45 RPM PAGES & LINKS||
The 45 RPM record was invented by RCA in the late 1940s or early 1950s as a replacement to the 78 rpm record that was common for the first 40 years of recorded music. 45s or singles as they would be popularly known, were configured to hold one song on each side of the disc. 45s are 7 inches in diameter and have a big spindle hole in the middle. 45s from other countries have a smaller, LP sized spindle hole. Most 45s are black in color though some were released with different colors as illustrated by the samples on this page.|
Singles probably gained in popularily in the mid to late 50s as popular music became dominated by rock n roll. Kids snapped up hit 45s issued by various record companies. The typical single would have a "hit" side called the A side which usually got most of the radio airplay. The other side of the 45 was known as the B side and in many cases usually contained a "throwaway" track by the same artist. In some cases the B side got airplay and became more popular than the A side.
Several 45s over the years contained what is known as a "double sided" hit, meaning that both the A and B side became hits and charted as such. Probably the most famous of these was Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel" which was issued on RCA back in 1956 and spent 11 weeks at the top of the Billboard chart.
From the 1950s and into the 1980s, the 45 ruled as the medium for single releases. Teenagers continued to snapped 45s up as they were introduced to audiences through the radio and later, in dance clubs. Probably the most attractive thing about the 45 was that they were cheap in comparison to the price of their long playing siblings, the LP (33 1/3 RPM record). In the early days most 45s sold for under a dollar. The price of 45s inflated in the 1980s to about $2 each, which contributed in part to the format's gradual demise.
45's are still available today in limited quantities and as reissues. You have to go to specialty record stores that contain these since most mainstream stores carry only CDs. Many small, independent labels still issue 45s. Most of these sell for about $4 to $5 now.
Photos: Banner 45's include Madonna's "True Blue" clear blue vinyl on Sire (1986), The Beatle's "Hey Jude" on Apple (1968), Grand Funk Railroad's "We're An American Band" on clear yellow vinyl (1973) and Whitney Houston's picture sleeve to "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" (1987). The red record below is from a group called The Sweet Marie and their hit "Stella's Candy Store" (1972). The Grand Funk Railroad 45 "We're An American Band" is pictured in its entirety.
LISTEN TO AND WATCH THIS CLASSIC 45
More Oldies Charts at the Hawaii Radio & Television Guide Archive!