In the digital age the idea of a coin-operated jukebox that plays records may just be considered a nostalgic relic of the past. But the jukebox was an important feature in classic diners. By the mid 1940s about 75% of the records produced in the United States went into jukeboxes. They received the newest music first and played without commercials. Many diners featured small table top extensions of the jukebox, allowing customers to browse the playlist and make their selections without leaving their seat. The term “jukebox” comes from the phrase “juke joint.” The word “juke” is believed to be derived from “joog” in the language spoken by the Gullah people of the low country region of the Carolinas and Georgia. It means rowdy or disorderly and a juke joint was a place for gambling, dancing and drinking. While the jukebox was strongly associated with rock and roll music, hence the connection to rowdiness, they were also popular with classical and swing music.

jukebox

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