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The History of the Jukebox

The Jukebox

The original mobile DJ

Just as our preferred format for music has changed from vinyl, to tape, to CD, to MP3, so too have the world’s jukeboxes. From bulky pieces of machinery with a few dozen popular songs to touch screen panels holding thousands of hours of music, the jukebox has come a long way over the past century. Nowadays they’re not so common, but they’re still found in a small number of pubs and café’s, especially around the UK’s seaside holiday destinations. Despite this, there will always be something nostalgic about the gentle crackle of an old Rock n’Roll or Motown record as it begins playing on a jukebox – something which we’ll never experience with an MP3 recording.

So, where did it all begin?

The jukebox as we know it today first hit the shelves in the 1920’s, with the arrival of technology to electronically record and play sound. The first jukeboxes played less than ten records, with numbers slowly increasing as jukeboxes became larger and more sophisticated. As we head into the 1930’s and see the arrival of the traditional American diner, the popularity of the jukebox spiked massively.


As technology improved, jukeboxes started to hold more and more songs.

New models were released with shiny chrome accessories and flashing coloured lights, to match the bright plastics, chromes and leathers of the new diners. Many American diners wanted their guests to be entertained, without having to shell out for a band or spend half the day repeatedly changing records. A jukebox was the perfect solution, and it would even collect some extra cash for the staff. And so by the 1940’s they could be found in almost every single diner.


The jukebox was never far from sight in 1950’s, and was made super cool by “The Fonz” (Henry Winkler) in the 1970’s American sitcom “Happy Days

 Televisions started to become popular in the 1950’s, but even so juke boxes remained a hit with the birth of rock n’ roll music in the swinging sixties. When we picture a classic jukebox, many of us will imagine a model like the Wurlitzer 1015, which was released around this time.


The Wurlitzer 1015, one of the most iconic jukeboxes in history.


Into the sixties, young people began to embrace their own individuality and rebel against the wishes of their parents and the government. A big part of their lifestyle was the music, which they usually had to listen to through- you guessed it – a juke box.

Today’s smartphones and portable music players like the iPod have seen jukeboxes fall in popularity over the past few decades, but they’re still a key feature of many diners, bars and other places for socialising.

I love the nostalgia of an old jukebox, and it takes me back to the campsite holidays of my youth. I’d visit the arcade and feel the excitement as I placed coins through the slot, waiting for my favourite songs to fill the room. I remember the feeling to this day, and I know how important it can be for others to hear their favourite songs while they’re at a party.

I have recently created an updated version of the jukebox on my website. This software is totally free, and plays music videos rather than 7inch singles. I think it’s a pretty exciting development, so why not try it out and let me know what you think?

If you want something extra special for your party or event, then you could also try my latest big screen projection service. A twin projector system can be used to play music videos, or any other footage which may be relevant to your birthday party, award ceremony, or school prom in Manchester or Cheshire.

By Anton Joe

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