Lenny Bruce once said, the one machine made only for fun is the jukebox. It doesn’t cut anything, or mash anything, or staple anything together, it just plays music. When I was a kid we used to go over to visit my grandmother in Louisiana, and she operated a small pool hall in Catahoula, deep in the swamps. I was fascinated with the jukebox – how it found the record you selected, placed it just so on the turntable and guided that needle with precision right to the first notes of the music. When the record man came every once in a while to change out the 45 rpm platters, she gave the old ones to me and my brothers. My musical tastes for the rest of my life were influenced by that handful of records from a forgotten jukebox in swampland Louisiana.
If you see a jukebox nowadays, it’s usually a relic stuck away in some corner of a bar. It could play CDs or it could be one of those new digital models stocked with thousands of downloads (like my laptop). Or you might find one in the rec room or basement bar of some guy’s house that you’re only going to visit once. Jukeboxes seem to be disappearing, or at least morphing into something other than the machine that Lenny Bruce romanticized or the motherlode of forbidden music from my childhood. Let’s drop a coin in the slot and celebrate the jukebox today.
MP3: “Juke Box Music” by the Kinks
MP3: “Let The Jukebox Keep On Playing” by Carl Perkins
MP3: “A-1 On The Jukebox” by Dave Edmunds
MP3: “Turn The Jukebox Up Louder” by Porter Wagoner
MP3: “Jukebox Man” by Dick Curless
MP3: “You’re Still On My Mind” by the Byrds
MP3: “Stoned At The Jukebox” by Hank Williams Jr.
MP3: “A-11” by Buck Owens
MP3: “Jukebox Charlie” by Johnny Paycheck
MP3: “Little Queenie” by Chuck Berry
MP3: “I Love Rock and Roll” by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
MP3: “Juke Box Hero/Whole Lotta Love” (live) by Foreigner