Background music is that music that was always playing in the waiting room for your dentist, playing up and down the aisles of your favorite supermarket, the music you heard in the office to make you type faster on your typewriter. Have you ever wondered where did that music come from? Before the days of Pandora, Spotify, Youtube or easy listening radio stations, there was one device that was the king of background music.
The Seeburg 1000 Background Music System was a music player that was introduced in 1959. The player was capable of playing both sides of up to 28 records and repeating the process indefinitely. The records were stacked on the spindle with the first side to be played on the bottom of the stack. A special tone arm, with two needles (one above and one below), played both sides of each record. A rotating base plate below the records prevented damage to the bottom playing surface while re-stacking the records. Yes, it played both sides of a record without having to flip the record!
The "1000" in the name is because it can play 1000 songs without having to do anything at all. 25 records with each side containing 20 songs gives you 1000 songs!
Seeburg provided three different libraries of music for use with the Seeburg 1000 system: Basic, Mood and Industrial. The Basic library consisted of mid-tempo music selected from top 40 hits, show tunes and standards. The arrangements (created for Seeburg) were nearly all instrumental, featuring horns, strings and keyboards. The Mood library consisted of medium to slow-tempo songs in lush arrangements (with primarily stringed instruments). The music was derived from standards, show tunes and some pop music; the first song on each side of each record was often a current pop hit. The Industrial library consisted of lively, medium to quick-tempo music to induce workers to be more productive. This was perhaps the most varied and adventurous of the libraries; it contained polkas, mariachi music, twangy guitar, Hawaiian songs, and occasionally synthesizer.
We would love to have a Seeburg 1000 playing here in our office but for now we just have to watch Youtube videos to hear the great music this machine offered.