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.
— Neal Augenstein (@AugensteinWTOP) March 16, 2019
I showed this to co-workers in the WTOP newsroom. Nobody under 40 knew what it is. Got a related story coming up on air and online soon. pic.twitter.com/sDZ9k2LOj5
— Neal Augenstein (@AugensteinWTOP) March 19, 2019
Just a small number of my old 45s pic.twitter.com/HfEajX18ZB
— Marlene Koenig 🇺🇸 (@royalmusing) March 19, 2019
45s! 🙃 Bought one at a yard-sale and had to find the little plastic insert thingy to play it! pic.twitter.com/yHbe9Dhx2H
— Mary de Pompa (@dePompaWTOP) March 17, 2019
— Brendon Clark (@TheBrendonClark) March 17, 2019
went to the record shop with my grandmother in North Carolina and picked this out – still has my hot rod model car stickers! pic.twitter.com/pCJnrzk8K8
— Harry Costner (@costnerMedia) March 16, 2019
This one! Goodness Gracious. pic.twitter.com/tXnYE9Jqbx
— Eric Alper 🎧 (@ThatEricAlper) March 16, 2019
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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