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Juke Joint Jumpin’

Once a staple of 50s culture, these days jukeboxes are the domain of retro-lovers and collectors. Brighton Jukebox & Retro Fair reveals a scene thriving on dime machines that often cost thousands…


The UK’s leading retail fair for jukeboxes has a programme stacked with vintage treats for the eyes and ears

In the bright sunshine,

the entrance to Brighton’s racetrack is packed with gleaming vehicles from a bygone American era. There are Chevys and Cadillacs, muscle cars and pickup trucks. There’s even a police car of the kind that was demolished by the dozen in The Blues Brothers. Enjoyable as it is to ogle cars from a time when Detroit’s factories manufactured these gas-guzzling machines, it’s what’s inside the buildings that has really attracted the crowds. For this weekend is one of two annual jukebox fairs held in southern England.

For much of the 20th Century, the jukebox was one of the dominant ways of getting new tunes heard. Hollywood movies – from film noir through The Wild One/Rebel Without A Cause era to the counterculture efforts of the 1970s – often feature scenes set around a jukebox. Things began to change once the CD jukebox was invented and jukes became a precursor to the iPod, allowing users to cherry-pick their favourite album tracks.

Then came our brave new digital world with people able to connect their laptops – then smart phones – to music systems, and the jukebox became as redundant as a record collection. Era over. Adios, jukebox!

But just as the 45 single and the 33 LP never truly died, so the jukebox lives on, loved, admired, collected and traded by those who value them. The jukebox fair is the church where dealers, collectors and fans congregate.

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About Vintage Rock

'Maybe Tomorrow?’ No, the new issue of Vintage Rock is out now and stars... Billy Fury! Our 20-page special includes an interview with his latter-day backing band Fury’s Tornados and Vince Eager recalls his part in the landmark new album ‘The Symphonic Sound Of Fury’. We also hear from The Beach Boys’ Mike Love and Bruce Johnston about how the legendary band made the transition from doo-wop-influenced rock’n’rollers to symphonic pop geniuses. Our Classic Album is ‘In Style With The Crickets’, an amazing triumph following the tragic death of Buddy Holly. We talk exclusively to Gary ‘US’ Bonds about his early days cutting hot R&B in Virginia, his comeback with Bruce Springsteen and his return to live shows. With a new CD and biography released, we revisit the career of Wee Willie Harris, British rock’n’roll’s strangest and smallest star. PLUS! We talk to the folks building and revamping 50s Jukeboxes, we hand-pick Sam Cooke’s Top 20 hits and speak to Jerry Lee’s sister Linda Gail Lewis. In our live reviews, we head to the Wildest Cats In Town weekender where Charlie Gracie reined supreme, plus there’s a memorable doo-wop reunion in London. And we visit the world of Rockabilly-Radio online.