This year saw the 70th birthday of the 7″ vinyl single, the 45pm, or sometimes referred to by customers as ‘the small ones’.
It’s a format that revolutionised pop music. In 1949, RCA Victor became the first label to roll out records that were smaller than it’s predecessor, the “78”. Other labels joined the market and the singles revolution began.
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.
Some singles had picture sleeves or B sides of outtakes.
Apparently, 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, fans wanted albums, and the cassette format (and even the wasteful “cassette single” and “mini-CD” format) began overtaking vinyl 45s.
The seven-inch never fully recovered, but it nonetheless endures and we continue to seek out the rare, collectable and everything in between.
Explore what’s in today at eil.com here and watch our short video…
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