Phonograph and Record References in Recorded Music



Discography of PhonoLyrics

Au Claire de la Lune by The Highwaymen, 1991

The Broken Record - Novelty Fox Trot The B.B.C. Dance Orchestra, 1936

Get Out Those Old Records sung by Carmen Lombardo, 1950

I am the Edison Phonograph! by Len Spencer, 1906

I Love Rock 'n Roll by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, 1982

Into the Groove, by Madonna, 1987

Just Can't Get Enough by The Saturdays, 2009

Just Dance by Lady GaGa, 2008

Let's Have A Song Upon the Gramophone, by Billy Williams, 1911

"No News," or "What Killed the Dog" by Nat M. Wills, 1908

The Phonograph by Istituto Barlumen, 2008

Phonograph by Jesca Hoop, 2004

Phonograph by The Magpies, 2008

Phonograph by Stateside, 2004

Phonograph by Steven Clotzman, 2007

Phonograph Blues by Robert Johnson, 1936

Phonograph Blues by Vassar Clements, 2004

The Phonograph Song (Our Melody) by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, 1956

Phonography by Britney Spears, 2018

The Record Player Song, by Daisy the Great, 2014

(The) Rock and Roll Star by Kay Starr, 1955

Spin the Black Circle by Pearl Jam, 1994

That's What Makes the Jukebox Play by Moe Bandy, 1978

They All Laughed, by Ella Fitzgerald, 1938

They All Laughed, by Ginger Rogers, 1937

Turntable, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, 2012

Uncle Josh Buys a Victrola, By Cal Stewart, 1919

Watching You Watch Him, by Eric Hutchinson, 2012






Phonograph Blues by Robert Johnson

Album: "Robert Johnson - The Complete Recordings"

Recording 1 of 5 sessions, November 23, 1936, San Antonio, Texas

Lyrics: "Beatrice, she got a phonograph and it won't say a lonesome word..."

"Beatrice, I love my phonograph, but you have broke my windin' chain"






Phonograph by Steven Clotzman

Album: "My American Song"

© 2007 Steven Clotzman

Lyrics: "Let's dust off the old man's Phonograph We'll listen to a Berlin song..."






Phonograph by Stateside

Album: Phonograph

Original Release Date: April 20, 2004

Lyrics: "Phonograph, Can you help me get it back,

Can you can you Phonograph, when the needle hits the black

Will you help me through....

Come on little record, play

Show me somethin' new Words"







Phonograph by The Magpies

Album: The Magpies - Eastern Standard Time

Original Release Date: May 7, 2008

Copyright: 2008 Whiskeyhounds Records

Lyrics: "My love lives in a Phonograph, she's got a voice that'll make any man go mad..."







Into the Groove by Madonna

Album: You can dance

Original Release Date: November 17, 1987

Label: Sire/Warner Bros.

Lyrics: "And you can dance

For inspiration

Come on I'm waiting

Chorus: Get into the groove

Boy you've got to prove

Your love to me, yeah

Get up on your feet, yeah

Step to the beat

Boy what will it be"









Phonograph by Jesca Hoop

Album: Not released - Recorded at KCRW Session 12-02-2004

Lyrics: "i fell in love

with a brilliant boy

i gave him my heart

while he captured my voice

he carried across the sea

how did he tangibly turn a needle crank

the cylinder round

until we meet again...

all i have to keep me sane is my phonograph"






I am the Edison Phonograph!

Edison Advertising Record, recorded by Len Spencer in 1906


Lyrics: "I am the Edison Phonograph!

Created by the Great Wizard of the New World to delight those who would have melody or be amused..."


