Most music you could get on one side of a 45 or LP?

Was there a definite maximum, or did it depend on how much you wanted to try to cram on there? Is it correct that quality suffered the more music per side?

The longest 45 I can think of was I had one of “Bohemian Rhapsody” that iiRC was 5:55, and I think “Dazed & Confused” live on TSRTS was 27 minutes or so?

And if anyone knows about cassettes as well.

I don’t know the answers to your questions, but, while transferring some music from vinyl to CD, I found that my classical albums were much longer than the others. I could get only one full classical on one CD.

Cassettes were 30, 45, 60 and 120 minutes. I rarely used the 120 minute ones. The sound quality was not as good and they tended to break more easily.

“Hey Jude” was just a bit over seven minutes (7:02, I believe).

I remember Elvis Costello releasing Get Happy!! with twenty tracks on it but I don’t think it was more than 25 minutes per side.

The longest blank cassettes you could get were C-120s with 60 minutes on each side. I don’t know if there was a pre-recorded tape that went any longer.

I’m reading a book right now about Columbia Records that deals with the development of the LP. Their first attempts came in at seven to eight minutes. The president of the company told the R&D guys that he wanted at least 17 minutes. When they finally got it to 17, he said, not good enough–I want 18 minutes. They eventually got the first discs to run 22 1/2 minutes.

Is (was) an LP by definition 33 1/3 rpm?

You could fit a shitload more on a 16 RPM disk. These were not used for high-fidelity sound though.

Other factors: later technologies enabled them to make the vinyl peaks between the valleys narrower. That meant more info per side. That tended to coincide with a flexier disk. The really old disks were hard and cracked quite easily on impact; the disks from the late 40s thru mid 60s were mildly flexible, less fragile, and seemed able to contain more info as need be. From mid to late 60s onward, the disks got thinner, flexier, far less fragile, and extra tracks were sometimes added to vintage albums as they could now accomodate more info on a record. By the end of the vinyl album era, you could hold them in your hand by the edges, press inwards gently, and see it warp in your hand to a very impressive bow.

<damn fuckers still scratched at the slightest provocation though. I hated vinyl>

I am going to guess that they peaked around 60-65 minutes per 33.3 RPM disk. Beyond that you’d get a double LP.

45 RPM singles I have no idea about. Never owned more than perhaps 10, lifetime total.

ETA: Cite re: more space over time. Harry Belafonte To Wish You A Merry Christmas. a classic LP on re-release included a new track “Mary’s Boy Child”, without nuking any of the other tracks to make room for it.

The technology wasn’t so “later.” Around 1932 they briefly tried a 78 EP that put about 5 min of play on a standard 10" side. It went nowhere because a) they sounded kinda tinny; b) they wore out a lot faster under the old style steel needles; and c) due to the depression, people had pretty much stopped buying any kind of records.

Since American Pie was divided into two parts and is 8:22 IIRC, then I guess the max for a 45 would be somewhere between Hey Jude and American Pie.

Back to the American Pie single-I can’t believe people (like me) bought this. Who wants a song you have to get up and flip over to hear the whole thing? Well, if you bought two copies and stacked them on each other, you wouldn’t have to get up. But there’d still be a big gap beterrn one stopping and the other starting.

The longest commercially released single LP I have ever heard about was “Intitiation” by Todd Rundgren. It lasted 68 minutes, with a second side lasting 36 minutes composed entirely of a suite named “A Treatise on Cosmic Fire”. I don’t know what the record is for a cassette is but they could suprisingly come close to 100 minutes (my copy of “30 Greatest Hits” by Aretha Franklin is 98 minutes long on a single tape).

I have a mid-'70s LP of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony on the Everest label that runs 42:35 on one side. The liner notes claim that this was the longest commercially released LP side ever (up to that time, of course). I’ve heard of (but not heard or seen) an LP called Osmose by Kalma & Tinti that has over an hour of music on one side.

Oh yeah, TDK also used to make 180-minute cassettes. The tape stock was obviously extremely thin and the tapes were not very reliable.

I think Hey Jude was the longest 45, a lot of dj’s used to close with this so they could leave early.

I borrowed a copy and spent ages with a reel-to-reel tape recorder cueing up the tape just right so there wasn’t a break between the two halves. I finally got it so the transition was barely noticible…

Quality of the music wouldn’t suffer up to a point. You can only put grooves so close and still have walls, so obviously there were limits, and the closer the grooves the thinner the area between. The thinner the walls the sooner they fail at some point. Read the third paragraph for elaboration on this.

