Jukebox | Revista independiente de música

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How important were they?

The winning power of World War II prepared an impressive image campaign aimed at selling the product of the American lifestyle. To do so, it relied on a solid industry, the movies and popular music.

In the 1940s, jukeboxes were the iconographic representation of the United States, spreading a genuine and profound image. They were also instrumental in the expansion of rock and roll.

Webb Pierce - Teenage Boogie (1957)

Song composed by Pierce himself, who was known for the extravagance of his costumes. It is one of the hits heard in the golden age of American jukeboxes.      

Jukebox means 'box of distraction' and is a derivation of the term jook which in black slang means 'dance'. It is also known as jukebox, vitro, jukebox, symphony or jukebox, the surname of one of the manufacturers (David Cullen Rockola). In the United States they were commonly called Wurlitzer, the name of the most widespread brand. Widely used in public places, they spread the music and brought it closer to young people. Already in the sixties appeared the scopitone, French invention that showed films of the songs.

When was the recorded sound born?

Although there is documented experience, we have to go back to November 29, 1877, when Thomas Edison introduced the phonograph. It was the first device capable of recording sounds that could later be reproduced.

Designed for office dictation tasks, it used cylinders made of different materials: first cardboard and tin, then waxed cardboard, solid wax (1889, recyclable) and finally celluloid (1906, hard plastic, very resistant but not recyclable).

Eder Symphony Orchestra - Fragment of Hungarian Dances (1994)

Music composed by the German romantic Johannes Brahms and where he approaches the gypsy music. It was performed on the first commercial recording of music.


The first known sound recording was made with the phonograph of Frenchman Leon Scott. Made on April 9, 1860, it is a ten-second recording of someone performing the popular song Au clair de la lune. Later, on December 2, 1889, Theo Wangeman, representing Thomas Edison, recorded Johannes Brahms playing a fragment of his Hungarian Dances on the piano in Vienna. The cylinder, which is still preserved today, has a very poor sound quality, due to its degradation, and can hardly be distinguished.

Were there more inventions?

At the same time, in 1887, the gramophone of the German Emile Berliner appeared. He used records, first made of shellac and then Bakelite, which were reproduced by the great singers of the time. He competed in the market with the phonograph.

In 1889, at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco, he introduced the nickel in the slot player or phonograph that works when a coin is inserted. It is a success and the invention is marketed on a large scale.

Carlos Gardel - I Take and I Bind (1931)

Tango composed by Gardel himself and lyrics by Manuel Romero. She was one of the great voices included in the first flat albums for gramophone.

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With the appearance of the cinematographers and phonographs, film and music were monopolized by Edison on the East Coast. Running away from this, filmmakers had migrated to the West Coast, settling in Hollywood, just outside Los Angeles. It was there, in California, that The Pacific Phonograph Company, founded by former telegraphist Louis T. Glass, was established. The first version was a wooden box containing an Edison phonograph and was heard through rustic headphones.