We come in praise of the 45rpm vinyl 7-inch which reached pensionable age on 31 March 2014. Happy birthday and glad to see that old age has not slowed you and you’re still spinning at the right number of revolutions per minute (more than can be said for many of us originals). We children of the 50s, 60s and 70s grew up with the single as our main source of fascinating and, at times, mysterious music. These little wonders were affordable, concise in their two short-play sides and to this day areacquired with a religious fervour by collectors worldwide. Their compact size makes them ideal for DJing too.The limited time that could be squeezed comfortably onto a 7-inch side of plastic stopped pop stars from being indulgent until such times as singles were abandoned and width overcame quality. So we have them to thank for the crisp precise pop, R&B and soul music that is so hard to achieve but so good when it is. For a while there, when the Compact Disc became all the rage, the 45 went into decline and Cassingles and CD singles, even tiny 3-inch ones, were introduced. But could you love them in the same way as your old plastic friend? Do grown men go to records fairs and spend the price of a holiday on one? No and I doubt theyever will. There is something enduring about the single and the proof is in the fact that it has indeed enduredand in ripe old age is finding new friends.
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