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    

The Wrigglers - The Cooler / You Cannot Know 7" 45 Single Uk 1968 On Giant Gn 26Northern Soul 45 Gene Woodbury Ever Again Del-val Hear Vg++ " The Beatles Collection " Original Earliest 1976 Uk Box Set 24 X 45'sRare 1960's 45 Records Lot Of 134 Beatles Elvis Soul R&b Doo Wop PromosNorthern Soul 45 Sam & Kitty I've Got Something Good Four Brothers Hear NmCrossover Soul 45 J.p. Robinson Our Day Is Here Blue Candle Hear Betty La Vette ~ What Condition My Condition Is In ~ Karen Northern Soul 45 Vg+ 70s Soul 45 Tony Troutman What's The Use Jerri Hear Little Willie John 45 "i'm Shakin' Bw Person To Person" Original King R&b NmNorthern Soul 45 Dynamics I Need Your Love Rca Victor Hear Nm70s Soul Funk 45 Split Decision Band Watchin' Out Network Hear NmBigger Boss Reggae 45 Dyna Jr 1837-1 If This World Were Mine Rare 2sider ♫Edwin Star ~ My Kind Of Woman / You're My Mellow ~ Ric-tic Northern Soul 45 Vg+ Harvey ~ Any Way You Wanta / She Loves Me So Tri-phi 45 Northern Soul Motown Vg+Led Zeppelin Ii 45rpm Clarity Test Pressing Box SetNorthern Soul 45 Ambers Potion Of Love Smash Hear Record 45 Rpm 7" Bad Brains / Stay Close To Me / Pay To Cum Punk Kbd 198060s R&b Soul Wendy Rene After Laughter U.s. Blue Stax 7" 45Vyt And The World Ultra Rare Promo 1966 Cbs Oz 45 Rpm 7" Garage Beat The RemainsNorthern Soul 45 Jay Traynor Up & Over Abc Hear Frank Wilson Do I Love You (indeed I Do) 45 7" Tamla MotownHigh Keys-1966 Verve "living A Lie" 1st Press Promo 45-vg/vg+/rare Northern Soul70s Soul 45 Bill Harris Am I Hot, Am I Cold Rca Hear Elvis Presley - Blue Suede Shoes 7" 45 Single First Pressing Uk 1956 Hmv 7m 405Rare Northern Soul Seven Souls "i Still Love You" Okeh Listen70s Soul/funk 45 Vise Baby, I Love You Chocolate Mama Hear Belita Woods Magic Corner/grounded Original 1967 Moira 106 Nm Northern Soul R&b Rare Northern Soul 45 Cliff Nobles "my Love Is Getting Stronger" Atlantic 2352Elvis Presley - Rip It Up 7" 45 Rpm Single First Pressing Uk 1956 Hmv 45-pop 305Record 45 Rpm 7" Glenn Danzig / Who Killed Marilyn? W/pic Sleeve Punk MisfitsFantastic Four ~ Can't Stop Looking For My Baby ~ Ric-tic 45 Northern Soul Ex Northern Soul Jackie Wilson "because Of You" Brunswick Demo ListenJoe Turner - Lipstick, Powder & Paint - Gold London 45rpmRecord 45 Rpm 7" Kraut / Kill For Cash Nyc Punk Kbd Cabbage Records 1981 W/sleevThe Verve A Northern Soul Original Uk 2lp Ex/near MintRarer Motown Northern Soul Mod Marjorie Black - One More Hurt - Sue Listen HereNorthern Soul 45 Eddie Bo From This Day On Seven B Hear Metallica - Kill Em All - 2008 Reissue 2 X Vinyl 180g Lp 45 Rpm Series Near MintNorthern Soul 45 Lada Edmund Jr The Larue Decca Hear NmNorthern Soul 45 Cavaliers Hold To My Baby Rca Victor Hear NmRecord 45 Rpm 7" Breakouts / All We Wanna Do Punk 1978 Kbd Accelerator RecordsFrank Wilson - Do I Love You - Rsd2015 - Motown -northern Soul - Chris Clark -Kip Tyler Rumble Rock/ She's My Witch 45 7" Nm Us Ebb Original Rockabilly ListenSilvertone Sears Roebuck 45 Rpm & Ep 1950’s Wood Record Holder Carrying CaseNorthern Soul 45 The Ringleaders "baby, What Has Happened ..." On M-pac 1966Northern Soul 45 Shawn Robinson My Dear Heart Minit Vg++/nm Hear Northern Soul 45 Martha Star No Part Time Love For Me Thelma Nm Hear Northern Soul 45 Exits You Got To Have Money Gemini Hear Vg++/nmDee Edwards ~ Why Can't There Be Love ~ Gm Northern Soul Funk 45 Vg+ The Pioneers - I Love No Other Girl / Milton Boothe 7" 45rpm Uk Caltone Tone 119Northern Soul 45 September Jones I'm Coming Home Kapp Hear Elvis Presley - Hearbreak Hotel 7" 45 Single First Pressing Uk 1956 Hmv 7m 385Gene Maltais Gang War / Raging Sea Rare Original Rockabilly 45 Lilac Nh RockerBilly Thompson.beautiful Black Eyed Girl. Wand .northern Soul.crossover SoulBee Gees April Byron He's A Thief Promo 1966 7" 45 Rpm Downunder Label Oz RockNorthern Soul Funk 45 Curtis Liggins What It Is? Kaycee-soul Hear Vg++/nmCarlton & His Shoes - Love Me Forever - Supreme 45 Vg++//The Purple Hearts Lobby Loyde Oz Garage 7" 45 Rpm Sunshine Records Label 1967Elvis Presley - Mystery Train 7" 45 Single First Pressing Uk 1956 Hmv 45-pop 295Rap 45 Mobb Deep "shook Ones" Pt.1 And 2 7"

