Manchester, Birthplace of…Karaoke?

What comes to mind when you think of the city of Manchester and its musical history?  The Smiths, the Stone Roses, Oasis, New Order, Joy Division, karaoke.  Wait–karaoke?  That’s right.  

Along with some great music, Manchester was also the birthplace of the karaoke machine.  In 1975, an inventor named Roy Brooke built something he called “Roy’s Sing-a-Long Machine.”  

The concept was simple.  A cassette machine played an instrumental version of a popular song while someone sang along into a microphone that was pumped through the same machine.  Suddenly, anyone could be a singer.

A Japanese company then picked up on the idea, renamed the machine “karaoke,” which means “empty orchestra”–and life, as we know it has never been the same since.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “Manchester, Birthplace of…Karaoke?

  • November 29, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    I believe it! hailing from Manchester – everyone LOOOOVES a sing-a-long! Especially with a few pints down their neck!

  • June 20, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    The Japanese are claiming the invention by a man name Daisuke Inoue in 1971.


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