TDTY Vol 2, No 16




Drop The Coin Right Into The Slot! The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner. 2019.

Jukeboxes have been a glorious staple of Americana for eons.  In the early 1900's, a music machine was invented that could automatically change records on command and a coin-operated record player called an Audiophone was perfected in 1928. 

A key result of the widespread use of jukebox machines is that recorded music became available in bars, honky-tonks and various other public places. 

As jukeboxes became part of everyday vernacular, Tin Pan Alley songwriters 

turned out songs that reflected the popularity of the new record machines.

 For example, in 1938, Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians recorded a ditty called 

DROP A NICKEL IN THE SLOT.  Then in 1941, Gene Krupa & His Orchestra recorded LET ME OFF UPTOWN 

in which vocalists Anita O'Day & Roy Eldridge shared a lyric that mentioned 'Rib joints, juke joints, hep joints' and a year later, Glenn Miller & His Orchestra with Marion Hutton, Tex Beneke & The Modernaires had everyone singing along to 


Of course, those were the days when jukeboxes housed shellac 78rpm records.

As historian and author Joel Whitburn points out, Billboard magazine ran Music Box Machine lists of popular records beginning in the late 30's and a 'Most Played In Juke Boxes' chart beginning in 1944. 


Jukeboxes continued to be particularly popular in the 50's and 60's as evidenced in some of the lyric extracts

 I've listed below and there are countless examples of hillbilly, country and rock 'n' roll songs referring to

 those magical music machines! 


The jukebox industry came up with interesting offshoots, one of which was

 a miniature song selection machinewhich sat on the tabletops of each booth in diners…

you put in a coin,

chose your song and it would be played on a 'master' jukebox housed elsewhere in the restaurant.

Over in England, listening to Chuck Berry and other songwriters, we learned about American juke joints

 where folks danced to jukebox songs. In the 1950's, jukeboxes turned up in seaside funfairs as well as in pubs,

 though they weren't always the rich multi-colored, light-changing neon Wurlitzer machines that became the

 epitome of the jukebox in its heyday.


The following is a random list of just a few of the memorable songs 

that allude to the influence of jukeboxes in what I loosely categorize as the classic rock era.


A1 ON THE JUKEBOX (Dave Edmunds/Will Burch) by Dave Edmunds (Swan Song: 1978)

A-11 (Hank Cochran) by Buck Owens/Pro: Jim Shaw (Capitol: 1988) US #54 Country in '89 

ALL AROUND THE WORLD (Robert Blackwell/McKinley Millet) by Little Richard & His Band (Specialty: 1956) US #13, R&B in '57 'You can hear those jukebox jumpin' '  

BAD BOY (Larry Williams) by Larry Williams (Specialty: 1958) 

He's off to the juke box, man’

BROTHER JUKEBOX (Paul Craft) by Don Everly/Pro: Wesley Rose (ABC/Hickory: 1977) US #96 Country 

and by Mark Chesnutt/Pro: Mark Wright (MCA: 1990) US #1 Country in '91 

 BUBBA SHOT THE JUKEBOX (Dennis Linde) by Mark Chesnutt

Pro: Mark Wright (MCA: 1992) US #4 Country



 DANCE TO THE BOP (Floyd Edge) by Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps/Pro: Ken Nelson (Capitol: 1957) US #8 R&B and #23 Pop in '58 

'Well there's a little juke joint on the outside of town'

DANCIN' PARTY (Kal Mann/Dave Appell) by Chubby Checker (Parkway: 1962) US #12 Pop, UK #19

 'Make a scene with the record machine'  

Song was successfully revived by British rocksters Showaddywaddy in 1977.

A DIME AT A TIME (Jerry Chesnut/Dottie Bruce) by Del Reeves (United Artists: 1967) US #12 Country

 'Two dollars in the jukebox, one dime at a time'


 DON’T ROCK THE JUKEBOX (Alan Jackson/Roger Murrah/Keith Stegall) by Alan Jackson/Pro: Scott Hendricks and Keith Stegall (Arista: 1991) US #1 Country

DROP IT JOE (Eddie Curtis) by Connie Francis (MGM: 1962) 'Drop a dime in the jukebox, Joe'  

EARLY IN THE MORNING (Eric Clapton) by 

Eric Clapton/Pro: Glyn Johns (RSO: 1978)

 'I pass by the juke joint'


(James Taylor) by Linda Ronstadt

Pro: Peter Asher (Asylum: 1975)

HIGH SCHOOL U.S.A. (Joseph Royster/Frank Guida) by Tommy Facenda (Atlantic: 1959) US #28 Pop 