Recent News: 45 Records

Source: Google News

Record Your Own Music and Eat a Sandwich at Songbyrd Record Cafe, Now ...
Washington City Paper (blog), April 20th

"You can talk into it, sing into it, do whatever you want, and it records directly onto a 45 [rpm record] on the spot. It plays it back for you and then spits it out for you to take home that very minute." Edmonson, who previously worked at Right...Read more

USA: Thousands of protest songs hidden out of fear of retribution
Freemuse, April 20th

Out of fear of retribution many American protest musicians hid perhaps thousands of protest songs in plain sight: on the B-sides of the small 45 rpm records that were then commonly used to distribute singles in the era of the civil rights protest...Read more

On Record Store Day, longtime Allendale collector celebrates forever vinyl
NorthJersey.com, April 17th

For instance, he said someone who owns a 45 rpm of The Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love" may want to sell the record for $100 and not realize that the sleeve alone is worth $900. Iuliucci said he would let the person know about the true value of their item...Read more

Anniversary of death sparks memories of meeting TV icon
Chestnut Hill Local, April 17th

(By the way, I loved the music of Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, Clyde McPhatter, the Flamingos, the Drifters, the Clovers, etc., and I had a huge collection of 45-RPM rock 'n' roll records from the '50s, which...Read more

Ragged Records celebrating Record Store Day
Quad City Times, April 17th

Record Store Day is a national event held once a year, on the third Saturday of April, during which more than 400 limited-edition titles will be released in LP, EP, 45-rpm and box set formats. A complete list of titles is available at recordstoreday...Read more

Extended Play: Vinyl Fans Flocking to Format Creates Supply Issues
Fox Business, April 17th

United opened in 1949, “the same year the 45 (rpm single) debuted,” notes Millar, adding that the Nashville facility turns out some 30,000-40,000 records per day in claiming 30 to 40% share of the vinyl market. United is so busy it's turning away business...Read more

Vassallo: Music's Last Great Decade — the 1970s
HottyToddy.com, April 17th

There were enough great songs to keep your head spinning trying to keep up with the 45 rpm's. The 1970's reflected diversity as never seen. The Beatles ushered in the decade, but by the end they were well into their solo careers. Here is a tip of the...Read more

Your guide to Record Store Day in Detroit and Hamtramck
Model D, April 17th

A major destination for soul music fanatics around the world, Peoples specializes in funk, soul, and R&B with a huge selection of hard-to-find 45 rpm singles. Hales' commitment to the local music community is deep. You never know when a Detroit music ...Read more