Happy Birthday to the 45′ Record
In 1949: RCA Records released a new smaller record with a bigger hole in the middle, called the 45 RPM. Record store owners weren’t all that impressed. Customers who had grown used to 78s were now confused by 33 1/3 LPs and 45 RPM singles. The 45’s took a little bit to catch on but when they did sales increased 260%. Not bad for a new type of format! Throughout the years and changes in music, kids were the driving force in sales. Just image when Elvis hit the scene… “That’s Alright,” in 1954 started Elvis on his way to stardom. Before that lot of country artists enjoyed their time with the 45 records. The first 45 rpm disc, Texarkana Baby by country & western singer Eddy Arnold, was issued by RCA in the US on 31 March 1949.
I have my own collection and it all started when I was really young boy. I remember Chubby Checker, Dee Dee Sharp and a lot of Elvis 45’s. In my collection, I would guess I have close to 1,000 45’s. It also helped in my job as a roller rink DJ for many years as well; working the bars like The Main Act, New York NY, and The Ritz. Anyway, since I loved collecting 45’s there is something that goes hand in hand with records… the Jukebox! The Jukebox was always a love of mine for many years and I currently own three that I have on display at home. What’s fun about having my jukeboxes at home is that I like changing the music for the seasons. Christmas is always fun filling my Rock-Ola with all really different Christmas tunes you don’t normally hear. Valentine’s Day I fill the Jukebox with love songs that remind me of the Detroit radio show they called, “Pillow Talk.” Summer is filled with party songs as well as scary favorites around Halloween.
Seventy-four years later can you believe I am still buying 45’s? I typically search for rare discs from England or a cleaner copy of a song that is getting worn out in the jukebox. There is a website I go to that is amazing called Discgogs.com; this site is amazing if you are looking for a certain album from the past or a special version of a 45′ that was not available in the United States. For example, something as simple as the Knack’s “My Sharona.” The US version is shorter than the Canadian release and doesn’t cut the guitar solo off.
So take some time and remember an old friend — the 45′ — today. Album sales have returned in 2023 so maybe there’s still a chance for the 45′ to make a return!