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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Recent News: 45 Records
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'Doc Pomus' will bring back happy memoriesQuad City Times, October 23rd
Yes, I'm old enough to have amassed hundreds of 45-rpm records. I listened to my first tunes on vinyl — still have them, in fact. From the time I was old enough to read, I was fascinated by the names of the writers listed in tiny print below the title...Read more
BP's Jazz Library: Singer Carmen McRaeWRTI, October 23rd
One interviewer who evidently did not, described her as being like a 45 rpm record, in that one side was always a hit, but the flip side you wouldn't want to audition. Perhaps the late acceptance of her talents, coupled with two bad marriages, had...Read more
HP Moonshot - defined by the use-caseDatacenterDynamics, October 23rd
For this task, Bradicich built on top of the ProLiant m710 chassis, effectively reducing it to a cartridge just larger than an old 45 rpm record. "This solution is insanely great, and let me tell you why," the chief engineer starts up. Customers need...Read more
Morris looks for a record playerFranklin News Post, October 22nd
Mrs. Parks has another 45 rpm record, also on the Double Records label, that includes two songs sung and written by her late husband. "Bob Graves" is listed as the vocalist with the songwriting credit is given to J.R. Graves. Side 1 of the record...Read more
Vanessa Fernandez – Use Me [TrackList follows] – Groove Note – 45 rpm 2 vinylsAudiophile Audition, October 19th
Groove Note Records has released Fernandez's debut, Use Me on a very high-end two-disc 45 rpm 180-gram audiophile vinyl. Covering an assortment of high-profiled soul composers, a top-notch ensemble of studio musicians contribute to a well-crafted, ...Read more
Jeff Buckley – Grace – Columbia Records (1994)/ Original Recordings Group ...Audiophile Audition, October 15th
ORG has re-mastered Buckley's seminal Grace to audiophile 45 rpm vinyl. It epitomizes alternative rock with a broad spectrum of musical influences. Side A opens (“Mojo Pin”) with a gently swirling guitar. Soon Buckley's high register tenor joins in a...Read more
Win a Copy of the Turtles' '45 RPM Vinyl Singles Collection'Ultimate Classic Rock, October 6th
Here's your chance to grab the Turtles' best-known songs in a new box set, 'The Turtles 45 RPM Vinyl Singles Collection,' courtesy of Ultimate Classic Rock and FloEdCo/Manifesto Records. The Turtles were one of the '60s' most popular groups, blending a ...Read more
Music Review: The Turtles - 'The Turtles 45 RPM Vinyl Singles Collection'Blogcritics (blog), September 12th
Turtles founders Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan – later known as Flo and Eddie when a contract dispute prevented them from using The Turtles name – are about to release The Turtles 45 RPM Vinyl Singles Collection which includes their top hits on eight ...Read more