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.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Sun Records Discography

Sun Records Discography

John Boija's comprehensive site offers photos of every 45, 78, and LP recorded at Sun Records—from those recorded… [read review or visit site]

Record Envelope

Record Envelope

Record Envelope is a blog-turned-library for record collectors. Self-described by British artist Kavel Rafferty as … [read review or visit site]

45 RPM Record Label Designs

45 RPM Record Label Designs

A quick tour of 45 rpm label designs from the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Do the whole slide show or use the alphabetical i… [read review or visit site]

Jesse Barron's collection of Beatles 45s, picture sleeves, magazines, books, and memorabilia. Browse singles and al… [read review or visit site]

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas pays homage to international female opera singers of the LP era. Chronicling more than 800 singers, the… [read review or visit site]



Despite its mysterious title, 317X is plain and simple—an online gallery of vintage LPs, with a 1950s vintage fee… [read review or visit site]

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

This great site, from the Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors, offers detailed background information an… [read review or visit site]

The Remington Site

The Remington Site

Since 1999, the Remington Site has offered classical music collectors a glimpse into Remington Records, an independ… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Danny Monday Baby Without You Northern Soul 45 Modern Demo HearThe Natural Four I Thought You Were Mine Northern Soul 45 Boola Boola HearThe Sweets Satisfy Me Baby Northern Soul 45 Rare Soultown HearThe Metros Since I Found My Baby Northern Soul 45 Rca Demo HearInell Young What Do You See In Her Ultra Rare Northern Soul 45 Funk CrossoverThe Seven Souls I Still Love You Northern Soul 45 Italy Pic Sleeve Cbs HearMilton Parker Women Like It Harder Crossover Soul 45 Mr Parker's Closet Nos HearJack Montgomery Dearly Beloved Northern Soul 45 Scepter Demo Vinyl HearBetty O’brien She’ll Be Gone Northern Soul Ep 7” France Liberty HearBobby Reed The Time Is Right For Love Crossover Soul 45 Bell Nos HearThe New Yorkers Don't Want To Be Your Fool Northern Sweet Soul 45 Tac-full HearPamoja Oooh Baby Mega Rare *m-* Crossover 45 Northern Soul Funk Fantastic! Hear!Porgy And The Monarchs My Heart Cries For You Northern Soul 45 Musicor HearBarbara Mcnair You're Gonna Love My Baby Northern Soul 45 Motown Demo HearLynne Randell Stranger In My Arms Northern Soul 45 Epic HearRokk Patience Funk Crossover Soul 45 Tollie Rare Long Version Nos HearDee Dee Sharp What Kind Of Lady Northern Soul 45 Gamble Demo HearBobby Sheen Rare Uk 1966 Original Demo / Promo / Northern Soul / "dr. Love"/ NmRising Sun Good Loving Mega Rare Orig 45 Northern Soul Modern Soul Funk Listen!Homegrown Syndrome Confrontation Mega Rare Modern Soul M- 45 Boogie Disco ListenTommy Navarro I Cried My Life Away Northern Soul 45 De Jac M- HearPazazz So Hard To Find Funk Soul Boogie 45 Pic Sleeve In Roads M- HearBarbara St Clair Teacherman Mega Rare Modern Soul 45 Northern Soul Disco BoogieDanny Moore Somebody New Northern Soul 45 Allrite M- HearLee Fields Take Me Back Mega Rare Northern Soul 45 Stunning! Crossover Funk HearNew Young Hearts A Little Togetherness Northern Soul 45 Soultown M- HearMichael & Raymond Man Without A Woman Northern Soul 45 Rca Demo Nos HearBilly Match I Want My Baby Starfire Rare Fl Rockabilly 45 Starday Custom ListenThe Montereys It Hurts So Much Northern Soul 45 Arwin Demo Nos HearThe Crystalites-splash Down--1969 Nu Beat/pama 45 Reggae Ska Derrick HarriottThe Marvellos Something's Burnin Northern Soul 45 Loma Demo HearElvis Presley,that's All Right,sun Label ,45 RpmThe Beatles - Please Please Me 1963 Uk 45 Red Parlophone 1stEsther Phillips Just Say Goodbye Northern Soul 45 Atlantic HearThe Phonetics Don't Let Love Get You Down Northern Soul 45 2 Sider Trudel HearMystery Of Sixes Oz Kbd Punk Ep 45 Holy Grail Diy Ex Dead Kennedys Super RareElvis Presley,milkcow Blues Boogie,sun Label ,45 RpmNorthern Soul - Tan Geers - Let My Heart & Soul Be Free 45 Okeh 4-7319 PromoSonee West Rock-ola Ruby Original Ultra Rare Buddy Holly Rockabilly 45 The Spiedels Dream Girl Northern Soul 45 Providence Demo HearThe Beatles - Love Me Do 1962 Uk 45 Red Parlophone 1stRoger Hatcher Sweetest Girl In The World Excello 2297 Northern Soul 45 DedicateMandrill Too Late Crossover Soul 45 Arista Demo M- HearMixed Emotions Gold Of My Life Crossover Soul Funk 45 Rock-way HearMartha Star No Part Time Love For Me Rare Northern Soul Stomper! Stunning Cond!Northern Soul Classic - Patti And The EmblemsThe Spellbinders Help Me Northern Deep Soul 45 Columbia Demo M- HearLela Martin You Can't Have Your Cake Northern Soul 45 2 Sider Melatone M- HearJo Stance Hey Girl Masterpiece Northern Soul Dancer M- 45 Crossover Funk Listen!Manzel Space Funk Soul 45 Breaks Fraternity HearCharles Otis I See Love Girl Mega Rare Northern Soul 45 Crossover Richard CaitonFi-dels Try A Little Harder Rare Stomping Northern Soul Orig 45 Superb! Listen!C On The Funk In The Disco Mega Rare Modern Soul 45 Boogie Northern Soul Listen!Amalgamated Label Reggae Skinhead 45 The Versatiles Lu-lu Bell 1969Johnny Sayles I Can’t Get Enough Northern Soul 45 St. Lawrence Demo HearDarondo Pulliam How I Got Over Rare Dorando Funky Sweet Soul 45 Ocampo HearJo Ann Henderson, "baby Please Don't Go", Northern Soul 45, PhonographWillie Tee - Walking Up A One Way Street 1966 Uk 45 AtlanticLed Zeppelin Iv 45rpm Clarity Test Pressing Box SetEddie Cochran - 20 Flight Rock 1958 Uk 45 London

