Jukebox Memories

Jukeboxes in their natural habitat - 1940's photos

Jukebox Info & Links          Songs About Juke Boxes

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"Let that juke box keep on playing; 
let the record go around..."

--Carl Perkins

Patrick James never knew how much he influenced my musical tastes. He was a year ahead of me in high school and we hardly knew each other. But nearly every day in the summer of 1956 he came into the little cafe where I worked and played "Slippin' and Slidin'" by Little Richard, "Corrine Corrina" by Big Joe Turner, and "Heartbreak Hotel," "I Was the One," "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel" by Elvis.

Raised on a combination of 40's and 50's hit parade songs and country music, it took a while before my ears could accept and enjoy the raw power of Little Richard. Elvis and the others came a little easier. But back there in the Dairy Dell, right on the main road to Yosemite, there was no escaping the big hits of the day. Now they form part of my favorite memories and my favorite songs to listen to again.

The Dairy Dell's juke box played 45's, but even before that my first juke box memories are of an old 78 RPM machine in the school cafeteria that was cranked up for dances. I'd love to have either of those machines in my living room right now!

Later, while I was going to college, I worked at Mars Drive-In in Fresno. In those days a nickel made the record go and a quarter got you six songs. Loren the cook and I would make up obscene variations on the lyrics and sing along. I remember when one of our big favorites was Paul Anka's "Lonely Boy," and blowing the whole quarter on hearing it six times in a row. We didn't have many customers at the inside counter, so no one complained.

Juke boxes have changed and so has the music, and now we have CD and Internet juke boxes. I haven't spent a dime on playing a juke box in years. But if I find one with Chuck Willis' "C.C. Rider" on it I might be tempted!

 

Songs about Juke Boxes

Just as there are lots of songs about being a singer or song writer, there are a lot of songs about juke boxes. There are even more songs that mention juke boxes. I've defined three categories:

Songs about juke boxes

Songs with a significant reference to juke boxes

Songs with a passing reference to juke boxes

A gentleman in Denmark has compiled a much longer list, most of which have "jukebox" in the title. I highly recommend his site, which also has a long list of other jukebox links.

I guess the granddaddy of the juke box songs is "Juke Box Saturday Night," which was a Glenn Miller standard, written by Paul McGrane and Albert Stillman. Every year or two I add a few more to the list below.

 

A-1 On the Juke Box (and Nowhere In Your Heart) - Dave Edmunds

A-11 - Buck Owens ("Please don't play A-11...")

Boppin' the Blues - Carl Perkins ("Doctor told me ‘Carl, you don't need no pills; handful of nickels, juke box'll cure your ills’")

Brother Juke Box - Mark Chesnutt

Bubba Shot the Juke Box - Mark Chesnutt

Bury Me in a Jukebox - Vern Gosdin

Chug-a-Lug - Roger Miller ("Juke box and a sawdust floor, sumpin’ like I ain’t never seen...")

Don't Play That Song (on the Jukebox Tonight) - Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper

Don't Rock the Juke Box - Alan Jackson ("Don't rock the juke box; gotta hear some Jones...")

Don’t Stop the Music - George Jones ("Don’t stop the music, let it play one more song, the same one that’s played tonight for so long...my pockets are empty, I spent my last dime, but I just gotta hear that song one more time...")

Down and Out - George Strait ("...that juke box cries the blues; like it knows what I'm about...")

Fool Hearted Memory - George Strait: ("...Nickels and dimes, memories and wine...He fills the juke box and plays the same old song...")

The Great Compromise - John Prine ("She lived in an aluminum house trailer, and she worked in a juke box saloon; and she spent all the money that I give her just to see the old man in the moon.")

He'll Have to Go - Jim Reeves ("...I'll tell the man to turn the juke box way down low...")

Hello Daddy, Good Morning Darling (?) - unknown artist ("...we all sit beside the juke box, watch our neon sun go down...")

Hello Honkey Tonk - Mark Chesnutt ("Hello honkey tonk, long time no see; never knew that old juke box would ever sound so sweet. How I missed your neon lights; they sure are a welcome site...")


Hillbilly Fever - as sung by Leroy Troy on the Marty Stuart Show 3/27/10 ("You walk up to the jukebox and you slip a nickel in; you can bet your bottom dollar when that record starts to spin, you'll have a fiddle and a guitar with that honky tonkin' sound, that hillbilly fever and it's spreadin' all around.")

