Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Today's Birthdays

Pierre Du Mage (1674-1751)
Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)
Jerry Bock (1928-2010)
Vigen Derderian (1929-2003)
Krzysztof Penderecki (1933)
Ludovico Einaudi (1955)
Thomas Zehetmair (1961)
Nicolas Bacri (1961)
Ed Harsh (1962)


Paul Celan (1920-1950)
Jennifer Michael Hecht (1965)

From the Writer's Almanac:

It was on this day in 1889 that the Jukebox made its debut at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco. It consisted of an Edison Class M Electric Phonograph inside an oak cabinet with tubes sticking out, and by depositing a coin you could listen to the recording through the tube. In its first six months of service, the Nickel-in-the-Slot earned more than $1,000.

But for a long time, the coin-operated player pianos were more popular, because they had better sound and no static. It wasn't until 1927 that the Automatic Musical Instruments Company introduced the first jukebox that sounded good enough to entertain an entire room.

The word "jukebox" comes from the word "jook" — meaning disorderly or wicked — which probably came to this country from West Africa. In the years after slavery, African-Americans used the phrase "juke house" or "juke joint" to refer to dancehalls, and when these dancehalls installed coin-operated phonographs, they were called jukeboxes.

At a time when many early radio programs refused to play country, blues, or jazz, it was jukeboxes that made that music available in taverns, restaurants, diners, and on Army bases. And music companies realized there was a big audience for different genres of music.

Willie Nelson said, "Ninety-nine percent of the world's lovers are not with their first choice. That's what makes the jukebox play."

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