Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: Silent records, part 1

Back in the late 1950s when there were jukeboxes everywhere, a Detroit guy named Bill Rabe came up with a way to buy a little silence. His label, the Hush Record Company, specialized in releasing 45 rpm singles that contained…nothing. The grooves were perfectly silent.

Why? It’s genius, really.

If you were in a bar or restaurant and you got tired of the music coming from the jukebox, you could drop a nickel or dime in the machine to call up one of these silent records and for the next three minutes or so, the jukebox was muted and quiet. And people who wanted loud music were powerless to stop the silence.

Silent records were a big deal in jukeboxes for a while and even spawned something called “Silent Record Week” in January 1959. More next time.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Alan Cross has 38427 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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