Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Friday, March 15, 2019

When it arrived 70 years ago today, the 45 rpm single, a format that would revolutionize pop music, seemed less radical than simply confusing. On March 15th, 1949, RCA Victor became the first label to roll out records that were smaller (seven inches in diameter) and held less music (only a few minutes a side) than the in-vogue 78s.



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"But with the release of those titles, and other companies soon entering the market, the singles revolution began. It's impossible to underestimate the impact of the 45, which was the iTunes 99-cent download or surprise single (à la the Black Keys' sudden "Lo/Hi") of its day.

Teenagers of the Fifties took to the portable, less-expensive format; one ad at the time priced the records at 65 cents each. One of rock's most cataclysmic early hits, Bill Haley and the Comets' "Rock Around the Clock," sold 3 million singles in 1955.

In the decades that followed, everyone from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones through Patti Smith, Nirvana and the White Stripes released their first music on 45s. A handful of classic-rock standards, including Bob Dylan's "Positively 4th Street" and the Stones' "Honky Tonk Women," were only initially released as singles, unattached to albums.

According to the New York Times, the peak year for the seven-inch single was 1974, when 200 million were sold. By the early Eighties, the 45 began dying a slow, humiliating death.

The number of jukeboxes in the country declined, boomer rock fans increasingly gravitated toward albums, and the cassette format (and even the wasteful "cassette single" and "mini-CD" format) began overtaking vinyl 45s." excerpts

#1 | Posted by Corky at 2019-03-15 03:41 PM | Reply

From what I remember from back in the day...

While the smaller (7 inch) size was immediately noticeable, one of the main reasons why RCA created the 45rpm disc was to get royalties.

RCA had patented the large center hole of 45's, and was the only manufacturer of a player that could handle the larger center hole. ("spiders" later put a dent in this uniqueness)

As the picture in the cited article shows, the 45rpm player was a unique player that could not play regular 78's or LPs.

#2 | Posted by LampLighter at 2019-03-15 03:53 PM | Reply

Too lazy to google it...
Was a "spider" that plastic gadget you'd attach to a record player and it would fit on different records?

If so/if not what the frig were those things? I wouldn't have ever recalled those even existing, or having the need for them, if not for reading your post, and now I'm shocked I could forget them.

#3 | Posted by 101Chairborne at 2019-03-15 04:02 PM | Reply

Big Mama Thornton - Hound Dog (1952) Blues


It was not until Janis Joplin covered Thornton's "Ball 'n' Chain" that it became a hit. Thornton did not receive compensation for her song, but Joplin gave her the recognition she deserved by having Thornton open for her. Joplin found her singing voice through Thornton, who praised Joplin's version of "Ball 'n' Chain", saying, "That girl feels like I do."[24]


#4 | Posted by Corky at 2019-03-15 04:26 PM | Reply

45rpm spider


#5 | Posted by lamplighter at 2019-03-15 04:33 PM | Reply

Ricky Nelson - Travelin' Man - 1961 - 45 rpm


For talent show in 3rd grade I brought my favorite 45 to elementary school and pantomimed Ricky Nelson, lol. Also had Chubby Checker's The Twist.


#6 | Posted by Corky at 2019-03-15 04:37 PM | Reply

I googled it immediately after publishing 3.

Thanks again for sparking good memories.

#7 | Posted by 101Chairborne at 2019-03-15 05:57 PM | Reply

I grew-up in the 60's and can't remember ever seeing a 45 in our house. Lots of full-size 33 1/3 albums and even a few older 78's that my mother had, but no 45's. My dad eventually bought a cassette player and later on I bought them a CD player that I hooked to a set of speakers that he had installed years before in the ceiling of the living room.

Now my friends had 45's and one of my buddies even got a hold of a 45 player designed to be installed under the dash of a car. It worked fine as long as you weren't driving on a rough road.


#8 | Posted by OCUser at 2019-03-15 07:21 PM | Reply

I used to have a 45 player for my car... pre 4 track and 8 track days... it would hold 10 of them suspended on a spindle ... with this itty bitty arm... play and drop them on the little shelf thingie... took up the entire bottom half of my 58 VW's dashboard

it also used to trash my records so bad... then this local guy who ran a junk/antique store turned me on to waxing them with furniture polish ... like people used to do with 78's in order to get a few more miles out of them... of course if I crossed rail road tracks while it was playing I could kiss Norman Greenbaum good bye.

#9 | Posted by RightisTrite at 2019-03-16 06:55 AM | Reply

hmmm does anyone remember the little records that came in the back of cereal boxes? You cut them with scissors and then put them on the record player - I think it was mostly mono. Dad got pissed off when I used his big Grundig Stereo.



#10 | Posted by Pegasus at 2019-03-16 09:29 AM | Reply

Had sister that bought 45's that I'd play when she was away. I remember Hound Dog playing out of her portable Emerson AM (nuvistor) radio and The Tokens 45rpm on her player.
My first 45 was
Telstar by the Tornados.

Later on I would pour coin into a juke box at Crazyhorse Billiards while playing pinball. Jukebox was 6 plays for 50 cents in early 60's. In '68, SIU's first student
run radio station (Schneider Hall) played 45's into a mixer. The ceramic cartridges on the players tore up the first 5 seconds of all the records getting them cued up.
While Elvis played in concert at SIU Arena the station played his songs too. Bubble Puppy, Dion (Abraham, Martin and John), Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company on and on.
Norman Greenbaum Remix

45's were king when I started to do morning drive in St Louis at an FM station in 1969. The station didn't play 45's or keep up with charts but I was starved for
some phone-in action so I went through the box of promo 45's and started to play some.
The phones started to light up and new listeners to the new station became regulars in that time slot.
What I found out was that interest in the music was from playing B-sides too along with recordings that hadn't made it onto the charts. A lot of lesser known promos were still good songs that were skipped over all too often.

#11 | Posted by LesWit at 2019-03-16 01:48 PM | Reply

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