Tuesday, 31 March 2015

My Top Ten Jukebox Songs

Ten songs celebrating the best way to get rid of your loose change on a Saturday night.

Special mention to Jukebox The Ghost... and Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox (check out their cover of All About That Bass... so much nicer than the original.)

10. Glenn Miller - Jukebox Saturday Night

Knocks The Rubettes - Jukebox Jive out of the Top Ten, largely because of the trumpet of Harry James... and the fact that my dad is a huge Glenn Miller fan.

9. Young Marble Giants - Wurlitzer Jukebox

Taken from their only album, 1980's off-kilter classic Colossal Youth; this sounds like nothing else around... then or now.

8. Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers - If I Can’t Trust You With A Quarter (How Can I Trust You With My Heart?)

There were plenty of country songs to choose from this week, but this one wins because it has the best title... and also kind of retells the story of our Number One song, with a less successful outcome.

You can call me stubborn
You can call me a snob
You can even call me downright mean...
But I’ve got the finest record collection
That you’ve ever seen

If you prefer your country a little more old style yee-haw, can I point you towards the splendidly monikered Dick Curless and his dynamic duo: Jukebox Man and Drop Some Silver In The Jukebox.

7. Saint Etienne - Haunted Jukebox

Bob Stanley's evocative lyrics + Sarah Cracknell's breathy vocals = pure bliss.

I was just 15
In November '82
When I would meet you after school
And there was bonfires on Halloween
Frosty little windows
All the songs we used to listen to each time...

6. The Beautiful South - Hidden Jukebox

Paul Heaton's doing pretty well around these parts lately, hardly a week goes by that he doesn't crop up in one form or another. Here he is railing against both bigots and the establishment (and the bigoted establishment) and proposing some interesting trade agreements via his hidden jukebox...

5. Rage Against The Machine - Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox

I don't claim to be the world's biggest RATM fan, but here they nick an old Allen Ginsberg poem and do amazing things with it. If you're gonna call yourself Rage Against The Machine, you need to live up to that name!

4. Foreigner - Jukebox Hero

Could be the best thing Somerset's Mick Jones and New York's Lou Gramm ever did together. Though they're far more well known for wanting to know what love is, this one rocks the jukebox just like it should. Used to great effect in the musical / movie Rock of Ages too...

3. Trembling Blue Stars - Abba on the Jukebox

One for John Peel fans, evoking memories of a holiday romance through snapshot lyrics. The least rock 'n' roll record on this list, but it works beautifully.

A lighthouse sending its light
Out across Thurso bay at night
To Blakeney Point and back again
Walking in the ruins
Of Binham Priory
Abba on the jukebox at Par Sands
A two way trip on the Bodinnick ferry

2. The Jam - Pretty Green

I picked up a pristine copy of Sound Affects (the album this comes from) for just £1 from the local charity shop a couple of weeks back. Bargain - even though I already owned most of the songs on various compilations. Weller's "pretty green" is outdated now as pound notes are no longer in existence... but even when they were, he wouldn't have been able to put them in his jukebox and play all the records in the hit parade, since jukeboxes only take coins. Or am I taking that a bit too literally?

1. Joan Jett - I Love Rock 'n' Roll

If you don't believe this should be Number One, I suggest you watch the video and then reassess your rear ass from your elbow. Not only does red-leather clad Joan know she's met her teenage heartthrob (cradle snatcher!) just because of the song he picks, she also manages to reference that other popular term for a jukebox - a "record machine". Hell, it rhymes with more things that jukebox, which is why Chuck Berry, Van Halen and even Glenn Miller shoehorned it into to their lyrics too. Maybe I'll do a Top Ten Record Machine Songs some other time so I can play Joan again.

The video manages to be both terrifically wild and incredibly tame (by today's standards), and to paraphrase Kris Kristofferson... if you don't love Joan Jett, then you can kiss my arse...

Which one would you spend your last pound coin to hear again?


  1. Love the Trembling Blue Stars, but I feel there is one obvious omission.


    1. Damn it, you're right. Although that particular jukebox has been unplugged...

  2. Jukeboxes just make me think of the opening credits of Happy Days.

    1. Me too, now you come to mention it.

      Ah, I remember Happy Days...

  3. Oh. My. Word. Scrolled down, missing the bottom of the chart assuming number one would be The Rubettes. Damned confused...can't see how Glenn Miller can knock them out...

    1. Oh yes...should say I couldn't get Beautiful South to play...may be because I'm reading your top 10 in France...

    2. You're so cosmopolitan. But yes, it must be a French thing because it plays fine here.

      As to the Rubettes - sorry to disappoint. I thought I'd find room for them, but when I listened to it again it didn't really hold up like some of their other songs. And while it might be more likely to remind our generation of our childhood than Glenn Miller... having older parents, Glenn had to win.

  4. Soon as I saw jukeboxes as the subject in your RSS feed, I was hoping to see Pretty Green placing high in the ten. I'd have it at one, though that's prejudice on my part, as you can't really argue with your #1.

    1. I thought of you as soon as I thought about Pretty Green... dunno if you've written about it before, but I knew it was one of yours!


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