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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On The Record: Gary Clark Jr., Soul Track Mindaustin360 (blog), September 16th
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A Lovely Night: Fred Armisen Joins Punk Supergroup Dead Men Walking ...Yahoo Music (blog), September 15th
"Neat Neat Neat," "Wait for the Blackout," "New Rose," and "Smash It Up"; the Stray Cats' "Runaway Boys," "Rumble in Brighton" (retitled "Rumble in West Hollywood"), and "Rock This Town"; the Alarm's "The Stand," "45 RPM," and "Sold Me Down the...Read more
'Forever Plaid' shows its true stripes in Beck Center productionCleveland Jewish News, September 15th
all jukebox musicals of this ilk, including “The Marvelous Wonderettes” and “The Bikinis,” era-specific Top-40 tunes are recycled, mixed with a flimsy skeletal storyline, and targeted at audiences old enough to have heard those songs on vinyl and...Read more
Remembering the blizzard of 1950Troy Daily News, September 14th
One of the more popular items for the girls was a portable 45-rpm record player, while the boys were more into balsa wood airplanes and plastic model planes and ships from Revell and others. Slinkies and Silly Putty were big on the market and yo-yos ...Read more
Music Review: The Turtles - 'The Turtles 45 RPM Vinyl Singles Collection'seattlepi.com (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
WBID's September Artwalk features Disney songs and artworkThe Star-Ledger, September 10th
Children singing Disney songs, a DJ spinning 45 rpm records, and great art make up the Washington Business Improvement District's monthly Artwalk on Sept. 26, the artwalk finale for the 2014 season. The Artwalk features receptions at various venues ...Read more
Mephisto & Co. [TrackList follows] – Minnesota Orchestra/ Eiji Oue – Reference ...Audiophile Audition, September 9th
Mephisto & Co. [TrackList follows] – Minnesota Orchestra/ Eiji Oue – Reference Recordings (double 45 rpm vinyl). A 45 rpm 200-gram vinyl version of the orchestral favorites album which has been on the TAS Super Disc List since its CD release in 1998...Read more
Thursday Night Music: 45 RPM Records and a Yogurt Shop Hosts a Noise ShowD Magazine, August 21st
First things first: There is a Town Hall Arts Budget Meeting at Dallas City Performance Hall tonight. According to the DMN's Rudy Bush, the bulk of the allotted funding “now goes to facility upkeep in places like the Arts District instead of paying...Read more