7" Covers

The Radio Company of America launched the 45 r.p.m 7" single in 1949. The cutting edge technology of ferric oxide tape [literally cutting edge.it was an easily editable format that could be sliced and re-stuck with blade and sticky paper] brought new levels of fidelity to recorded sound. Also improved was the machinery that cut the metal masters from which the record discs were stamped. This allowed for smaller, deeper grooves that carried more information. The new 'hi-fi' sound that came from the tape meant that the speed the discs spun at could be lowered from 78 r.p.m to 45, and in the case of long playing 10" records 33 r.p.m. These L.Ps were usually multiple collections or albums. The smaller 45's became 'singles'. From the beginning record companies placed them in card or paper bags for protection and the opportunity for sleeve designs was born. The single was all about the song. It was instant, it was portable, it was cheap. It was the carrier of the 'hit' that all performers crave. In reality the 45 is what truly shaped post war popular music of the 20th century. Albums made the money, singles made the myths. Magic moments, ephemeral, true 'Pop'.

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