For me the word Jukebox is evocative of the 1950s and 1960s and pure simple entertainment. Not that I remember the 1950s, or some of the 60s but growing up watching the Fonz being cool on Happy Days with an old fashioned full sized flashy chrome Seeburg in the background made a big impression on me.
That was the days of vinyl records and I still have most of the singles and albums that I bought back then. There used to be a market stall that sold cheap vinyl singles when I was in my early teens. I didn’t know until I got home with half a dozen records that they were ex jukebox and had the centre missing. I was really disappointed until my older brother took a loose centre out of one of his singles and I was able to play my treasures on our record player. They were probably scratched and sounded poor but I didn’t care.
Full size Wurlitzers, Seeburgs and Rockolas were still around when I was in my early teens. My girlfriends and I would all meet up and go downstairs into what was called the Alessio coffee bar on an evening. It didn’t seem normal back then to see a jukebox without a pinball machine nearby, now they are becoming extinct too.
We would either be gathered around the pinball machine taking it in turns to play or sitting at one side of the darkened room and the young lads at the other. We would club together for enough money to put our favourite records on the bright colourful jukebox and whoever was flirting with one of the lads at the time volunteered or would be chosen to make the selections. Of course you always tried to time being at the jukebox when the lad you fancied was there too. There you would flirtingly discuss your selections and hope that he would suggest sitting at a table together at the back of the room.
When we were old enough to go into pubs (they weren’t called wine bars back then!) we would meet at the jukebox and congregate around it with drinks in one hand, handbags in the other and dance when something good came on. It was a brave guy who ventured to make a selection, but that usually meant that he fancied one of us girls.
It was a sad day when these colourful bright music machines were replaced in cafes and bars by wall mounted CD players. They just don’t seem to be as much fun and nowadays people seem to gather around fruit machines and are more interested in losing or winning their money depending upon how you look at it.
I went to a house party a few months back and was amazed to see a full size retro jukebox in the conservatory which had been turned into a games room with pool table and dartboard. It played CDs not vinyl records, but what the heck it still brought back good memories. I pondered buying myself one but my house is too small. Then I saw some table top jukeboxes when I was shopping online and guess what?
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