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The first long play album ever released

GUEST,Larry Saidman 08 Apr 13 - 05:04 PM
pdq 08 Apr 13 - 06:46 PM
Mark Ross 08 Apr 13 - 10:18 PM
GUEST,Larry Saidman 09 Apr 13 - 12:05 AM
pdq 09 Apr 13 - 10:57 AM
pdq 09 Apr 13 - 11:12 AM
GUEST,Larry Saidman 09 Apr 13 - 12:24 PM
pdq 09 Apr 13 - 12:37 PM
GUEST,Larry Saidman 09 Apr 13 - 02:17 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 29 May 18 - 06:53 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 29 May 18 - 07:00 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 29 May 18 - 07:04 PM
GUEST,Henry Piper of Ottery 30 May 18 - 05:11 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 30 May 18 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 30 May 18 - 06:11 PM
Joe_F 30 May 18 - 06:39 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 30 May 18 - 11:51 PM
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Subject: The first long play album ever released
From: GUEST,Larry Saidman
Date: 08 Apr 13 - 05:04 PM

Hello people,

As I mentioned to some of you, I'm in the process of putting together a radio program for Peach City Radio in Penticton (a group attempting to start a community radio station....see peachcityradio.org) called "Larry Saidman's Top 200 Albums of All Time".   Rather than an ego trip, it's just me finding an opportunity to play some of the records I've come to love over my many years of listening.

I want to start by talking about the history of the 'album' and I've done some research....but there seems a debate about whether Columbia 4001 (classical) or 6001 (popular) was released first. Also, I went into a used record store (Remember Vinyl) to see if I could find Columbia 4001 (Nathan Milstein and Bruno Walter w. Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto)and the owner was in the process of reading a book on the history of recording (forget the author, sorry), and she pointed out that it was claiming that the first 33 1/3 album was an RCA Victor lp (also Bruno Walter) of a Tchaikowsky symphony.

I'd be interested if any of you have done any other research and can clarify it.

Here's part of my script from the first show.

Feel free to correct any other inaccuracies you might pick up.

-Larry


The first album was believed to be in 1908 when Deutsch Grammophon records released a number of 78rpm discs of Bizet's opera, Carmen. A year later, Odeon records released 4 discs of Tchaikowsky's The NutCracker Suite.   But other than for classical music, it didn't catch on until the 1930's.

That's when record companies began issuing collections of 78's by one performer or of one type of music in specially assembled albums, typically with artwork on the front cover and liner notes on the back or inside cover. Most albums included 3 or 4 records, with 2 sides each

So what do you think was the very first lp or long play album ever released?

RCA Victor tried cutting some 33 1/3 records in the early 30's, but they didn't sound particularly good and could only get about 10 minutes worth of music….so they were quickly withdrawn.   

Although some sources disagree, it appears as if the first 12" longplay record was released June 21, 1948, and it was Mendlessohn's Violin Concerto in E minor.one of my favourite compositions….with Nathan Milstein on violin, and Bruno Walter conducting the Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of New York.   It was on the blue Columbia label. Columbia ML-4001.   Let me play an excerpt from that record.


-but shortly before that a 4 disc 78rpm set from 1946 called "The voice of Frank Sinatra" was re-released on a 10" lp also in 1948.   The date of release is in question….one source says July 28, 1948---which would be a week after the Nathan Milstein. Another source claims it was released before the Milstein work that I just played an excerpt of.

But, without a doubt, it was the first non-classical lp release.


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Subject: RE: The first long play album ever released
From: pdq
Date: 08 Apr 13 - 06:46 PM

I find the 21 JUN 1948 date comes from many sources and my be correct.

Columbia released many LPs at the same exact time giving the an entire catalogue to choose from.

The fact that the Sinatra LP has the first number in that series and the Bruno Walter disc has the lowest number in their Classic catalogue means that the numbers were chosen that way.

The history of recording is really fascinating.

33 1/3 rpm and "microgroove" stylus were both tried by other companies many years earlier, but the combination of the two, as done by Columbia in 1948, stuck.


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Subject: RE: The first long play album ever released
From: Mark Ross
Date: 08 Apr 13 - 10:18 PM

Columbia developed the LP. I think RCA was betting on the 45.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: The first long play album ever released
From: GUEST,Larry Saidman
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 12:05 AM

I know Columbia developed the technology.   I'll try get a reference for the name of that book that claimed the first lp was on RCA.


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Subject: RE: The first long play album ever released
From: pdq
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 10:57 AM

"RCA Victor tried cutting some 33 1/3 records in the early 30's, but they didn't sound particularly good and could only get about 10 minutes worth of music….so they were quickly withdrawn." ~ OP


You already mention that. Trouble was, not all the parts fit at that time and it flopped.

The first modern LP was announced to the public on either June 20 or 21, 1948 and was exclusive to Columbia.

David Sarnoff of RCA was shown the final product before the public. Thomas Paley of CBS expected Sarnoff to be impressed and sign a licencing agreement and start their own line of LP records on friendly terms.

Instead, Sarnoff thought that Paley was rubbing his nose in it. He left angry and immediatley started his own LP developement unit. It took two years to catch up.

BTW, the term Long Player or LP was copyrighted by Columbia but the production processes were not.


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Subject: RE: The first long play album ever released
From: pdq
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 11:12 AM

Thomas Paley William S. Paley


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Subject: RE: The first long play album ever released
From: GUEST,Larry Saidman
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 12:24 PM

Thanks PDQ. This is very helpful. It sounds like a fascinating history. Do you have a source where I could learn more?