Honky Tonk Crowd - Marty Stuart ("...let the juke box play, let's dance all night...")

Honky Tonk Man - Johnny Horton ("I'm a honky tonk man, and I can't seem to stop; I love to give the girls a whirl to the music of an old juke box..."

Honky Tonk Saturday Night - George Strait ("I played the juke box, I played some Merle Haggard; me and the waitress think he's out of sight. Some folks got thirsty while we were dancin’...")

Honky Tonkin' Fool - by Aaron Barker (sung by Doug Supernaw) ("...when I die, roll away my tombstone and put this juke box in it's place, and make damn sure Your Cheatin' Heart is the only song it plays...")

If the Juke Box Took Tear Drops - Mike Henderson ("If the juke box took teardrops, and whiskey was free...wouldn't it be a wonderful world for somebody just like me...")

I Hope Heaven Has a Honky Tonk - Tracy Lawrence ("I hope heaven has a honky tonk with a five-piece band…I hope Hank’s on the jukebox…”)

In the Corner, at the Table, by the Jukebox - James Hand ("In the corner, at the table, by the jukebox, my favorite moaners and I talk about these hard knocks. Our lives are measured there by the bar clock, in the corner, at the table, by the jukebox...")

Juke Box Baby - Perry Como

Juke Box in My Mind - Alabama

Juke Box Saturday Night - Glenn Miller

Juke Box With a Country Song - Doug Stone

Juke Box Junkie - Ken Mellons; heard on a hard country station May 2000 ("I'm just an old juke box junkie, spendin' my time, spendin' my money, feedin' my habit with hard core country..."

Jumpin' at the Juke Box - Wingy Manone's Mardi Gras Band with Carol Adams ("Put your hoppin' shoes on, shine 'em bright...they're jumpin' to the juke box down at Joe's")

Jump Right Out of the Juke Box - Onie Wheeler (Sun ca 1959)

Lefty's Gone - George Strait ("A jukebox introduced us when the sixties were still young, 'If You Got the Money Honey' got my nickels one by one...I tried to imitate that song, it's not right but Lefty's gone.....")

Let That Juke Box Keep on Playing - Carl Perkins

Let's Fall to Pieces Together - George Strait ("...pardon me, you left your tears on the juke box; and I'm afraid they got mixed up with mine...")

Lyin' Juke Box - Hank Williams Jr.

Me and the Juke Box - Buzz Busby ("Just me and the juke box to pass the time of day, just me and the juke box to know the price I pay; a glass of wine to easy my mind since we've been apart; just me and the juke box to know my broken heart..."

Numbers on the Juke Box - Mark Chesnutt ("She's just numbers on the jukebox that I lean on; there's a little bit of her in every hurtin' song...")

One Dime at a Time - Steep Canyon Rangers ("Two dollars in the juke box, one dime at a time; play the same old songs about love gone wrong...") (written by Del Reeves)

Please Mr. Please - Olivia Newton-John ("In the corner of the bar there stands a jukebox, With the best of country music, old and new. You can hear your five selections for a quarter...Please, Mr., please, don't play B-17; It was our song, it was his song, but it's over...")

Put Another Quarter in the Juke Box - Buck Owens

Prop Me Up (Beside the Juke Box if I Die) - Joe Diffie

Rock House - Roy Orbison ("Blue lights, big crowd, juke box, plays loud...")

School Days - Chuck Berry ("Drop the coin right into the slot; you gotta hear something that's really hot")

Set 'em Up Joe - Vern Gosdin ("They got a vintage Victrola 1951...Hank and Lefty and there's B-24...every night I run the needle through B-24...")

Song on the Juke Box - Karl Shiflett ("Here I sit in this smoky barroom, feelin' sad, and shedding tears...the juke  box moaning in the corner...")

Stoned at the Juke Box - Hank Williams Jr

Swinging Doors - Merle Haggard ("...I’ve got swinging doors, a juke box and a bar stool...")

That's What Makes the Jukebox Play - Moe Bandy (written by Jimmy Work)

There'll Always Be a Honky Tonk Somewhere - Randy Travis ("There'll always be a honky tonk, with a juke box in the corner...")

There's a Song on the Juke Box - David Wills ("...here's a 20; and bring my change in dimes. There's a song on the juke box I wanna hear a thousand times")

This Body Is a Honky Tonk - Chris Stuart ("The dance floor is empty now, and the jukebox plays no song...this body is a honky tonk, and it's time to go home") (8/06)

Waitin' in School - Ricky Nelson ("Headin' down to the drug store to get a soda pop; throw a nickel in the juke box, then we start to rock")

Western Girls - Marty Stuart ("Juke box, dance floor; angel in a cowboy hat...")

