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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Sunday Salute: 'Godfather of shag' danced his way into our heartsFayetteville Observer, July 4th
in those old "Carolina Shag" shrines from "The Hayloft" at White Lake to the Myrtle Beach Pavilion to Ocean Drive's dirt floor to Williams Lake, and anywhere a jukebox spun a 45 rpm record. "This old fellow you see here, he just sort of disappears...Read more
This 100-pound cast iron turntable has smarter tech than your carDigital Trends, July 4th
When it comes to electronic paraphernalia in the home, few devices bridge the worlds of form and function as brilliantly as a good turntable. A stylish turntable is at once the centerpiece of your hi-fi system, a retro throwback to the musical days of...Read more
Young Elvis Presley Stamp To Be Issued By US Postal ServiceNoise11, July 4th
The square stamp pane resembles a vintage 45 rpm record sleeve. One side of the pane includes 16 stamps while the image of a sliver of a record seems to peek out of the top of the sleeve. An image of Presley performing was shot by photographer Alfred ...Read more
What's Going On: July 4, 2015Terre Haute Tribune Star, July 3rd
Rotary Club of Brazil Fourth of July Celebration, free admission, Forest Park, Indiana 59, Brazil; food booths and midway 3 p.m.; sack races 4 p.m., to age 15, cash prizes; Community Theatre 50s Musical Review 4:30 p.m.; 45 RPM 5:45 p.m.; 7:45 p.m...Read more
Parades, Fireworks, Powwow & Lots of Local Music All Top Picks For July 4th ...CapeCod.com News, July 3rd
They're starting up this coming Monday, July 6 with Greg Johnson and 45 RPM. The shows are from 7 to 9 p.m. and are free! They will be every Monday, rain dates are Tuesdays, through August 24. Here's the lineup for the whole summer. Grab a beach chair ...Read more
Free music on beach in OrleansWicked Local Orleans, July 3rd
Free Monday night concerts at the gazebo at Nauset Beach from 7 to 9 p.m. begin July 6 with Greg Johnson and 45 RPM, which play acoustic rock, folk and pop. email print. Comment. By Staff reports. Wicked Local Orleans. By Staff reports. Posted Jul. 3...Read more
For the Record, My Tables Still TurnArmenian Weekly, July 2nd
Nor could I bid adieu to my 45 RPM discs—all 12 boxes of them dating back to the 1940's when they played in jute boxes and nickelodeons. Maybe it was all about destiny. You see, in my dad's luncheonette was a Wurlitzer. The bobbysoxers would come in, ...Read more
Elvis stamp image previewedMemphis Commercial Appeal, July 2nd
As the U.S. postal service noted in their announcement, “the square stamp pane resembles a vintage 45 rpm record sleeve. One side of the pane includes 16 stamps while the image of a sliver of a record seems to peek out of the top of the sleeve.” The...Read more