Dad had 78’s and a player that used needles that must have reached a 1/16 of an inch in diameter where you attached them to the sound diaphragm. The arm had the speaker integrated into it, and no electronic amplification. I still remember a few of the records. They had one song per side. The records were thick, heavy, and brittle. You could crack one and press it flat on a table and still play it. You had a click, but you could play it without skipping.

The problem with quality is when you play a record, the groove loses some material every play. The super delicate cartridge needles are why 33 speed LP’s could store so much more than a 78 recording. You could push a cracked LP flat on a table, but when you tried to play it, it skipped. The vinyl records warped if they sat in the sun, so you could lose a lot of records if you weren’t careful.

The longest single I have is:

Meat Loaf - Paradise By The Dashboard Light (7:55)

The other contenders are:

Peter Frampton - Do You Feel Like We Do (live) (7:19)
The O’Jays - For The Love Of Money (7:17)
Richard Harris - MacArthur Park (7:16)
The Beatles - Hey Jude (7:11)
Derek & The Dominoes - Layla (7:10)
George Harrison - Isn’t It A Pity (7:10)

To make songs this long fit on a 45 was something of a feat of mastering. To get more grooves per inch, they would have to reduce the volume and make shallower grooves, while at the same time they’d have to try to preserve the fidelity and bass without causing the stylus to jump out of place on transients. This made any noise on the vinyl more prominent. The only other solution was to make a 7" disc that ran 33 1/3 RPM.

The Olivia Tremor Control have released a double 7" single with both B sides clocking in at 14:55 at 33 1/3 RPM. A number of bands have used this trick over the last 15 years, as I’ve seen 7" records with 8 or more songs.

I remember back in the late 70s (during the disco era) many hit singles were put on a 12" LP size record (with the skinny hole in the middle) but recorded at 45 RPM so you would have a 12 to 15 minute long extended play single. One of those types of records I had was an extended version of the Rolling Stones’ Miss You.

12" singles pressed at 45 RPM is a great medium for “extra-fidelity” recordings. Sometimes, audiophile records were cut in this format. You can cut wider, deeper grooves with a lot more volume and punch. The faster speed lends itself to higher fidelity recording and reproduction, similar to tape recording. That’s why there are millions of club remixes on 12" 45.

Those 12" remixes and extended versions of popular songs were popular from the mid-'70s right up to the CD age, and they still make them, although they don’t get much public exposure. I have many of the older ones. They’re quite rare now, and an amazing number of them have never been reissued on CD. Paul McCartney has dozens of them that are often very good, but most were limited edition, and haven’t been reissued since. His first was “Goodnight Tonight” in 1979. We collectors are praying that his new label will finally put them out. A lot of the mid-'80s Springsteen records had remixes, too, that are unavailable in any other form. Want to hear 5 different arrangements of “Dancing In The Dark”?

Trivia: the 12" of The Stones’ “Miss You” is actually not extended. It’s the complete version the way they played it in the studio. The album and single versions are edited down from this long version. There are four different edits, and IV has been issued on “Flashpoint Collectibles,” although even that is long out of print. The vinyl of it used to go for massive bucks, and maybe it still does, but the CD issue has rendered it obsolete.

fishbicycle, or anyone else, speaking of audiophile LP’s, what the deal with these I see on ebay ofthen going for many thousands of dollars per set? Is the sound quality worth these prices, or the rarity, or both?

These are albums leased by labels such as Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs and Dunhill Compact Classics (DCC). They take the master tapes and remaster them by a proprietary format, to capture the extra depth and fidelity of the lowest-generation master tape. Then they press a limited edition on 24 karat gold CDs. I collect these CDs, and have dozens of them. They are worth tracking down, if you have a decent enough stereo system to hear them on. The differences between these and any other commercial issue is often striking. You really can hear things on them that you hadn’t noticed before.

They went for upwards of $45 when new, and since so many of them are out of print, they command high prices nowadays. But they are better, in all cases, than any other CD of the material you could buy. They’re expensive, but worth every dollar. Mobile Fidelity went out of business for a few years, but are back now, making more remastered editions, now in SACD.

I forgot to mention that before CDs, they made remastered LPs on 180 gram vinyl. There were hundreds of them made. Even with the limits of analog recordings, they made records that sounded much better than the commercial issue. There are collectors of these albums, too. I’d prefer the CD, myself.

Didn’t you have in the States the lo-fi compilation discs that came out every year - “Summer of '69” or whatever? They seemed to cram 20 tracks per side of an LP from my recollection. I am sure I remember them but never owned one. I can’t find any record of them.

Oh, sure, all my friends had K-Tel and Ronco albums. There were lots of labels that put them out. I have a bunch of them, too. People collect those as well. I’ve discovered that sometimes the version on the K-Tel compilation may be different from the version on the 45 or LP. That makes some of them very collectable. You can probably find some on eBay right now.