Where the Smoke Goes Up (And the Money Goes Down) - Karl Shiflett and Big Country Show ("that juke box moans that honky tonk sound...) (9/04)

World's Last Truck Drivin' Man - Bobby Bare ("He put his last dime in the world's last jukebox for the lady he'd loved for so long; and there in that deserted truck stop they danced to the world's last truck drivin' song.") (12/08)

You're Gonna Bring Back Cheatin' Songs - by Tom Shapiro & Chris Waters (sung by Doug Supernaw) "You're gonna bring back cheatin' songs, the kind they used to play in honkey tonks; you make want to turn the juke box on, and hear Hank sing about a love gone wrong."

Welcome to the Club - Dark Hollow ("...you can sit around with a glass of wine...there's an old juke box, you can pass the time.")

My Friend the Juke Box - Mel Street ("Every night I come to see this friend of mine...my friend the jukebox plays and keeps me company...I wish that I could take my friend the jukebox home with me.")

Unplug the Jukebox - Billy Walker (“Unplug the jukebox, I don’t need it any more, no more lonely nights out. walking the floor…”)

I Heard the Jukebox Playing - Kitty Wells ("…you’re sliippin’ around on me, you thought that you were being wise when you called me on the phone and you said that you had been delayed but you’d soon be coming home. I knew that you’d been cheating ‘cause you stayed away so long, and I heard the jukebox playing when you called me on the phone.")

Queen of Honky Tonk Street - Kitty Wells ("The lights are low and the jukebox is loud as we make the rounds among the wild unruly crowd")

Jump Right Out of this Juke Box - Onie Wheeler ("Darling believe in what I say and your heart won't be so blue; I'll jump right out of this juke box and get an arm full of you.")

Rock-Ola Ruby - Sonnee West ("When Ruby plays the juke box at the record hop, that's the cue for all the cats to do the crazy bop.")


There are many more. I've been humming a familiar song that mentions juke boxes without realizing it belongs on this list. Now I can't remember what it is! Maybe it's one of your favorites. I heard a Roy Acuff song on the TV show "Country Music Century," but did not get the name.

Additions:

In case you're worried about running out of juke box songs, since I started writing this some time in 1992, I've added a dozen or more songs.

In September 1995 I added one old (1959) song I'd never heard of before. There have probably been some I’ve missed in the last few years.

In July 2000 I added "He'll Have to Go." I've been familiar with that song for 40 years or so, but it failed to click until just now.

Two added in 2003 are both on the Mark Chesnutt CD, Thank God for Believers.

August 2003 - Thanks to Azwestyman for reminding me that I'd missed Alan Jackson's "Don't Rock the Juke Box" (and I've owned the CD since it was issued!).

January 2004, the Tracy Lawrence number was added.

August 2004, the Doug Supernaw "cheating" song was added. 

March 2005, George Strait "Lefty's Gone" added, thanks to Lisa D.

January 2006, Moe Bandy's "That's What Makes the Jukebox Play"

May 2006, James Hand's "In the Corner, at the Table, by the Jukebox"

June 2006, Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper's "Don't Play That Song (on the Jukebox Tonight)"

August 2006, Chris Stuart's "This Body Is a Honky Tonk" and "One Dime at a Time" by the Steep Canyon Rangers

October 2006, Olivia Newton-John's "Please Mr. Please" (Thanks to John Z. for sending this one)

December 2008, Bobby Bare's "The World's Last Truck Drivin' Man"

January 2009, "Jumpin' to the Juke Box" (from the short film Juke Box Joe's) (watch and listen to it here).

February 2010, John Prine's "The Great Compromise"

April 2010, "Hillbilly Fever"

August 2010, "Honky Tonk Man"

December 2010, "Me and the Juke Box"

January 2013, "Song on the Jukebox"

August 2013, "Welcome to the Club"

December 2014 "My Friend the Jukebox" and "Unplug the Jukebox"

February 2015 “I Heard the Jukebox Playing” and “Queen of Honky Tonk Street

March 2015 "Jump Right Out of this Juke Box"

August 2016 "Rock-Ola Ruby"

--Dick Estel

 

 

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Updated August 22, 2016