The 45, aka the 7 inch record. Introduced by RCA Victor company in 1949 as a big middle finger to Columbia Records' 33 1/3 vinyl LP.
...Check the math: 78 - 33 = 45!
The o.g. vinyl format spun at 78 rpms...RCA wanted to subtract the 33 LP out of the market and crush it with this little, portable, jukebox-friendly 7".
The Goldmine Price Guide to 45 RPM Records further breaks it down:
The size and format of the disc and its center hole was based on the size of the average human hand, giving most users the ability to grasp the record’s edge while placing the thumb in the center hole to avoid the handling of the grooves. Not only did RCA tout the convenient seven inch size of the disc for handling and storage, initial releases were color-coded based on the genre of the music. In their scheme, Pop Music was black, Country Western green, Children’s yellow, Classical red, Light Classical midnight blue, Rhythm & Blues cerise, and International sky blue. By 1952, however, all RCA’s 45’s were black.
I first grew fond of the 45 because of reggae music...it is the format of choice for Jamaican labels because so much reggae and dancehall comes out on riddim singles. There's nothing like a fresh riddim set to juggle 5-6 tunes from different artists on the same instrumental with matching labels! Any reggae dj worth his or her salt has a toolbox of 45s...some cats even color code their sleeves.
I remember hitting up VP Records and Original Records in Jamaica, Queens. They were like no other records stores I'd been to..just a long counter with stacks and stacks of fresh 7's. The selector behind the counter would run tune after tune, and us customers would throw up a hand when we wanted a copy. Later on, the homie I-Vier opened Wisdom Records (RIP) down the street from my grandma's in the Outer Mission with the same format. The first time I went there I dropped hellla scrill! Went home and recorded this dancehall mix that same day: which is about half new 7's I bought that day, half favorite 7's from my crates, and ALL 45s (except one 12" R&B acapella on the first track) all the way live in one take on 2 turntables with no editing:
DJ Dmadness - Knowmadic Hi-Power Sound presents Winter Riddims 2004
Big shout to DJ RED-i in Manila who periodically throws down all-45 nights at his Thursday weekly Rouge. This Saturday at GOLDEN, me & DJ Zita are throwing down a special Midnight Mix of strictly 7" vinyl in homage to the dope little record that could...KEEP 45s ALIVE!! Come thru, you know how we do!
DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist
Brainfreeze (1999 Sixty7 Recordings)
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
One last treat...one of the illest displays of 45 turntable destruction of all time:
Posted by //DJ Dmadness// at 9:56 PM