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]

Mybeatles.net

Mybeatles.net

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]

317X

317X

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    

Northern Soul United Sounds It's All Over (baby), And When It's OverNorthern Soul 45 George Blackwell Can't Lose My Head On Smoke Ricky Allen Cut You Lose Rare Northern X-over Soul 45 On Tamboo Vg+U2 Out Of Control "three" 3-song 45 Rpm 12" Debut Ep Cbs Ireland First PressingCookie Scott & The Chevelles-i Don't Care /misled M- Northern Soul 45Rare Northern Soul 45 - Vernon Harrel - Slick Chick - Lescay3011 Wlp - New BreedBadfinger - No Matter What 1970 Uk 45 Apple Acetate The BeatlesFunk 45 Melvin Bliss Synthetic Substitution On SunburstRare Northern Soul 45/ Eddie Spencer "if This Is Love" Near Mint HearBeatles 1963 Us Veejay 45 - From Me To You / Thank You Girl Vj522 Promo Demo !The Isonics Sugar/he Needs Her Rare Northern Soul 45 Kammy Vg+See & Hear Soul Popcorn 45 Vernon Harrel Slick Chick Brown Vinyl E+Beatles 1964 Us Tollie Veejay 45 - Love Me Do / P.s. I Love You Dj Demo Promo !Northern Soul 45 New Wanderers This Man In Love/adam & Eve On Ready Vg++/nmHalloween R&b Rocker Tittyshaker 45 Tony & The Monstrosities Igor's Party HearRhino 39 Xerox Original 7 45 Kbd Punk Rare Hardcore Dangerhouse Germs Black FlagLucille Mathis I'm Not Your Regular Woman Northern X-over Soul 45 On A-betNorthern Soul 45/ Wally Cox "this Man" Near Mint HearThe Sheppards 45 "stubborn Heart/how Do You Like It" Mirwood Dj Northern Soul ExRare Sammy Ambrose - Welcome To Dreamsville - Musicor - Northern Soul - Vg SoundElvis Presley 45 Original Sun 210 Good Rockin' TonightGuns N' Roses - Live ?!*@ Like A Suicide Ep 45 Us Only Ltd.uzi Suicide Usr-001The Idle Race - Imposters Of Lifes Magazine Superb Rare 1967 Liberty Psych 45!!!Pink Floyd Lot Of 38 Lps 45 Cd Blue Vinyl Division Sealed Promos Japan AtomHoly Disciples-trying To Make A Hundred /peace Of Mind-northern Funk 45 On SongThe Admirations Heaven Is In Your Arms Northern Soul 45 On PareeSteve King : Satan Is Her Name (mercury)orig Mod Popcorn Northern Soul 45 ListenDavid Bowie - Cant Help Thinking About Me Og Uk Pye 45 Demo Full Sound FileJo Ann Henderson-just Leave Me Alone /baby Please Don't Go-female Vocal Jazz 45Rare Original Elvis Presley "that's All Right" 1954 Sun Records #209 45Blues 45 Baby Boy Warren Mattie Mae Blue Lake HearErnie & Top Notes 45 Dap Walk Fordom Rare New Orleans Funk!Brunetta E I Suoi Balubas 45 Baluba Shake - Italian Mod Girl Garage Rocker OhearCookie Scott & The Chevelles I Don't Care Rare Chicago Northern Soul 45 On OrrCarl Mann - Gonna Rock And Roll Tonight / Rockin' Love - Jaxon Rockabilly 45 Garage 45 Shady Daze I'll Make You Pay Usa Hear NmLatin Soul 45 Joe Bataan Subway Joe/nuevo Jala Jala On Fania The Beatles - We Can Work It Out/day Tripper - Uk 1965 *demo* Parlophone 45Attractions You Don't Know Boy Northern Soul 45 On Junebug Strong Vg/strong Vg+Lot Of 85 Rare Northern, Funk, R&b And Soul 45s, Full List, Rare Records!!Split Decision Band 45 Watchin' Out Network Holy Grail Rare Modern SoulLashawn Collins What You Gonna Do Now Northern X-over Soul/funk 45 On SincereRare Northern Soul 45/ The New Group "love Can't Be Modernized" Very Clean HearNorthern Soul 45 La Reine La Mar That's Not The Way To Love On CloudJack Montgomery Dearly Beloved Northern Soul 45 On ScepterGarage 45 Craig I Must Be Mad Fontana Hear Vg++ Funk 45 Maggie Thrett Soupy/put A Little Time Away On Dynovoice Vg++The Beatles, Singles Collection, Nm- Box Set Of Twenty-six 45's, Ps! Rock'n'rollNorthern Soul 45 Billy Sha-rae I'm Gone/let's Do It Again On Spectrum Nm WlpNorthern Soul 45 Constellations I Didn't Know How To On GeminiHear - Rare R&b / Soul 45 - Harold Jackson - The Freedom Riders - Edsel # 787Soul Funk 45/ The Vibrettes "humpty Dump Pt 1" Very Clean HearShotgun Express - I Could Feel The Whole World Columbia 45 Rod Stewart Superb Nm70s Soul 45 Charisma Band Ain't Nothing Like Your Love/charisma Road On BuddahLiving Color Thank The Lord For Love Northern Soul 45 On MadhatterElton John - I've Been Loving You Mega Rare 1968 1st 45 On Philips!!!!Lord Dent And His Invaders : Wolf Call Orig Nw Inst Tittyshaker Sleaze 45 ListenNorthern Soul 45 E.j. Rush Stick Tight (to Me)/hole In Your Soul On CookingElvis Presley Mystery Train / Love Me Orig Uk Hmv 45 -pop 295 .stunning Copy Sweet Things 45 "i'm In A World Of Trouble/baby's Blue" Date Northern Soul Vg+

Recent News: 45 Records

Source: Google News

Haim's Alana-Shaped Vinyl and More Funky Records
FDRMX, September 20th

Moving into 10-inch vinyl, screamo bands Jeromes Dream and Orchid both released skull-shaped cutouts. These spun at 45 RPM and, unlike the 7-inchers, were one-sided. The spinnable skulls could be purchased in black and white, blood red, and even ...Read more

Olde Time Italian Festival turns 10 in Wildwood
Shore News Today, September 20th

a grape stomping contest and a spaghetti eating contest from 3 to 4:30 p.m., followed by more live entertainment until 10:30 p.m. Featuring, Bittersweet, Jeremiah Hunter Band, Just in Time, 45 RPM, Tre Bella, Vito Piccone & the Elegants, and the...Read more

Fully Trained!
RollingStone.com, September 16th

The Turtles: The Turtles 45 RPM Vinyl Singles Collection (FloEdCo/Manifesto) Now more than ever before—when all is files and all is streamed and everybody can theoretically hear everything—owning physical music objects has become a statement. And in ...Read more

On The Record: Gary Clark Jr., Soul Track Mind
austin360 (blog), September 16th

SEPT. 23: Whiskey Shivers, self-titled, release show Sept. 26 at Scoot Inn. SEPT. 23: Spray Paint, “Clean Blood, Regular Acid” (Monofonus), release show Sept. 19 at Hotel Vegas. SEPT. 25: Kim Simpson, “Tex-Mex Guitar” vinyl 45 rpm EP, release show Sept...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 artwork
The 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 Show
D 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