Marrs Plectrum

Thursday 16 July 2015

The humble 7" single. Are you missing out?

There’s something magical about the humble 7” single. It was there at the birth of rock’n’roll, the mainstay of punk and soul and for many, still where the actions at. It used to be the foundation of a lifelong love of music and collecting. It’s a lot like your first kiss.

The single blurs the lines between nostalgia and memorabilia. Those trailblazing 45’s from across genres lit up the lives of generations. It’s impossible to handle them without being transported back in time. 

I’ve a fascination with Beatles and Stones singles that come to the shop. As a rule, Beatles singles are in far better condition than Stones. This conqures images of the 60’s Beatles/Stones divide. For me, every Stones record was played by an edgy youth, sucking on a stolen Embassy No. 1. These were made for illicit pleasure and that’s what they delivered. Why put Stones records back in their sleeves when you could be chasing the girl next door?

Sonically, 45’s offer a deeper punch. Unlike albums, they weren’t produced solely for home consumption. They had to stand up against the chatter of coffee shops and clubs. They drove the dance floor with bass and snares. There’s an energy and urgency. The three minute or so limit compacts ideas. These things are pure thrill and impact. 

The digital world has stolen the singles greatest gift from us. The B side. This is often where the gems lie. A chance for artists to try something new. It’s true that these are often fodder, but keep searching. There’s gold dust on the flipside. It’s astounding that The Smiths seminal How Soon Is Now? spent a few months on the other side of William, It Was Really Nothing before getting its own release. The Jam hid The Butterfly Collector on the flip of Strange Town. Go figure.

Personally, I don’t have to be so fussy with the grading of singles I listen to (that doesn’t extend to grading the ones I sell, of course!). A little crackling and pop was put their years ago by a previous owner to whom that record was the most important thing in the world. That’s why they wrote their name on the centre labels. They wanted ownership of that music. They wanted to be associated to it. And they were always way cooler and better dressed than me.

So next time you call at Plectrum HQ have a little delve in the singles. Take a chance. It could be the start of something new. To you, at least.

Cheers Matt. x

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