For our prompt of “Music” today, I thought back to going to diners when I was a kid and enjoying that most amazing invention called a jukebox. This is a sketch of a Wurlitzer that took the world by storm in late 1940’s, going on to become a best-seller. These coin-operated marvels were my favorite because you could see the record magically placed on the turntable and then levitated to meet the needle. This combined with flashing colored lights and bubble tubes made the whole experience unforgettably magical. My dad always loved music as well, so when he built an addition to his house in Texas years ago, a jukebox was promptly purchased. My mother chose to add my letter jacket to the decor to help justify its presence. I was no jock, so this wasn’t an actual high school letter jacket, but instead one from a show I performed in at a local theme park. It was a 50’s and 60’s show called “Stax Of Wax” and my character was the class president. It was a blast to sing and dance to all of those songs. They were all so catchy and memorable in their melodies, that I can still remember them all to this day. And it’s lovely to see that vinyl records are making a comeback. That sound is so wonderful and unique, bringing back all of my best musical memories of childhood.

I wasn’t born early enough to enjoy those jukebox songs when they debuted, so it was fabulous to have the chance to enjoy them in character at least. My favorite of that time period were the Doo-Wop songs, which usually featured a tenor lead vocalist accompanied by three or four more people to create the most amazing harmonies. My favorite was Sh-Boom by The Chords, because it’s filled with all of the fun nonsense words of the era and creates an incredibly upbeat feeling of bouncy fun. I guess I liked groups with this name because I also liked the song Lollipop by the female group The Chordette. This one just makes me smile every time I hear it. Sure, there were more sentimental love songs that I adored, but even sad songs seemed to always deliver notes of hope. And the incredible way the singers voices blended is still such a marvelous thing. Perhaps, in these days of autotune it makes it even more impressive to hear music from a time when people actually had to have the talent to sing and didn’t have a computer helping them hit the notes.

Philippe loves music as well and his digital mix tapes helped keep us connected when we were first dating and still oceans apart. I still listen to that playlist today sometimes. Not just for the memories, but because it’s filled with such a wonderful mix of songs in nearly every genre and three different languages. Some nights, we just have music playing all evening rather than watching a show. Other nights we’ll go on an endless trip down memory lane watching various YouTube videos and googling information about various artists. It’s actually crazy how long we can spend doing this. But, it’s so much fun! It’s a great way to reminisce and share memories while listening to songs and watching performances from the past. I do like a few of the modern songs, but there don’t seem to be quite as many of them that capture my heart these days. So traveling down a musical memory lane is always one of my favorite things to do. And it’s why I’ll always have a fondness for all of the boogedy-shoos and the yippity-dips of those doo-wop days.

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Wurlitzer Jukebox 50's Dinner Stool Watercolor Painting Sketchbook Detail


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29 thoughts on “Those Doo-Wop Days

  1. I have been down the YouTube rabbit hole. Wow! That can be a timesink. But still, the feelings evoced from old music from my youth is incredible.

    Joe had one of these juke boxes in his shop for repairs. You can’t believe how complex the insides are. He did get it working though.

  2. Beautiful painting of the jukebox! I sometimes watch YouTube for recordings of live concerts from the 60s and 70s. Not only is the music great, but my favorite artists look exactly as they are preserved in my memory – young!

  3. Wonderful memory and jukebox! I remember eating at a diner that had a mini jukebox at each table. If I remember correctly there was a line of booths along the wall and a long counter running down the middle with the kitchen behind that. Seems like it was a big Airstream shaped diner….good memories!

  4. I had to laugh. My boss and I were just talking about jukeboxes. In our case, it started out with me telling her to throw some jute in the “jutebox”. Which started us giggling and discussing jukeboxes. Lol I always loved the colorful lights on them. You did well on yours capturing them! Also, when you go to the DCA ( Calif. Adventure), be sure to be in it before dusk. They play Sh-Boom every night when they roll on all the neon lights. You would love it!

  5. My dad had one in the 70s in his café when i was a little girl and i loved dancing it was such fun,cool memories that are vanished .Beautifully done Charlie!

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