For people of a certain age, seven-inch 45 rpm vinyl records are what music was, and is, all about. They just can’t think of Elvis without picturing that signature yellow Sun record label, or The Beatles without recalling the label on all those Capitol 45s, with their trademark orange-and-yellow swirl.

Also known as singles because each side had a playing time of less than five minutes, 45s were first marketed in the United States by RCA in 1949. The format made its way to the U.K. in 1950. The hole in the center of a 45 was larger than the one for a 78 or LP, which allowed them to be stacked on spindles and dropped, one at a time, for continuous play. Immediately embraced by consumers, 45s were a big hit with jukebox manufacturers and operators, too, who liked the way the space-saving 45s allowed them to quadruple (compared to 78s) the number of songs they could offer customers.

Early adopters of the 45 included Fats Domino, whose 1949 single, “Fat Man,” is one of the most collectible 45s by any artist. Ray Charles released “I Got a Woman,” the Drifters cut “Save the Last Dance For Me,” and James Brown rocked the house with “Please, Please, Please.”

Of course, some of the most prized 45s around are those Elvis Sun singles. The first was "That’s All Right," which was recorded live in the studio in 1954. The single’s B-side was a Bill Monroe bluegrass tune from the 1940s called "Blue Moon of Kentucky." Two more Sun singles followed that year, with another pair in 1955, for a total of five Elvis Sun singles containing 10 songs.

Other 1950s acts to score big with 45s include Chuck Berry (“Johnny B. Goode”), Bill Haley (“Ten Little Indians”), Little Richard (“Long Tall Sally”), and Carl Perkins (he recorded his tune “Blue Suede Shoes” a year before The King laid down his version for Sun).

On the other side of the Atlantic, the first U.K. Beatles single was "Love Me Do," which was released in 1962 by Parlophone, whose red label was augmented by blue, yellow, purple, and red horizontal stripes on the 45’s sleeve. Other collectible U.K. Beatles singles are the title tracks from the films “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help!”

In the United States, before Capitol Records signed the band in 1964, Vee-Jay Records released several Beatles 45s. One famous Vee-Jay typo was on the 1963 single of "Please Plea...

Late-1960s album-oriented-rock artists are generally not known for their 45s, but The Doors were a notable exception. In particular, its hit song “Light My Fire” got lots of airplay, thanks in no small part to the hot-selling, and shortened, single.

Northern Soul 45s are also in high demand. Those are the discs that were spun from the late-1960s though the 1970s by DJs at northern England dance clubs such as The Twisted Wheel and Wigan Casino. Gloria Jones, Jackie Wilson, and the Imperials were all popular artists associated with that scene. Finally, later in the 1970s, disco, dominated the charts. Disco fever, as it was called, owed a huge debt to 45s by the Bee-Gees (“Stayin’ Alive”), Gloria Gayner (“I Will Survive”), and the Village People (“YMCA”), to name but a few.

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Examiner.com, March 31st

In 1949, RCA Victor introduced the 45 rpm single record, which had been in long development since 1940. The 7-inch disc was designed to compete with the Long Playing record introduced by Columbia a year earlier. Both formats offered better fidelity and ...Read more

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VVN Music, March 30th

1949 - RCA introduced the 45 RPM record with the release of Texarkana Baby by Eddy Arnold. The disc was pressed in green vinyl, the record company's early attempt to classify the genre of music by the color of the record. 1957 - Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee ...Read more

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TriCities.com, March 29th

WYTHEVILLE, Va. — It was a time of bobbi socks, snowy 17-inch black and white televisions, two-ton Detroit chariots, 7-cent Cokes, 45-rpm records playing in nickel jukeboxes, 19 cents a gallon gasoline and tons of teenage angst. Tons and tons of...Read more

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The Register Star, March 28th

I have a large record collection started in the 50s when I would head to Woolworth's with my allowance to purchase a 45 rpm recording of the latest rock and roll offering. The 60s came along and now having a steady income and no parental supervision I ...Read more

BARRY LEVINE: Fool make its way into song titles
The Albany Herald, March 28th

RCA Victor introduced the 45 rpm record on March 31, 1949. … The Marcels hit the top of the charts on April 3, 1961, with “Blue Moon.” Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart had written the song in 1934. … The Temptations had their third and final No.1...Read more

LEGO lover meets audiophile in this gorgeous turntable
Digital Trends, March 26th

It has the ability to play at both 33 1/3 rpm and 45 rpm, so it will even play those old 7-inches from your parents' generation. Sure, it looks a little wobbly in action, but we're guessing this is more of an art piece than a daily spinner. And the...Read more

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Poughkeepsie Journal, March 21st

Is Sam Donaldson's hair really a melted 45 RPM record? No, this isn't the 1980s revisited. It's a supposition from a press release that hit my email in-box last week. If you're old enough, you know Donaldson was ABC News' lead broadcaster for many years...Read more

A Talk With Quantic Ahead Of His 45 RPM D.C. Show w/ Sinkane
Okayafrica, March 10th

Producer and selector Will Holland aka Quantic is embarking on a month-long North American tour dedicated to the 45 RPM record. The 18-city tour will see Quantic DJing his transatlantic blend of tropical-soul sounds from Africa, Latin American and the ...Read more