Put another dime in the jukebox

Teenagers in a coffee bar with juke box in 1950s
Teenagers in a coffee bar with juke box in 1950s
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John Murray on the enduring appeal of the jukebox & its music

Hit Jukebox records were special singles and helped keep big songs around for months.

Created (or cut) with a big centre, these 45s all had a deep groove to force a dynamic range of bass through a confined speaker designed to fill a room and usually a cafe.

Jukebox singles were usually no more than three minutes long so that you would play more and what dominated American soda bars in the 1950s came to be found all over the UK.

In 1960 a single play was 3d (under 2p) or three plays for 6d.

Several Kirkcaldy cafes had these and even Valente’s chip shop in Overton Road had an original BAL-AMi to entertain the nightly queues.

This week a glance at the album charts will show a best seller compiling all that was great about these singles.

The Broons Jukebox Favourites (Glebe St.), was released primarily in time for Father’s Day this week but demand has overcome sales as the album rose 57 chart places.

So what favourites would be on the family jukebox? Well instrumentals were always popular like Telstar, Apache, Side Saddle, Wonderful Land and Stranger On The Shore and US artists who became movie stars were well heard like Tab Hunter, Elvis Presley, Dean Martin and Debbie Reynolds.

Many are forgotten songs like Rubber Ball and Yaketty Yak and others comic ditties like My Old Man’s A Dustman or Hoots Mon from Lord Rockingham’s XI.

Dance crazes of the day like The Loco-Motion or Let’s Twist Again are miles away from the crooners hits like Roses Are Red (Ronnie Carroll) or Portrait Of My Love (Matt Monro) yet teen idols from the 50s like Johnny Ray, Tommy Steele, Frankie Lane and Frankie Vaughn fit nicely with their 60s counterparts like Cliff Richard, Marty Wilde, Adam Faith and Billy Fury along with the one hit wonders like Jerry Keller (Here Comes Summer), Mike Sarne (Come Outside) or Danny Williams with his chart topping Moon River.