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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'Linus and Lucy' join the Eric Mintel Quartet at The KateShoreline Times, December 1st
I want to constantly introduce the masses to this music, to jazz, piano and this quartet — its spontaneity and energy.” Mintel says he knew he wanted to be a composer and professional pianist since the day he discovered a dusty 45-rpm. recording of...Read more
Makin' it better: Montana woman carries on sister's dressmaking traditionHelena Independent Record, December 1st
reached their intended recipients. All Blain is hoping for in return is photos of the smiles. The children have no way of knowing the story of the passion and compassion that went into them in Montana – and the 45-rpm records that supplied the...Read more
Musical nostalgiaThe Economist (blog), December 1st
But for some, it represents punk's first articulation on 45-rpm vinyl. At their first gig at New York's CBGB a year earlier, sporting leather jackets and T-shirts, Richard Hell (pictured) and Tom Verlaine (formerly Richard Meyers and Tom Miller...Read more
Children's film festival offers youth new perspectives from around the globeIndiana Daily Student, November 30th
This short movie follows a young woman named Pia who discovers a 45-rpm vinyl record at a vintage store and, upon playing, travels through time, visiting various parts of her life. “She gets older and younger as she listens to the records,” LoPilato said...Read more
Makin' it better: Missoula woman carries on sister's dressmaking traditionThe Missoulian, November 30th
The children have no way of knowing the story of the passion and compassion that went into them in Montana – and the 45-rpm records that supplied the backbeat. ***. Blain used to greet her sister with a cheery “Hey, Judes.” That has become the official ...Read more
Using Key Value Factors to Evaluate Vinyl RecordsClaimsJournal.com, November 30th
The most common are the 33?, the 78, and the 45 rpm (rotations per minute). They can also be described by dimensions, such as 12-inch, 10-inch, and 7-inch being the most common; their time capacity, such as LP for “long playing”, a “single” and an EP, ...Read more
Turning the tables in generation gapThe Herald Bulletin, November 30th
a tool that allows computer users to communicate with each other by sharing email, or electronic mail, pictures (these used to be recorded on Kodak film and developed at drugstores), music (which used to come in 78 rpm, 45 rpm and larger record...Read more
Meet the Alabama radio deejay who's spun only vinyl on his weekly show for 25 ...AL.com, November 3rd
Labbe plays only 45 rpm, 7-inch vinyl records on "Reelin' in the Years," airing live 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays on Huntsville station WLRH 89.3 FM. "That's what my show's all about, the era of the 45 rpm record," Labbe says. "Basically, popular music...Read more