Setting a ‘record’: The 45 turns 70

This March 8, 2017 photo shows a display of 45 RPM records at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis, Tenn. The Stax recording studio’s roster of stars included Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes and the Staple Singers. Stax eventually went bankrupt but the museum showcases everything from costumes to cars to walls of hit records. (AP Photo/Beth J. Harpaz)
This March 8, 2017 photo shows a display of 45 RPM records at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis, Tenn. The Stax recording studio’s roster of stars included Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes and the Staple Singers. Stax eventually went bankrupt but the museum showcases everything from costumes to cars to walls of hit records. (AP Photo/Beth J. Harpaz) (AP/Beth J. Harpaz)
FILE - In this May 16, 2007 file photo, a display of 45 rpm records at the Stax Records museum in Memphis, Tenn. is shown. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, file)
In this May 16, 2007 file photo, a display of 45 rpm records at the Stax Records museum in Memphis, Tenn. is shown. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, file) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/Mark Humphrey)
RCA Victor's new 45-RPM phonograph & records. Finest Quality reproduction at low cost in history of Industry credited to new system; first single disc size for all pops and classics. Undated photo. (AP Photo)
RCA Victor’s new 45-RPM phonograph & records. Finest Quality reproduction at low cost in history of Industry credited to new system; first single disc size for all pops and classics. Undated photo. (AP Photo) (AP)
A 45 rpm record of, "I forgot to remember to forget," is one of the items in a new "60 years of Elvis" exhibit sits inside an annex at Graceland on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. The exhibit features jump suits worn by Presley, an organ played in his California home, a copy of the original “That’s All Right” record and other miscellaneous Elvis items. (AP Photo/Lance Murphey)
A 45 rpm record of, “I forgot to remember to forget,” is one of the items in a new “60 years of Elvis” exhibit sits inside an annex at Graceland on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. The exhibit features jump suits worn by Presley, an organ played in his California home, a copy of the original “That’s All Right” record and other miscellaneous Elvis items. (AP Photo/Lance Murphey) (AP/Lance Murphey)
A selection of 45 rpm records is seen at Full Moon Records on Record Store Day, Saturday, April 19, 2014, in Atlanta.  (AP Photo/ Ron Harris)
A selection of 45 rpm records is seen at Full Moon Records on Record Store Day, Saturday, April 19, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/ Ron Harris) (AP/unknown Ron Harris)
This 45 rpm record from Skippy White's record shop in Cambridge, Mass., was made by the Louis X, now better known as Louis Farrrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam.  The song is titled "A White Man's Heaven is a Black Man's Hell." (AP Photo)
This 45 rpm record from Skippy White’s record shop in Cambridge, Mass., was made by the Louis X, now better known as Louis Farrrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam. The song is titled “A White Man’s Heaven is a Black Man’s Hell.” (AP Photo) (AP)
Television actress Christy McNichol shows her brother Jimmy and heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali her pugilistic style as Ali signs a copy of the 45 RPM record that the McNichols released. The action took place at New York?s Plaza Hotel, May 5, 1978, where both the McNichols and Ali are staying. (AP Photo/G. Paul Burnett)
Television actress Christy McNichol shows her brother Jimmy and heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali her pugilistic style as Ali signs a copy of the 45 RPM record that the McNichols released. The action took place at New York’s Plaza Hotel, May 5, 1978, where both the McNichols and Ali are staying. (AP Photo/G. Paul Burnett) (AP/G. Paul Burnett)
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This March 8, 2017 photo shows a display of 45 RPM records at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis, Tenn. The Stax recording studio’s roster of stars included Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes and the Staple Singers. Stax eventually went bankrupt but the museum showcases everything from costumes to cars to walls of hit records. (AP Photo/Beth J. Harpaz)
FILE - In this May 16, 2007 file photo, a display of 45 rpm records at the Stax Records museum in Memphis, Tenn. is shown. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, file)
RCA Victor's new 45-RPM phonograph & records. Finest Quality reproduction at low cost in history of Industry credited to new system; first single disc size for all pops and classics. Undated photo. (AP Photo)
A 45 rpm record of, "I forgot to remember to forget," is one of the items in a new "60 years of Elvis" exhibit sits inside an annex at Graceland on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. The exhibit features jump suits worn by Presley, an organ played in his California home, a copy of the original “That’s All Right” record and other miscellaneous Elvis items. (AP Photo/Lance Murphey)
A selection of 45 rpm records is seen at Full Moon Records on Record Store Day, Saturday, April 19, 2014, in Atlanta.  (AP Photo/ Ron Harris)
This 45 rpm record from Skippy White's record shop in Cambridge, Mass., was made by the Louis X, now better known as Louis Farrrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam.  The song is titled "A White Man's Heaven is a Black Man's Hell." (AP Photo)
Television actress Christy McNichol shows her brother Jimmy and heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali her pugilistic style as Ali signs a copy of the 45 RPM record that the McNichols released. The action took place at New York?s Plaza Hotel, May 5, 1978, where both the McNichols and Ali are staying. (AP Photo/G. Paul Burnett)

Before streaming services and digital downloads, millions of people got their music fix from the 45 rpm single.

First rolled out by RCA in 1949, the 7-inch wax disc with its distinctive large central hole became the ideal way to buy the songs you wanted to play over and over.

1974 was considered the 45’s peak year — 200 million of them were sold. And all you needed was a dollar or less.

By 1979, the vinyl single’s glory days were in steep decline. Jukeboxes started to fall out of favor as more music lovers bought LP (long playing) albums and cassette tapes.

About 25 years later, Apple launched iTunes and digital downloads changed the audio landscape once again.

The 45 isn’t completely gone, however.

There are still specialty outlets that release them. In particular, Jack White of the White Stripes and his Third Man label.

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein contributed to this report.

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