The 7″ single is 60 years old!

Author: Colin | Published: 19/3/09


The switch from shellac to vinyl came out of necessity. Beetles needed to make the shellac crust came from south-east Asia and supplies were blockaded during the war. In June 1948, CBS-Columbia unveiled the LP (long-player) on hiss-free, durable vinyl, and its own custom player. Nine months later, on 31 March 1949, RCA released the first commercial seven-inch single, spinning at 45rpm. Eddy Arnold’s Texarkana Baby / Bouquet of Roses was on bright green vinyl, soon followed by Arthur Crudup’s That’s All Right / Crudup After Hours on cerise vinyl – both rock’n’roll primers. The two formats, singles and four-track EPs, were colour-coded – green vinyl for country and polka, red for classical, yellow for children’s, blue for international, cerise for rhythm’n’blues.

My first 7″ single was Complex by Gary Numan. I wonder if I’ve still got it somewhere. I love the format, my only problem is that to change the speed of my record player from 33rpm to 45rpm I have to lift off the turntable and move to belt. Maybe I need one of these for my singles:


Links: BBC article
See also: Data 70 – Space Loops, Volume One and Two, Kraftwerk: Pocket Calculator, Rhythm & Sound – See Mi Yah 7″s, The Journal of Popular Noise – Vol.1 Issues 4-6, Various – 3 x 7″s, Various Artists – Recovery.


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