Monday, February 27, 2012

COLLECTION #173: Early 45 Record Albums

I remember the time, when as a small child, there were 3 types of records available: 78s, 45s, and 33s (which were also known as LPs, or long-playing). 78s were the older types of records, which had been around for about 50 years, and were phased out by the early 1950s. The numbers denote the record speed: 78 was 78 RPM, or revolutions per minute. The turntable spun around quite fast on a 78! These 78 records generally consisted of one song per side, and so since many recording artists wanted to record more than a couple of songs, multiple records were placed in 'albums'. This was generally a bound cardboard book of sorts, with paper sleeves for the records. You can see an earlier post of a few of my old 78s here.

In the late 1940s, a new type of record, and new speed was developed. These records were recorded and played at 45 RPM speed, and were much smaller. They had a large hole in the center, and required new record playing equipment, that could accommodate the slower speed. New players were developed that could play both 78s and 45s, but the new 45s had a larger hole in the center. So, these players had to either add a removable insert onto the spindle, or the purchaser had to acquire some little adapters that they could put into the hole to make them fit onto the spindle. 45s were 7" in diameter.

My two favorites: Porgy and Bess, and An American in Paris, from 1949.

Like the original 78s, these 45s were also a single song per side. At the beginning, the manufacturers sold them in albums, just like the 78s. But as time went on, and new recording artists came along who were trying to get established and sell records, they began to be sold alone, or as 'singles'. The name stuck, and consumers, especially teenagers, went wild for the inexpensive, practical 'single'. When I was a teen, we used to go to Dolly's Records after school, to buy the latest Beatles singles. I had dozens of records of Herman's Hermits, Petula Clark, Chad & Jeremy, Peter & Gordon, the Turtles, and countless others '60s greats. At that time, I recall, the singles cost a dollar. (Hmmmm, isn't that what they cost on iTunes today? The only difference is a single actually had two songs on it, one on each side, so it was a real bargain!)
Isn't this red record awesome? An American in Paris.

Porgy and Bess. Note the insert inside the hole
Back to the 45s. These early 1949-1950 45 albums, were actually sold in small boxes, rather than the format of the bound album of the 78s. Mine belonged to my husband's grandparents, and we inherited them with my late Mother-in-law's estate. I don't know if these are particularly valuable or rare, I honestly haven't done my homework on them, but I'm sure the Porgy and Bess, and An American in Paris are sought after. I thought you would enjoy seeing this little slice of recording history.

No comments: