The Single Story

Tuesday 8 January



In 1949, RCA Victor launched a small, round, plastic and - weirdly - green disc on the listening public, which heralded a revolution in popular music. David Quantick charts the love affair with the 45 rpm single.

Initially the result of what might now be called an 'audio format war' between record companies, the single was always aimed at the younger generation. While the LP originally catered for a middle-aged, middle-class, well-heeled audience, the cheaper, cooler 45 took on the poorer, cooler youth market. The vinyl single launched rock and roll, pop and the teenager on the world and provided a lynchpin for Western popular culture. It has defined the popular music and shows no signs of dying.

David looks at the extraordinary impact the single has had on the way people listened to music for over 60 years. This is a chance to examine one of the most important revolutions in the modern music business.

In the first programme, he looks at the war of the speeds and the early glory days of the vinyl single, which pitted stars like Judy Garland up against Frank Sinatra, then brought the world Elvis and Bill Haley. All this set against a brave new world of cheap 'portable' record players, exotic new vinyl juke boxes and the birth of the singles charts.

Contributors include Tom Jones, actor Martin Freeman, Myleene Klass, songwriter Diane Warren, musician Soweto Kinch, Bob Stanley from St Etienne, Michael Bradley from the Undertones, the Reverend Run, DJ Cosmo, Pete Shelley from The Buzzcocks, Pete Waterman, Mike Read, David Jensen, Johnnie Walker, Bob Harris and Neil Fox.

First broadcast in 2009.

Presenter/David Quantick, Producer/ Frank Stirling, Anna Harrison

BBC 6 Music Publicity