 'I dropped a nickel in the old juke box'


(Johnny Horton/Howard Hausey/Tillman Franks) 

by Johnny Horton

Pro: Don Law (Columbia: 1956) US #9 Country

 'I love to give the girls a whirl to the music of an old jukebox'

and by Bob Luman

Pro: Glenn Sutton (Epic: 1970) US #22 Country

and by Dwight Yoakam

Pro: Pete Anderson (Reprise: 1986) US #3 Country

I LOVE ROCK 'N' ROLL (Jake Hooker/Alan Merrill) by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

Pro: Ritchie Cordell & Kenny Laguna (Boardwalk: 1982) 

US #1 Pop, UK #4

  'So put another dime in the jukebox, baby' 

(Song originally recorded with producer 

Mickie Most in '75 by The Arrows of which

Jake Hooker and Alan Merrill were members).


 IF I DIDN’T HAVE A DIME (To Play The Jukebox) (Bert Berns/Phil Medley) by Gene Pitney/A Schroeder/Gold Production (Musicor: 1962) US #58 Pop

IF THE JUKEBOX TOOK TEARDROPS (Michael 'Dee' Graham/Don Goodman/Nelson Larkin) by Billy Joe Royal

Pro: Nelson Larkin (Atlantic: 1990)

IT’S JUST THAT SONG (Raymon Maupin) by Charlie Feathers (Vetco: 1976)

Someone dropped a coin in the jukebox’

JUKE BOX (Jack Reno) by Jack Reno/Pro: Buddy Killen (Jab: 1974) US #70 Country

JUKE BOX ANNIE (Edward Lisbona/Sidney Prosen) by Kitty Kallen (Mercury: 1950) US #17 Pop

JUKE BOX BLUES (Maybelle Carter/Helen Carter) by June Carter (Columbia: 1953) 

Song was performed by Reese Witherspoon in the Johnny Cash biopic "Walk The Line" (20th Century Fox: 2005). 

JUKE BOX FURY (Rickie Lee Jones) by Rickie Lee Jones

Pro: Rickie Lee Jones & James Newton Howard (Warner Bros: 1984)

JUKE BOX GYPSY (Alan Hull) by Lindisfarne/Pro: Gus Dudgeon (Mercury: 1978) UK #56


JUKE BOX HERO (Lou Gramm/Mick Jones) by Foreigner

Pro: Robert John 'Mutt' Lange & Mick Jones (Atlantic: 1981) US #26 Pop in '82.

JUKE BOX JIVE (Wayne Bickerton/Tony Waddington) by The Rubettes

A Wayne Bickerton Production. (Polydor: 1974) UK #3

JUKE BOX MUSIC (Ray Davies) by The Kinks

Pro: Ray Davies (Arista: 1977)

JUKE BOX MAN (Hank Mills) by Dick Curless/Pro: George Richey (Capitol: 1971) US #41 Country


JUKEBOX BABY (Noel Sherman/Joe Sherman) by Perry Como (RCA: 1956) US #10 Pop, UK #22.

JUKEBOX CHARLIE (Johnny Paycheck/Aubrey Mayhew) by Johnny Paycheck (Little Darlin': 1967) US #15 Country



 (Dave Gibson/Ronnie Rogers)

 by Alabama

Pro: Josh Leo, Larry Michael Lee and Alabama 

(RCA: 1990) US #1 Country 

The track opens with a jukebox sound effect.

JUKEBOX JUNKIE (Jerry Cupit/Janice Honeycutt/Ken Mellons) by Ken Mellons/Pro: Jerry Cupit 

(Epic: 1994) US #87 Country 


(Dan Mitchell) by Jack Greene

Pro: Earl E. Owens (EMH: 1983)

THE JUKEBOX PLAYED ALONG (Ken Bell/Charles Quillen) by Gene Watson

Pro: Paul Worley, Ed Seay and Gregg Brown

 (Warner Bros: 1989) US #24 Country.


A JUKEBOX WITH A COUNTRY SONG (Gene Nelson/Ronnie Samoset) by Doug Stone/Pro: Doug Johnson (Epic: 1991) US #1 Country in '92.

