The 75th Anniversary of the Single

The 75th Anniversary of the Single
Authored By John Nicholson
It's apparently the 75th anniversary of the 7” single this year. If you have any, they are quite rare. Its easier to get 1950s 78rpm shellac versions. I have some Little Richard and Fats Domino early vinyl singles and they are worth a few hundred pounds but they were also released on 10” 78’s and these are worth little.

Because 78s were so brittle, it was inevitable that they’d be replaced and by 1960 they didn't exist even allowing for the fact that there wasn't much else to do singles were immediately popular. Unlike later, they were usually not also an album track.

The labels became very synonymous with the artist, Chuck Berry for example was on the red and yellow of Pye International for example and the records became very iconic. They were so popular from the start that there had to be something metaphysically attractive about this seemingly run-of-the-mill piece of plastic. The ones in Europe which had a picture sleeve were coveted. But ask anyone who was a teenager in those times and they’ll tell you how important they were.

I suppose they were inextricably linked to the growing youth culture for many years into the 80s which seems a long time ago now. But I still remember handling singles with a kind of reverence, reading the credits on the label, searching for more info in the run out grooves. It was one of very few connections you had to the group.

It seems sad that kids don’t have the same thrill today and that music is so disposable.

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