The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Thursday, May 01, 2008


5-1-08 Singles

For the month of May 2008, we were going to be looking at singles – 45’s, EP’s, 12” singles, CD5’s, CD3’s, CDV’s, Cassingles etc. But not everyone replied in time.

Sometimes a ‘single’ is enough. I grew up in the era of the 7” 45rpm record. 2 songs and, if you were lucky, a “picture sleeve”. In the 50’s and early 60’s, there were also EP’s ( = Extended Play ) that had 4 songs and a nice, hard sleeve. A single could give you an idea if you wanted to spend your cash on a whole LP – it being possible to find 45’s in the 60’s for 59 cents – 99 cents. A new LP would be a minimum of $2.98, more likely $3.98 or full retail at $4.98.

It was crucial for me to decide if I was going to invest a whopping $5.98 in a double LP by The Who (“Tommy”) – but I could hear two great songs – “I’m Free” b/w “We’re Not Gonna Take It” – almost 10 minutes of music – for 59 cents. This might’ve been the first 45 I got by The Who – but it is by no means my favorite. We’ll get to that this month.

My particular specialty has been (for the last 30 or so years) 45’s / 12” singles from England. So, expect to see a lot of that kind of stuff this month. The humble 45.

There are collectors who would scoff at my only having 6,000 or so singles (in all formats) – many years ago, my home was visited by an uber-collector who said to me, “Gee, I thought you’d have more singles!” – at the time (no CD’s yet), I had about 3,000 45’s, all carefully alphabetized, put into protective bags etc.

When I sold off lots of my LP’s / vinyl towards the end of the 80’s to buy CD’s, I never particularly sold very many singles – there weren’t many (any?) stores in L.A. that even took singles ‘in’, then. I guess I sold some singles at swap meets, cashing in – striking while the iron was hot, on bands like The Cure.

But the cartons just sat in a closet – I moved around a bit – and for the last 10 years of so, the carefully manicured 7” 45 / EP collection has been right there next to where I sit and type. True, I get behind in filing these days – having to open up all the boxes and move stuff around so the alphabet can occur. I break out special collections, such as Frank Zappa and Split Enz, and some countries, too. My 12” singles are either filed with the artists in LP’s – or in the ‘yet to be filed’ stack(s). CD singles: CD3’s have their own area, and CD5’s / CDV’s are filed in cartons with CD’s, within artist, as possible.

So let’s think 2 or 3 songs at a time for this month. Do you have a favorite single you’d like to nominate? And let’s not forget the eternal concept of the “B Side”!

If more responses tumble in, I will be able to write about ‘singles’ as much as possible in May. As always, thanks for reading my stuff.


Blogger deepinder said...

Although I have it on LP, the song I wish to nominate that has everything a single conveys is 'You're so vain' by The Odd Couple, Jack Klugman and Tony Randall. I know this was a '45, certainly in the states, as there was an article on the art of the '45, and this 45 in particular in the Guardian Listings magazine free in Saturday edition. I heard this in 1991 on BBC Radio 2 by the critic and broadcaster Russell Davies, and my life became a little more fully formed

2:27 PM  

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