1984 – 1987
George Harrison, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Annie Lennox, David Bowie…almost every music star was once or twice a guest on the radio show Pandora’s Juke Box. During its more than 12 years on Norwegian radio NRK, it stayed one of the most popular shows in the country. It transformed Saturday morning from 10.00 till noon from being a “dead” radio slot, to become one of the most popular slots on Norwegian radio. Pandora’s Juke Box was voted “Best show of the year” numerous times, and had a large, dedicated following. During its best periods more than 10% of the Norwegian radio audience tuned in to this one show on Saturday mornings and Monday nights.
From 1984, the Norwegian radio landscape changed dramatically. After decades of one NRK radio channel as the only Norwegian language channel in existence, the national broadcaster officially started a second radio channel. This offered Sigbjørn Nedland the chance to launch his brainchild: A really open-minded music show covering a wide variety of mainly rock, pop, country and folk, but also several other forms of music, from classical via jazz to African, Latin American and Asian music. The plans for such a radio show was met with quite a lot of skepticism. The scope was too wide, it was said, and people would not have the patience to listen to long, serious interviews with musicians and artists talking about complicated matters . But the show soon proved the critics wrong, and swiftly established itself as the leading music show on Norwegian radio .
Right: Pandoras Juke Box had a good relationship to the written press,and many features and interviews in newspapers and magazines brought information about the show to a large audience. And, as you can see, producer and presenter Sigbjørn Nedland had already, back in the 1980s, started featuring African music on the show.
Below: A small selection of the several hundred artists who visited Pandora’s Juke Box: David Bowie, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Ian Anderson/Jethro Tull, Mark Knopfler/Dire Straits, Willie Nelson , Tom Waits, Robbie Robertson/The Band, Wendy James/Transvision Vamp, Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon, Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Carlos Santana, Chrissie Hynde, Elvis Costello, Iggy Pop, Joni Mitchell, Tina Turner, Eurythmics, Neil Young.
Click above to hear some of the artists who visited and paid tribute to Pandoras’s Juke Box.
The name: Pandora’s Juke Box is a name that refers to greek mythology and the myth of Pandora, the beautiful lady sent by Zeus to punish the humans. When she got married to a human, she brought as dowry a box (or more correctly a jug) that must never be opened. Of course Zeus knew that a man would never be able to resist such a temptation. When opened, the contents flowed out: war, illness, death and everything bad. Thus the expression “Pandora’s Box” has become synonymous with “The root of all evil”. When juke boxes invaded Norway in the 1950s and 60s, they were seen as the root of the corruption of the youth, spreading the new, suspect and “immoral” rock ‘n’ roll music. That is why Nedland ironically named his show Pandora’s Juke Box. – And yes, he did have his own jukebox at home, from which he recorded the sound signature that opened all the shows.