I’m of a certain vintage musically – old enough to play vinyl, tapes, CDs and, to show off, by turning on a blue and cream plastic Decca wall-mounted radio from the sixties.
Its dial includes Radio Luxembourg and it hardly seems yesterday that the sister of my first girlfriend placed a request for us with that long-gone station for Rod Stewart’s Maggie May.
Ah, but back to business.
On November 10, the Suffolk saleroom Bishop & Miller featured a rare blast from the past – a KB Discomatic portable jukebox, identical to one made famous by John Lennon in 1965 when he purchased an example and stocked it with 40 singles to be used while on tour.
George Harrison also had a Discomatic and it featured in an article in the Record Mirror in January 1966. A Discomatic also shows up in the background of the room used as the Beatles home in the Help! movie.
KB Discomatics were the UK imports of portable juke boxes made by Swiss company Gerinvex. They held 40 records which they played using a double-sided crystal Ronette B40 cartridge.
John Lennon was by far the most famous owner of the KB Discomatic. So much so, that the model is often referred to as the ‘John Lennon Jukebox’.
His own Discomatic was sold at auction in 1989 for £2500 and the tracks listed on the index card were the subject of a double CD release in 2004 titled ‘John Lennon’s Jukebox.’
This symbol of the Swinging Sixties did not hit the high notes, but found a new home at a mid-estimate £360.
Picture: c1965 ‘John Lennon Jukebox’, £360 (Bishop & Miller).