Recent News: 45 Records

Source: Google News

Back in the day: HLOM artifacts stir recollections
The Daily News Online, August 30th

Milk came in a bottle, and a 45-rpm record was about $.85. Gas was $.22 a gallon. If you were Catholic and going to the movies you had to go to your church and check out the document called the Legion of Decency movie ratings. If it was not listed in...Read more

Plan your moves, then play with new educational toy
Montgomery Advertiser, August 30th

Priced at $130, the fully automatic turntables each include a dual magnet phono cartridge, a switchable built-in pre-amplifier and a 45 rpm adapter. Treat charging cables with care. If you're going to shell out hard-earned money for...Read more

New Products: Plan your moves, then play
USA TODAY, August 29th

An “educational” toy used to mean an ant farm or microscope for that budding scientist. But with Silicon Valley regularly minting rich young'uns who utilized their coding savvy to come up with a cool new app, maybe it's time to get junior into the...Read more

Todd Hale: It's hard to forget the 2015 Steele County Free Fair, August 28th

Throughout this past fair week, I've jotted down some notes to share with you in this column. It was a challenging week thanks to Mother Nature. We started out the week with what can be described as lousy weather for a fair. Tuesday and Wednesday were...Read more

Pirates broadcaster Greg Brown has taken a long road to the top
Pittsburgh Sporting News, August 28th

For some reason, the record sped up from the 45 rpm format to 78 rpm and Brown did his best to keep up. He compared his movement to a whirling dervish. His brother laughed and declared that to be the routine. Brown performed it and got the same...Read more

50 things about Arlo Guthrie's 'Alice's Restaurant' on its 50th anniversary
Boston Globe, August 26th

It was 50 years ago, Thanksgiving in 1965, when an 18-year-old rising folk singer named Arlo Davy Guthrie drove up from Queens, N.Y., to Great Barrington to visit a friend named Alice Brock. While he was there, he did Alice and her husband, Ray, a favor...Read more

Downsizing My Home and Discovering That I Am a Hoarder
Huffington Post, August 26th

(Halloween decorations from year one, every book ever purchased, greeting cards from forever ago, Bat Mitzvah RSVP notes from 15 years ago, 45 rpm records and memorabilia from my youth, every newspaper story in print with my byline, my jewelry box ...Read more

2 days early, collector buys sheets of new Elvis Presley stamps
Memphis Commercial Appeal, August 10th

The covers, designed to look like the sleeve of a 45 rpm vinyl record, are dotted with circular cancellation marks bearing the date Aug. 10. Saks also received a receipt for his $23.52 purchase that bears the same date stamp. “I thought, just as a lark...Read more