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Beastie Q&AHome
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The Jukebox Project

Admit it. We are getting older. For as much as we made fun of our parents and their baby boomer generation for collecting stuff from the 1950s and 60s…we are just as bad. Sure we may attempt to legitimize it by selling a few items now and again…but in the end we are all hoarders. Here we are at the end of first decade of the 21st century and all of a sudden we’re nostalgic for things that remind us of our youth. We love collecting comic books, skate decks, sneakers, and yes worst of all records.

Many of us Beastie Boys fans grew up in the 80s and early 90s when there were still jukeboxes in bars, restaurants, and bowling alleys. Depending on the establishment, these were jukeboxes that played popular singles for twenty-five cents a song. Some of these machines were compact disc players, whereas others played 7 inch 45 rpm records. What? 45 RPM records…the kind like the Beastie Boys tucked into the “Check Your Head Remastered Edition” …Yes, 45 RPM records.

Through the years, the Beastie Boys have put out numerous 45-RPM records. How many? So many that it got me thinking that maybe I should look into picking up an inexpensive used jukebox and loading it full of Beastie Boys and related rap/punk singles. After all, LL Cool J, Biz Markie, Run DMC, Minor Threat, and many other 80s acts put out 7” singles.

To go from concept to reality, space and money were the two biggest obstacles. The most difficult of these to secure was space, so I will cover it first. Whether it is a pool table you want or jukebox, space is always going to be a problem. Jukeboxes are heavy monsters, which do not easily go up and down stairs. This fact makes it difficult for apartment owners to possess a jukebox. Also, spouses are very territorial when it comes to living spaces. It takes a special understanding in order for a spouse to “allow” you to place a huge jukebox anywhere in the house. Now certain jukeboxes are smaller and lighter than others, so keep that in mind when you see various models for sale.

Next lets talk about the money. To pull off a project like this it will cost at least $400.00. Inexpensive working jukeboxes can be found in the United States for as little as $250.00. I would encourage you to have someone “service” the machine prior to loading it full of your records. This means that you will need a knowledgeable repairman to go through the machine and make sure all of the fuses work and that the mechanical parts are greased and ready for use. Most communities will have at least one person who specializes in coin-op machine repair. So once you figure out who that person is, have them check out your machine. Avoid the temptation to attempt repairs yourself.

If you have the desire to see the record play within the jukebox, you are not alone. Most people would prefer to own a jukebox in which the turntable is visible. What does this mean to you a potential buyer? Jukeboxes that have an open area where the selection is picked up and dropped onto the turntable are very desirable/older and thus start out at around $1000.00. My advice is to hold off on buying a more expensive machine until you have owned an entry-level jukebox for at least a year. There will always be a buyer for your first jukebox, so don’t be worry about being “stuck” with it.

There are four main manufactures of jukeboxes: Seeburg, Wurlitzer, AMI-Rowe, and Rockola. No one company stands apart as being that much more in demand than the other three. Each company produced certain models that are more sought after than other models which may preceed it by only a year and thus it is on a year by year (model by model) basis where you see a big difference in price/value.

Initially, I started out with less expensive model from the 1974 Rockola model 454. This machine required about $300.00 worth of repair before it was back up and running. There were 7995 of these machines made and each model holds 80 7 inch records (160 selections). This machine is similar in appearance to many other jukeboxes from this period. If you liked the Beastie Boys 1995 Quadraphonic Stereo Tour theme, perhaps tracking down a 1974 Seeburg SQS160 would be the ideal first jukebox for you.

For those Beastie Boys fans that want to see the record selection spin, I would suggest one of two popular machines…either the 1961 AMI Continental or the 1962 AMI Continental 2. The space-age look of these machines has driven up their value over the last decade or so…but you can still find them for sale. One of these can be seen in the background of the new Star Trek movie during the opening bar fight scene.

Links:
Discography : Jukebox Specific 7"s for the Beastie Boys
Discography : Jukebox Specific 7"s for Luscious Jackson

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