The Pop Culture Information Society...

These are the messages that have been posted on inthe00s over the past few years.

Check out the messageboard archive index for a complete list of topic areas.

This archive is periodically refreshed with the latest messages from the current messageboard.

Check for new replies or respond here...

Subject: The death of the 78 around 1957-58

Written By: yelimsexa on 11/06/09 at 9:06 am

While we continue to await the decision when new album releases (not just singles) will be digital only and thus forever putting the CD into antiquity, let's reflect back on a different format phase-out over half a century ago- the demise of the 10" 78 RPM single in favor of the 45.

I found an old Billboard article from February 1957 stating that the "Bell Really Tolls for 78's". It stated that RCA Victor announced that production of 78s will be "curtailed considerably" and dispensed altogether by the end of 1957. The Harry Belafonte 20-disc box set at the time was originally 45 only. It also said that the manager of RCA Victor stated that 78 sales dipped sharply in 1955 and 1956 and that by early 1957 78 sales comprised less than 10 percent of the singles market.

A few small, independent gospel labels issued 78s into the early '60s and are the exception; generally speaking, the CD single today is to what the 78 single was around 1959 (only a few independent companies still issuing that particular format).

MGM was still issuing 78s into 1958 (such as Connie Francis' Who's Sorry Now), but most other labels had already moved on to 45s.

In the UK, the transition from 78s to 45s happened a little later, with the 45 overtaking the 78 in total sales in 1958 and stil offered for most records until 1960.

Subject: Re: The death of the 78 around 1957-58

Written By: AmericanGirl on 11/06/09 at 6:00 pm

When I was a youngun, my Dad had a ton of 78's.  As I got older I remember discussing why they were passe with him (this was the early 70's).  Besides the lack of availability, he told me that they were very hard on record players, especially on the needles, wearing them out fast.  Hard on the records, too (although the 78 records tended to be made from very hard vinyl).  One other factor - music for just a few songs consumed a large volume of space- 45's were smaller, neater.  Later record players started to lack a selection for the 78 speed, the final nail in the coffin.

Something impish I did with my brothers - we'd play a 45 or LP at 78 speed, and laugh hysterically at the fast "chipmunks".  We were forewarned though - this constituted "record abuse" and could bring the record to a premature death (as I think we discovered first hand later on).  :D

Check for new replies or respond here...