebox MP3 players have gone the way of the dinosaurs and are mainly available through online auction sites by sellers who need the money to buy an iPod. However, the term itself today usually refers to a player with a large capacity hard drive. We’ll look at a few options and examine the discrepancies in what people view as “large” below.

Creative Zen Mozaic

If you really want jukebox MP3 players that are unique in appearance, this model from Creative Labs is definitely going to be a big winner. The highlight is the keyboard which literally looks like a mosaic hence the name.

Outer appearances are also important with this model which comes in black, silver, and pink, plus optional skins that can change up its appearance even more. Besides what it looks like, these jukebox MP3 players have plenty of features, including a 1.9 inch screen, ability to view lots of different types of media, an audio recorder, and even a built-in speaker so you can share your music with others.

The key to jukebox MP3 players is always their memory capacity, however. With the Creative Zen Mozaic, you can choose from 2GB up to 16GB which equals to storage space for 500 to 4,000 songs. Prices range from $60 to $150.

Microsoft Zune

Trying to beat Apple at the jukebox MP3 players game can be a real challenge as Microsoft has been finding out with their Zune. If there were no iPods, Microsoft would probably be winning the battle because the Zune has plenty of features to love.

One of the best is the wireless docking feature which is a real plus as anyone who has ever lost their iPod USB cables probably knows. The Zune, like many other players on the market, also allows you to listen to FM radio but with one difference. If you hear a song you love, you can mark it and access it later on your computer so you can buy it through Zune’s own music download service.

Of course, when we’re talking about jukebox MP3 players, we need to talk about capacity: the Zune comes in sizes from 4GB (1,000 songs) to 120 GB (about 30,000 songs).

Classic Apple iPod

With all of the other varieties of iPods on the market, it’s probably hard to remember the classic version of all the jukebox MP3 players, even though it still manages to be a hot seller. This model doesn’t play the radio and doesn’t have a built-in microphone but it does play video on an impressive 2.5 inch LCD screen.

You won’t find many color options either but you can find an 80GB and a 160 GB version on the market. These massive jukebox MP3 players can hold between 20,000 and 40,000 songs.