The Phonograph 1905








Just Dance by Lady GaGa

Album: The Fame

Original Release Date: October 28, 2008

Label: Streamline/Interscoope/KonLive/Cherrytree

This 2008 ode to disco includes declarations of the love for the record and its spinning on the turntable:

Lyrics: "Just dance, spin that record baby... I love this record baby, but I can't see straight anymore...... Just dance, spin that record babe, da da doo-doo-mmm"







Au Claire de la Lune by The Highwaymen

Album: The Highwaymen

Released November 30, 1991

Although this song doesn't specifically reference the phonograph, it is included here to celebrate the first audio recording of any voice or any song, when the first line of Au clair de la lune was recorded by Édouard-Léon Scott on his Phonautograph on April 9, 1860.










"No News," or "What Killed the Dog" by Nat M. Wills

Victor 78 RPM - 17222-A

Victor 5612 recorded on October 14, 1908


(Courtesy of Tim Gracyk)


Phonographia connection is James Thurber using this record in connection with a "broken record" in his book "My Life and Hard Times."

Father was usually in bed by nine-thirty and up again by ten-thirty to protest bitterly against a Victrola record we three boys were in the habit of playing over and over, namely, “No News, or What Killed the Dog,” a recitation by Nat Wills. The record had been played so many times that its grooves were deeply cut and the needle often kept revolving in the same groove, repeating over and over the same words. Thus: “ate some burnt hoss flesh, ate some burnt hoss flesh, ate some burnt hoss flesh.” It was this reiteration that generally got father out of bed.

My Life and Hard Times, James Thurber, 1933





"The Broken Record - Novelty Fox Trot"

Columbia 78 RPM - FE 1288

Recorded January 7, 1936


(Courtesy of Eighth Floor of Jan's 78 RPM Record Warehouse)


My Sweetheart,

you’re gorgeous, you’re gorgeous, your gorgeous, your gorgeous, your gorgeous, your gorgeous tonight

That’s the song I heard on the phonograph The needle caught on the broken half And kept playing And saying

My Sweetheart, I kiss you, I kiss you, I kiss you, I kiss you, I kiss you, I kiss you tonight…

The broken record played on and then, The broken record started again,

My Sweetheart, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you I do…





Get Out Those Old Records sung by Carmen Lombardo

Album: Guy Lombardo's Royal Canadians

Original Release Date: Nov 7, 1950

Label: Jasmine

This song is a true tribute to the memories of playing phonograph records, written by one of the Lombardo brothers.

"Get out those old records

Those old phonograph records

The ones we used to play so long ago

What if they sound scratchy

The tunes they really were catchy

Remember when you used to love them

so I had to play them over and over..."










The Phonograph Song (Our Melody)

Played by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, 1956

Capitol Records

LISTEN to Guy Lombarbo and His Royal Canadians play "The Phonograph Song"

"Play that Tune Phonograph Phonograph

Play that Tune Phonograph Phonograph

Play that Tune Phonograph Phonograph

Play Our Melody"

...We were dancing to this happy melody

When we fell in love...








They All Laughed

Artist: Ginger Rogers

Album: Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers at RKO

Original Release Date: 1937 with the release of the movie "Shall we Dance?"

Lyrics: "They all laughed when Edison recorded sound"








They All Laughed by Ella Fitzgerald

Album: Ella Fitgerald sings the George and Ira Gershwin Song Book

Original Release Date: May 19, 1998

Label: Verve Records

Lyrics: "They all laughed when Edison recorded sound"


Listen to how "the worm had turned"





(The) Rock and Roll Star by Kay Starr

Released as Single December 1955

Format: 45 RPM, 78 RPM

Label: RCA Victor


Lyrics: "There in the night what a wonderful scene

Mom was dancing with Dad to my record machine"







I Love Rock 'n Roll by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

Released 1982

Format: Vinyl, 7", Single

Label: The Boardwalk Entertainment Co.

Lyrics: "I saw him dancin' there by the record machine."





Watching You Watch Him by Eric Hutchinson

In his music video Hutchinson's Phonographia connections are the record player images and the lyrics related to his love that plays like a "broken record."









The Phonograph by Istituto Barlumen

Album: The Phonograph was based on Edison advertising record " I am the Edison Phonograph", by Len Spencer, 1906

Original Release Date: January 21, 2008

Label: Barlumen Records

Lyrics: "And the Phonograph spoke from beside the fireplace..."








