Music Rules, part 1: Happy 75th anniversary to LP records

It was 75 years ago, on June 21, 1948, that Columbia Records released the first LP record.  RCA Victor created the competing 45/7″ format in 1949, another anniversary to look forward to.  I think I’ve linked to it before, a video by Techmoan (aka Matt Taylor) from three years ago, where he talks about the 1949 vinyl format war as a war that everybody won – good for music listeners, and good for the the producers.

Vinyl is (ugh) made from petroleum, unlike 10″ 78 records which were made from shellac, the secretions of the lac bug.  Vinyl was adopted because it was far more durable and produced much higher sound quality, allowing more music on a single record.  A 10″ record played only three minutes per side.  12″ vinyl LPs at 33RPM were designed to hold entire classical music pieces, up to twenty minutes per side, and 7″ 45s could hold up to four minutes.  Record companies were looking for new and higher quality music formats in the late 1930s, but a little thing called World War II interfered with their plans.

From Making

Columbia Records Makes History with the Release of the First Vinyl LP Record

Columbia Records made history on June 21, 1948, by releasing the first vinyl long-playing (LP) record. The invention of the LP marked a significant milestone in the history of music technology, as it allowed for longer and higher-quality recordings to be played on turntables.

The man behind this revolutionary technology was Peter Goldmark, a Hungarian-American inventor working for Columbia Records. Goldmark spent years developing and perfecting the LP, which held up to an hour of music on a single disc. Before this, most records could only hold about four minutes of music.

The LP quickly gained popularity among music fans, and by the 1950s, it had become the dominant format for recorded music. It remained the standard for decades until the rise of digital music in the late 20th century.

Today, as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the LP, it’s clear that Goldmark’s invention had a lasting impact on the music industry. Vinyl records have made a comeback in recent years, with many music fans seeking out the warm, analog sound of the LP.

So here’s to Peter Goldmark and the LP – a true game-changer in the music world.

For fun, below the fold are a few songs that reference vinyl records.

Richard Thompson, “Don’t Sit On My Jimmy Shands” (1991), from “Rumour & Sigh”

Call me precious, I don’t mind / 78s are hard to find

You just can’t get the shellac since the war

This one’s the Beltona brand / Finest label in the land

They don’t make them like that anymore

Ian Hunter, “Old Records Never Die” (1981), from the album “Short Back & Sides”

Hunter wrote it about John Lennon.

“Get your healing from a song / Just when everything goes wrong

Play it right through the night / Till morning brings you light

And if some folk laugh at you / Let ’em all laugh, they never knew

All those scenes, to me it seems / Some folk never dream

I feel a force, rebel with some other cause / Old records never die”

Queen, “Tenement Funster” (1974), from “Sheer Heart Attack”

“My new purple shoes been amazing the people next door

And my rock ‘n’ roll forty-fives been enragin’ the folks on the lower floor…”

Nick Lowe, “I Love My Label” (1978) from “Jesus Of Cool” (aka “Pure Pop For Now People” in the US)

“I love my label and my label loves me

For she’s so good and kind together we will pave our destiny

My label always loves to hear some pretty chords for its records like these ones

She’s always pleased to hear some of these pretty melodies so I sing ’em some”

Squeeze, “If I Didn’t Love You” (1981), from “Argybargy”

If I didn’t love you, I’d hate you / I’m playing your stereogram

Singles remind me of kisses / Albums remind me of plans


Taking a bite on a biscuit / The record jumps on a scratch

Tonight it’s love by the fire / The door of your love’s on the latch

Juliana Hatfield, “Please Mr. Please” (2018) from “Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton John”

In the corner of the bar there stands a jukebox / With the best of country music, old and new

You can hear your five selections for a quarter / And somebody else’s songs when yours are through

Barrence Whitfield’s “Dust On My Needle” (1990) from the album, “Let’s Lose It”

This deserves the full song.  If someone knows the word that I can’t figure out, let me know.

Now I got dust, dust on my needle, how could this happen to me?

I got dust, dust on my needle, my lady only wants CDs

Can’t get no play, I ???? took her away

I like the vinyl, she likes the disks /We had a hell of a fight

I never thought it would come to this /But something just ain’t right


She took a look through my collection / Cruised through my 33s

She came away from all directions / Saying “Baby, there’s no CDs!”


She cruised through my 78s / The apple of my eye

But she then she came more irate / Saying “Why don’t they call this jive?”


Last winter, I splurged and bought myself a portable record player.  No, not a cheap Crosley or other “suitcase” player, I bought a Numark PT-01 Scratch USB which has a respected needle cartridge (Chuo-Denshi CZ-800).  Here’s a short video demonstrating it.  It has a preamp plus RCA and 3.5mm jacks, so any speakers will work, and it has a USB output to record digitally.  The only bad thing about it is the tone knob, not separate bass and treble.  I don’t care about the “dj features”, I bought it to play records, something I hadn’t done in over 20 years.

Thus far my collection is very small and very selective 13 albums, and (promises, promises) I don’t plan to buy more than 50.  I’m buying mostly used, and either “greatest hits” albums (e.g. Linda Ronstadt 1 & 2), oldies compliations, or studio albums I can listen to from the edge to the run out groove (e.g. Jerry Rafferty’s “City To City”).  All the best parts of vinyl came back (the sound, the album art, the effort, which is part of the fun) as did the bad parts (the weight, the size).


  1. Silentbob says

    One of my grannies had old 78s from back in the day. They were heavy and solid (not bendy like ‘vinyl’). They were very tinny recordings of opera, so after the fascination of playing these museum pieces us kids quickly lost interest. 🙂

  2. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    I have an old Victrola in my living room, with a small collection of light jazz 78s that came with it when I bought it at an estate sale for cheap. It’s seen better days, but still (mostly) works when you crank it up.

    I also have a couple of Edison cylinders, but sadly, nothing to play them on! 🙂

  3. Jazzlet says

    Saw Richard Thompson last week, he’s still brilliant. He didn’t play “Don’t Sit on my Jimmy Shands”, I’ve not heard him play it live, but it is one of my and Mr J’s absolute favourites.