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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Postal service to celebrate music legend with forever stampWTOP, March 7th
The stamp sheet contains 16 stamps and resembles a 45 rpm record sleeve with a painting of Hendrix's face complemented by vibrant swirls and small icons referencing his song lyrics and other aspects of his life. The stamps themselves feature images of ...Read more
West Des Moines and Area NewsDesMoinesRegister.com, March 7th
The barbershop quartet 45 RPM will perform Saturday night at ArtsCentral, 405 Maple St. in Waukee. The concert, 7 to 9 p.m., is a part of the Waukee Area Arts Council's Home Grown Talent Series. Members of the group come from the Des Moines-metro area ...Read more
Trans World Entertainment Founder/CEO RetiringHome Media Magazine, March 6th
Higgins broke into retail in the late 1950s as a music “rack jobber” stocking 45 rpm singles and vinyl albums in department stores. He founded Trans World Music Corp. in 1972. Trans World went public in 1986. At the height of music CD's popularity in...Read more
'Hoarder's heaven' estate sale in Huguenot on Friday and Saturday (with photos)SILive.com, March 6th
The electronics include receivers, turntables, microphones, amplifiers, piles of 78, 33 and 45 RPM records, reel-to-reel tapes, VHS tapes, CDs and more. "There is a lot of high-end stuff, including antiques, vintage clothing, jewelry, perfume, glass...Read more
Doug Clark: Record collector preserves best of his generationThe Spokesman Review, March 5th
This is all about 45 vinyl records, the 7-inch discs that spin at 45 rpm and were first released by RCA in about 1949. Five years later, the 45 became the symbol of the youth generation. They were the perfect medium for releasing rock 'n' roll songs...Read more
Possessed By Joy: An American Drummer In CubaWRTI, March 5th
There had already been several brief possessions at this last toque for Yemayá, the deity associated with the ocean. Suddenly, a man in his early 20s was mounted. He began to spin in place quickly, like a 33 rpm Sufi dervish played at 45 rpm. He placed...Read more
New Graceland exhibit gives glimpse into life of young ElvisGadsden Times, March 5th
New Graceland exhibit gives glimpse into life of young Elvis. LANCE MURPHEY | ASSOCIATED PRESS A 45 rpm record of “I Forgot to Remember to Forget” is one of the items in a new “60 Years of Elvis” exhibit, seen Feb. 21 inside an annex at Graceland in ...Read more
“In the Year 2525” 45 rpm recordLincoln Journal Star, February 21st
2014-02-21T17:49:00Z 2014-02-25T17:00:05Z “In the Year 2525” 45 rpm record JournalStar.com. February 21, 2014 5:49 pm. The biggest hit to come out of Nebraska, Zager and Evans' “In the Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus)” spent six weeks at the top ...Read more