JUKE JOINT BLUES (Joe Turner) by Big Joe Turner

Pro: Norman Granz (Pablo: 1976)  

A 7-minute track recorded in '75 with Joe Turner supported by Milt Jackson, Roy Eldridge and Pee Wee Crayton.



 by Carl Perkins (Sun: 1955)

LET THE SAD TIMES ROLL ON (Buck Owens/Red Simpson) by Buck Owens

Pro: Ken Nelson (Capitol: 1965)

 'Put a quarter in the jukebox

LITTLE OLE WINE DRINKER, ME (Hank Mills/Dick Jennings) by Dean Martin

Pro: Jimmy Bowen (Reprise: 1967) US #5 AC, #38 Pop

 'I matched the man behind the bar for the jukebox'

LYIN' JUKEBOX (Bobby Barker/Randy Archer) by Hank Williams Jr./Pro: Barry Beckett, Hank Williams Jr. and James Stroud (Capricorn: 1992)

(Put Another Nickel In) MUSIC! MUSIC! MUSIC! (Stephan Weiss/Bernie Baum) by Teresa Brewer with The Dixieland All Stars (Coral: 1950) US #1 Pop, UK #1 (Instead of using the word jukebox, the lyric runs:

 'Put another nickel in, in the nickelodeon')

Buck Owens

 PUT A QUARTER IN THE JUKEBOX (Buck Owens) by Buck Owens/Pro: Jim Shaw (Capitol: 1988) US #60 Country in '89

QUEEN OF HONKY TONK STREET (Jim Anglin) by Kitty Wells (Decca: 1967) US #28 Country 

'The lights are low and the jukebox is loud'

ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN (Berry) by Chuck Berry (Chess: 1956) US #2 R&B, #29 Pop in '56 

'The jukebox blows a fuse' 

(Song was a huge success in the UK in '73 by the Electric Light Orchestra).

SCHOOL DAY (Chuck Berry) by Chuck Berry (Chess: 1957) US #1 R&B, #3 Pop, UK  #24 

'Drop the coin right into the slot' 

There's another jukebox reference in Chuck's song LITTLE QUEENIE in which he sings about a girl

 'Standing over by the record machine'.

 Song also charted in the UK in ’57 for local act Don Lang & His Frantic Five.

STONED AT THE JUKEBOX (Hank Williams Jr.) by Hank Williams Jr. (MGM: 1975) US #19 Country 


SWINGING DOORS (Merle Haggard) by Merle Haggard & The Strangers (Capitol: 1966) US #5 Country 

 'I've got swinging doors, a jukebox and a bar stool' 

(Later charted versions of this song were by Del Reeves in '81 and by Buck Hall in '89).

TRUCK DRIVIN’ MAN (Terry Fell) by Jim & Jesse

Pro: Billy Sherrill (Epic: 1967) 'I put a nickel in the jukebox'

and by George Hamilton IV/Pro: Bob Ferguson (RCA: 1965) US #11 Country

and by Red Steagall/Pro: Glenn Sutton (ABC Dot: 1976) US #22 Country


by Jimmy Work (Dot: 1955) US #6 Country

and by Moe Bandy

Pro: Ray Baker (Columbia: 1978) US #11 Country 


THERE AIN'T NO COUNTRY MUSIC ON THIS JUKEBOX (Tom T. Hall) by Tom T. Hall & Earl Scruggs

Pro: Randy Scruggs and John Thompson (Columbia: 1982) US #77 Country

TWO DOLLARS IN THE JUKEBOX (Eddie Rabbitt) by Eddie Rabbitt

Pro: David Malloy (Elektra: 1976) US#3 Country in ’77



RIcky Nelson

 WAITIN' IN SCHOOL (Johnny Burnette/Dorsey Burnette) by Ricky Nelson (Imperial: 1958) US #18 Pop, #12 R&B 

 'Throw a nickel in the jukebox, then we start to rock'

THE WURLITZER PRIZE (I Don't Want To Get Over You) (Bobby Emmons/Chips Moman) by Waylon Jennings

Pro: Chips Moman (RCA: 1977) US #1 Country  

'They ought to give me the Wurlitzer prize/For all the silver I led slide down the slot'

YESTERDAY AND YOU (Armen's Theme) (Ross Bagdasarian) by Bobby Vee

Pro: Snuff Garrett (Liberty: 1963) US #55 Pop 

 "When you hear a jukebox playin' 

(YESTERDAY AND YOU was a vocal version of ARMEN'S THEME which Ross Bagdasarian aka David Seville

 had recorded in '56 as a tribute to his wife Armen Kulhanjian; the instrumental original ARMEN'S THEME 

on the Liberty label was credited to 'The Music Of David Seville' and charted at #42 in 1957).

In addition to the above records,

 Texas-born country singer Mitchell Torok created a break-in novelty single called THE TALKING JUKEBOX; 

it was released on Republican in 1974.

Rock on.

Alan Warner

"If you enjoyed this week's edition of The Door To Yesterday, 

there's more where that came from!"

~Vol 2, No 15~