Spin the Black Circle by Pearl Jam

Released as Single November 8, 1994

Format: 45 RPM

Label: Epic

Songwriter(s) Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard


"According to Eddie Vedder, "Spin the Black Circle" is about his and the band's love for vinyl records. At the band's July 1, 2003 show in Bristow, Virginia at the Nissan Pavilion, Vedder proclaimed "This song is about old records, old records, anyone remember old records?" (6) - Wikipedia

Footnote (6) from Wikipedia: "Vedder, Eddie. (Speaker). (2003). 7/1/03, Nissan Pavilion, Bristow, Virginia. [Audio Recording]. Epic."

Jon Pareles of The New York Times referred to "Spin the Black Circle" as "one of the few songs from Seattle in which a needle has nothing to do with heroin."[7]

Footnote (7) from Wikipedia: Pareles, Jon. "RECORDINGS VIEW; Pearl Jam Gives Voice To Sisyphus". The New York Times. December 4, 1994. Retrieved on December 13, 2007.


LISTEN (Provided to YouTube by Sony Music Entertainment)



"See this needle

Oh see my hand

Drop, drop, dropping it down

oh so gently

here it comes

touch the flame

Turn me up

won't turn you away


Spin, spin

spin the black circle

Spin, spin

spin the black, spin the black

Spin, spin

spin the black circle

Spin, spin



Pull it out

a paper sleeve

Oh my joy

only you deserve conceit

Oh I'm so big

and my whole world

I'd rather you

rather you, than her









Turntable by Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

Album: The Lion The Beast The Beat


The hook line is "I will be your record, you will be my turntable"










Just Can't Get Enough by The Saturdays

Album: Single

Original Physical Release Date: March 2, 2009

Label: Polydor


Music Video "Just Can't Get Enough"








Phonography by Britney Spears

Album: Circus - Deluxe Edition included bonus track "Phonography"

Release Date: December 2, 2008

Leave it to Britney to redefine the Isaac Pitman Shorthand system of Phonography (first introduced in 1837) to phone-(porn)-ography (i.e., phone sex) in 2008.











Phonograph Blues by Vassar Clements

Album: Livin' with the Blues

Recording based on Robert Johnson's "Phonograph Blues"

"Beatrice, she got a phonograph and it won't say a lonesome word..."





That's What Makes the Jukebox Play by Moe Bandy, 1978

Album: Soft Lights and Hard Country Music

I just spent my last nickel tryin' to drive my tears away

Tryin' to mend a broken heart that you once led astray

I know life is funny, this old world is built that way

So many disappointments, that's what makes the jukebox play ...

All kinds of people make this world, that's what makes the jukebox play.






The Record Player Song by Daisy the Great

The Record Player Song, 2014

Daisy the Great, Produced by Paper Moon Records

Album: I’ve Got a Few Friends and I Wish They Were Mine



I’ve got a record player that was made in 2014

Dyed my hair blue it came out a seasick sort of green

I like vintage dresses when they fall just below my knees

I pretend I scraped them climbing in the trees

Sometimes I think all I’m ever doing is, (trees)

Trying to convince myself I’m alive (trees)

Sometimes I think all I’m ever doing is, (trees)

Trying to convince myself I’m alive (trees)








Let's Have a Song Upon the Gramophone by Billy Williams




They were having a merry party in the dear old Hall

Everybody sang with all their might

Songs that were new when the old were too

It was a very merry Christmas night

Dear old Grandad seated in the corner

Shouted in a manner rather strange

I say Hannah, stop the old piana

I'll tell you what to do now for a change.


Chorus: Let's have a song upon the gramophone

That Billy Williams sings so grand

With his 'Save a little one for me' and 'Tommy get your gun'

And 'Let's all go down the Strand and have a tomater'

John put your trousers on, we're waiting for a girl

And it jolly well serves you right

'Oh tickle me, Timothy,' said Jean from Aberdeen

''Cos I must go home tonight.'


