The term Jukebox is today used to describe anything from radio shows where the listeners select the songs, to sophisticated machines, often using broadband technology to access a vast range of songs in bars.
However much the machines and technology have evolved, there is still a rich history behind the Jukebox name/brand, which is often called upon to feature in everything from retro music videos to Hollywood movies. With nostalgia for the classic jukeboxes still going strong, there are also many opportunities for fans to indulge their passion through museums and memorabilia.
Although Wurlitzer , the worlds most legendary Jukebox manufacturer made their last model in 1973, the brand has since been taken over by Gibson, who produce replicas of classic Wurlitzer models. They also run a comprehensive online museum. Visitors can explore adverts from Wurlitzer’s heyday, a comprehensive gallery of all their famous models, and a chart of all time Wurlitzer jukebox hits.
Along with these classic advertisements, other collector’s items include coasters and button badges with the 1950’s slogan ‘Gee Dad it’s a Wurlitzer’. The United States also released a postage stamp celebrating 50 years of model 1015, one of Wurlitzer’s most popular models.
However, the Jukebox story doesn’t solely belong to Wurlitzer. Museums such as those in Belgium and the Netherlands also exhibit makes such as Rock-Ola, Seeburg, AMI, and lesser known brands like Barco and Tonomat.
Internet searches also reveal a large number of dealers who sell and/or restore classic jukebox machine. These range from the Wurlitzer ‘One More Time’ model, the only 7inch vinyl machine on the market, to models moving with the times and supporting mp3 connections.
Apart from Museums and dealers, one of the best places to see Jukeboxes is at a Jukebox show, and there are several held across the world. Chicagoland in the U.S.A is one of the biggest, attracting visitors and dealers from across the world. It exhibits not only collectable jukeboxes but also slot machines, coke machines, arcade games. There is also a large Jukebox show held annually at Rosemalen in The Netherlands.
Jukeboxes are most representative of the 1940’s/1950’s, and these eras are celebrated in style with a Jukebox show held at Brighton Racecourse, and Jukebox Madness at Kempton Park in Surrey. Jukebox Madness has been running since 1987, and every year offers visitors a host of Jukeboxes, retro clothing, records, live bands, and a rock and roll quiz. The Jukebox show in Brighton has also added Neon Signs, Diner Furniture, and Classic American cars to its exhibits.
Internet shoppers are not forgotten, with famous fashion site ASOS (As Seen On Screen) offering a colourful Jukebox T-Shirt for sale this season. Many items of memorabilia follow their trend featuring the more colourful streamlined Jukebox designs.
To buy a jukebox today could cost anywhere between £6,000 and £10,000, if not more, but as their popularity continues, so do the many opportunities to indulge in some Jukebox nostalgia.