Look back at top billboard hits 50 and 100 years ago
By Jim Schuh
Not long ago, as I was trudging along with my cane following a medical technician into a doctor’s examining room, I told the young lady that I felt I was like a 45 running at 33.
That simile brought a curious look to her face, and I knew instantly that I had to explain myself.
I first asked her if she knew what phonograph records were. She looked confused until I explained they were round platters of recordings. I told her that at first, there were 78 revolutions per minute (RPM) recordings until the mid- to late-1940s, when Columbia issued its first long-playing vinyl recording albums that spun at just 33-1/3 RPMs (LPs, or long-playing records). Then RCA came out with the seven-inch, 45 RPM vinyl recordings – the ones with the big hole in the middle.
The med tech knew about the 33s – she said her grandparents had some of them.
Like it or not, people who know about 33s and 45s are old people.
Pondering this unpleasant fact, I decided it was time to revisit what we were singing and playing 50 and 100 years ago – along with poor-quality 78 RPM records. My trusty reference volumes from Joel Whitburn never let me down.
This time, let’s go back a century – to 1916. (To some of us, that doesn’t seem like 100 years ago.)
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