They went out of the room for supper, left a nice girl there

Her head reclining on a fellow's chest

He squeezed her glove, she was full of love

Counting all the pretty buttons on his vest

He said 'Darling, won't you call me baby?'

And went and turned the gas down rather low

He said 'Maudy, don't you love your Claudy?

So let us have a cuddle' She said 'No.'




Performed by Billy Williams (1877-1915)


For additional details see "Let’s Have A Song Upon The Gramophone [Homophone, Graphophone, Pathéphone, Phonograph]" (depending on what label the recording was being made for). Courtesy of the website Bless ’Em All: The Songs of Fred Godfrey







Uncle Josh Buys a Victrola by Cal Stewart

Victor Talking Machine Co., 18793-A, 1919


In 1919 Cal Stewart as Uncle Josh Weathersby was confused about how a talking machine worked when his Victor record "Uncle Josh Buys a Victrola" recounted his first experience with his new talking machine.


Courtesy of Tim Gracyk

Victor matrix B-23118 August 11, 1919 (DAHR)






Archeophone Records has this CD available for purchase where you can also listen to excerpts.

A humorist who spent 22 years waxing his Uncle Josh stories, Cal Stewart was the first performer whose stage appearances were celebrated by reference to his records rather than the other way around. In his famous role as "rube" Uncle Josh Weathersby, he entertained millions of listeners with tales of his antics both in New York City and at home in Punkin Center. The Indestructible Uncle Josh provides a snapshot of Stewart's repertoire at the height of his career, featuring all 25 of his 2-minute cylinders for the Indestructible company and a choice sampling of his work on U-S Everlasting cylinders. The package includes a 28-page booklet with notes by Stewart expert and scholar Patrick Feaster. List price: $16.49


The UCSB Cylinder Archive also has many Uncle Josh cylinder recordings available for listening, e.g, Uncle Josh invites the city folks to visit him down on the farm.

Supporting UCSB's Adopt a Cylinder Program would be an excellent way to be a Friend of the Phonograph. Do it today!



"On the Gramophone" by David C. Bangs, Berliner 7" single-sided record No. 619 Z, Recorded February 15, 1896 (Courtesy

"On the Gramophone" by Geo. Graham, Berliner 7" single-sided record No. 637 W, Recorded December 2, 1896 (Courtesy

"What is the Gramophone?" by Geo. Graham - Gramophone Record advertised in The Phonoscope, March 1897

"Murphy's Gramophone" (Tierney) by John Terrell, Berliner No. 1882, Recorded August 1898 (Courtesy

"Murphy's Phonograph" by Russell Hunting, June 1897 p.14 The Phonoscope

"Put that Gramophone Record On Again" (Sam May, H. Darewski Music, cf. Wonder of the Age Kevin Daly, Argo ZPR 122-3)

"When the Gramophone Shop Caught Fire" Stanley Kirby (M. Scott)

"Our Lizzie Gets a Gramophone" Helena Millais

"Casey Listening to the Phonograph" by Russell Hunting

"Uncle Zed Buys a Graphophone" by Charles Ross Taggert

"Say It to the Ediphone" by Jones and Hare

"Santa Claus Hides in your Phonograph" by Harry Humphrey on Edison

"Santa Claus Hides in your Phonograph" by Billy Jones for Columbia

"Edison Advertising Record" by Len Spencer (un-numbered for Edison Dealers only)

"Special Talking Cylinder" Columbia brown wax by Len Spencer (demonstrates the Edison, battery runs down and he says "I'll have to get one of those Columbia Graphophones with the spring motor."

"The Phonograph Faker" by Len Spencer (apparently before 1900) - demonstrates the Edison Phonograph to a crowd, praises Edison, answers questions and says it will bring all the great voices, such as President McKinley and Adelina Patti, to your home. (Columbia cylinder owned by Alan Redford of Norwalk, Conn. cf. John Petty, as described in November 1979 Hobbies, Walsh part III.