1-CD deluxe album with 72-page booklet, 28 tracks. Playing time approx. 77 mns.
After many, many requests, we're finally doing a definitive year-by-year country series! And it won't stop when the music is in copyright, either! The most luxuriously packaged single CDs we've ever done! The history of country music told year-by-year from 1945-1970. The first six volumes are complete, 1945-1950. The hits! The classic performances! The truly influential recordings! Painstakingly restored sound! The series is compiled an annotated by Grammy winning Colin Escott. The country series has been compiled with today's fans in mind.
Yes, the big hits are there, but so are the classic performances that weren't necessarily big hits at the time, but became influential in the years ahead. Every volume has incredibly detailed behind-the-scenes stories, fabulously rare photos, and an ongoing history of country music set against the backdrop of the broader American music business. Definitive' You bet!
It was a year in which competing technologies began a decade-long struggle for preeminence. The flat disc had been introduced in 1887 and became the industry standard when it eclipsed the cylinder in the early 1900s. Various manufacturers produced discs that played at different speeds, but 78 RPM eventually became the standard. Recording technology improved but the 78 RPM disc was the only game in town until mid-1948 when Columbia Records introduced the LP. Three-and-a-half million LPs were sold in the first twelve months, but that was small change compared with 177 million 78s. Columbia's major competitor, RCA, could see at once that it had been scooped and hastened plans to introduce an unbreakable compact single with a new playback unit. The new singles would play at 45 RPM and have a large diameter spindle hole that would enable the user to stack the 45s on an autochanger. In that way, RCA could mimic the playing time of the LP while allowing the user the freedom to mix and match songs. The compactness of the discs and the smallness of the playback units meant that the era of portable music had finally arrived. RCA announced its invention to the press in January 1949, and the first 45s appeared on March 31. Columbia countered the 45 with a 33 RPM single, and RCA came up with 45 RPM EPs as an alternative to the LP.
Consumers were in a dilemma. They could buy LPs that wouldn't play on RCA's players or 45s that wouldn't play on Columbia's players, although both Columbia and RCA's machines would play still 78s. The other labels sat on the fence, although the jukebox industry quickly sided with RCA. A small unbreakable record with a more durable playing surface was a dream-come-true for jukebox operators. In 1950, Seeburg became the first to introduce a 45 RPM jukebox. Capitol began producing 45s and 45 RPM players in April 1949 and became the first to introduce a 3-speed player in July. Decca, MGM, and Mercury began producing LPs in August, but held off retooling their plants for 45s.
For many years the three speeds jockeyed for position. Blues/R&B and country music still sold well on 78 into the late 1950s. Middle class white adults immediately adopted the LP. The pace of suburban adult life was reflected in mixing a cocktail as an LP played. The pace of teenage life was reflected in the ever-changing mix of a stack of 45s. Adults could more easily afford LPs; teenagers could more easily afford singles. And so classical, jazz, and easy listening pop music was experienced on LP; country and blues on 78; and when rock 'n' roll arrived it was experienced at 45 RPM. Even after the demise of the 78, country music sales were predominantly on singles well into the 1980s.