In 1989, John Lennon's jukebox surfaced in an auction of Beatles memorabilia at Christie's, and was sold for £2,500 ($4,907) to Bristol-based music promoter John Midwinter. Lennon had apparently bought the jukebox – specifically a Swiss KB Discomatic – in 1965, and filled it with forty singles to take with him on tour. Midwinter spent several years restoring the box and researching the discs catalogued in Lennon's spidery handwriting. When Midwinter developed cancer, and his health began to deteriorate, his desire to see the player featured in some kind of documentary became all the more important.
The story finally reached its wider public in 2004, when The South Bank Show broadcast a documentary on the jukebox in which many of the represented artists, along with Sting, were asked to comment. Developed by Steve Jansen for the UK television production company Initial, headed by Malcolm Gerrie, the project took longer than was hoped to get picked up. A fact that was rendered all the more poignant when the show was commissioned mere days after Midwinter died. A compilation album was also released, containing thirty-four of the singles' A-sides and seven of their B-sides.