LOS ANGELES — As part of the Grammy’s golden anniversary theme, Rock-Ola Manufacturing Corp. was invited to provide jukeboxes for the music awards program’s interview lounge. The Recording Academy’s annual music awards ceremony was held at the Staples Center here on February 10.
Rock-Ola supplied six jukeboxes, each of which represented one of the past five decades of music celebrated by the awards. They included the Tempo II from the 1960s, part of personal collection belonging to Rock-Ola chief executive Glenn Streeter. Rounding out the Rock-Ola sampling were the Nostalgic Bubbler Music Center, Peacock CD, two Chevrolet-branded CD jukes and a prototype of iRock, the factory’s latest home model that was decked out in sleek, tuxedo black trim for the occasion.
Over the past 50 years, the jukebox has earned iconic status in the music industry and popular culture, Rock-Ola noted. “The choice of the Academy to select Rock-Ola as the maker of the jukeboxes is a great honor,” said company president John Schultz. “Although we’re usually present at amusement and home recreation shows, ultimately, we’re in the music business. It’s great to be invited to the 50th presentation of the Grammys.”
The Torrance, CA, company’s jukes were on display in record-producer Randy Jackson’s interview lounge. A successful studio musician and producer, Jackson has worked with such artists as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Madonna, among many others. He is also known as the “judge of reason” balancing Simon Cowell and Paul Abdul on the reality TV show “American Idol.”
ONE FOR THE LOBBY: Glenn and Jodie Streeter show off their Tempo II Rock-Ola jukebox in Randy Jackson’s Grammy interview lounge in Los Angeles. Introduced in the early 1960s, the Tempo II models 1485 (200 selections) and 1478 (120 selections), shown here, are stylized with boomerang grill badges and feature static displays. The classic vinyl box was one of six Rock-Ola models, representing 50 years of music, on display in the lounge.
In the 1940s and ‘50s, when airtime on radio stations was limited, artists’ successes were often determined by the frequency of play of their music on jukeboxes. During this golden age, Billboard published top jukebox hits in every issue and celebrity artists frequently posed with jukeboxes in ads to promote record sales. As the leading source of entertainment during the post-WWII years, a jukebox could be found in nearly every restaurant and tavern and sometimes even in the bus and train stations.
“Rock-Ola jukeboxes were a natural theme choice for the Grammys,” said chief executive Streeter, who was invited to rehearsals two days before the big event to get a first-hand look at what goes on behind the scenes. The jukebox pioneer, joined by his wife Jody, listened to Alicia Keys warm up, with some help from John Mayer, for her opening number at the awards. They concluded the evening at a Grammy bash at The Palm.
LIKE A ROCK: Rock-Ola manufactures Chevrolet-themed compact disc jukeboxes exclusively for General Motors and Chevrolet dealerships. As a major sponsor of the 2008 Grammy Awards, GM asked Rock-Ola to deliver two Chevy boxes to Randy Jackson’s interview lounge. The models were sold before the awards show started.
“It was a great experience and a lot of fun,” Streeter said.
The Grammy Awards, originally called the Gramophone Awards, are presented annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States. The Recording Academy was founded in 1958 and this year presented awards in 140 music categories.
Top winners of the evening included Amy Winehouse, Justin Timberlake and Bruce Springsteen.