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Subject: RE: The first long play album ever released
From: pdq
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 12:37 PM

Here is a good article by the head of Columbia Records under CBS...


                                                                   http://home.sprynet.com/~musicin/audiohistoryLP.html


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Subject: RE: The first long play album ever released
From: GUEST,Larry Saidman
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 02:17 PM

Thanks pdq. That's a great article. My guess is that the popular catalogue and the classical catalogue were 'released' at the same time.


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Subject: RE: The first long play album ever released
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 29 May 18 - 06:53 PM

PDQ: "BTW, the term Long Player or LP was copyrighted by Columbia..."

Bit of an update here:

Long Player was the Faces second studio album (1971.)

The three-pronged, 1949 marketing package was:

Long Playing
Microgroove
Nonbreakable

1949 Album cover: Bing Crosby, Crosby Classics

It really shouldn't be parsed for a history. The, lighter weight, nonbreakable [sic] part was just as critical to Columbia's mail-order Record Club (est.1955) as track time and fidelity to Columbia Masterworks jazz & classical A&R.


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Subject: RE: The first long play album ever released
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 29 May 18 - 07:00 PM

Much has been made of Columbia's “microgroove” but for all the talk about “vinyl” today, the material itself is hardly mentioned in the sources.

Early LPs & EPs (RCA) were pressed in (Union) Carbide and Carbon Corporation 's Vinylite which was marketed, but not specifically formulated, for audio. The initial results were less than desirable and Columbia would eventually switch to Lenahan Associates.

Don't know much about Harry Lenahan except he also had stake in the Somerset Label and the pre-Decca Bill Haley & His Comets.

The competion (RCA's 7”-45RPM) turned to Keysor Resins the first supplier to make application specific vinyl. RCA tried to colour-code the genre for sales clerks & customers:

Black: Popular song
Red: Classical
Dark blue: Popular classical
Yellow: Children’s
Green: Country & western
Cerise: R&B
Sky blue: International.

The “official” system didn't last long. Production/materials scheduling nightmare. Pressing in colour vinyl oth is still a big thing.


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Subject: RE: The first long play album ever released
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 29 May 18 - 07:04 PM

Also, Columbia's Bing Crosby was in a start-up venture with Ampex to replace the cumbersome sound-on-film process with magnetic tape.

The whole “Westrex” style of mastering and cutting had to be revamped top-to-bottom as well. Keysor would eventually open a top-of-the-line facility in Hollywood, California (K-Disc) that mastered thousands of mainstream releases. (Keysor also did V-Discs during WWII.)

RCA and Keysor were still partners (CD4 quad, Dynaflex) when compact discs did it all in... or so we thought. And don't fall for today's overweight “+180g audiophile grade” sales hype. Your floppy, old Dynaflex stereo discs were pressed in the exact same “super vinyl” as the state-of-the-art CD4 quad records.

PS: Pretty much every corporation mentioned above is/was part of Eisenhower's military-industrial complex, particularly Kennedy's 'space race' programs. Most of it is "spin off" tech.


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Subject: RE: The first long play album ever released
From: GUEST,Henry Piper of Ottery
Date: 30 May 18 - 05:11 AM

In 1944/5 The Singer Lee Wiley released an album of Songs by George and Ira Gershwin, accompanied by Musicians assembled by Eddie Condon. I believe there were 4, possibly 5 78rpm singles in one package with notes and artwork.

I believe this is the first "album" devoted to the work of a single composer(s).


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Subject: RE: The first long play album ever released
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 30 May 18 - 01:37 PM

If you mean this one, it's an “album” but not “LP” :

Eddie Condon And His Orchestra, George Gershwin Jazz Concert, Decca, Personality Series, 4x10” - 78rpm, A-398, (vocals – Lee Wiley)

It was reissued on microgroove in both LP-10”-33RPM (BML-8518) and EP-2x7”-45RPM (ED539.)

Decca was forced to do this because the two “major” record companies also made the record players and, of course, RCA's had no 33RPM setting or smaller spindle for Columbia's product. Columbia same-same & neither company's new gear played the older 78rpm, which also needed a different stylus (needle,) and was the most popular format c.1949.

Format wars - analog style. Cue the 3rd party, multi-speed turntable and optional center (O.C.45) hacks.


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Subject: RE: The first long play album ever released
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 30 May 18 - 06:11 PM

"Album"

Before LP: This was mostly packaging and storage. Store bought albums were "box sets" of singles. There might be a theme or concept or just a compilation. Generic, after market 78rpm albums were the equivalent of photo, cassette & CD storage cases and binders. They both still turn up at thrift shops & boot sales.

After LP: In common usage album is pretty much interchangeable with LP, ie: not a single. fwiw: I've never heard a 2x7" release referred to as an album.


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Subject: RE: The first long play album ever released
From: Joe_F
Date: 30 May 18 - 06:39 PM

The (78-rpm) record albums that I remember from my childhood (1940s) were not mere boxed sets, but consisted of sleeves bound together on one side, whence they resembled photograph albums etc. When LPs came in, I supposed that the practice of calling individual discs "albums" referred to the fact that they contained as much music as albums in the old sense. I thought it was silly.


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Subject: RE: The first long play album ever released
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 30 May 18 - 11:51 PM

Not sure what you mean by “mere” but yeah, they're bound books of records sleeves. The fancy stuff might be slip cased just like fancy books, DVDs &c.

Auto-coupled “Sets”

The 78rpm records could usually be had as singles, but if you wanted the whole set the store bought album was the only way to go.

The simplest record player is all manual, record side and tone arm. Next comes automatic which does the tone arm bits but not the record sides. At three (3) minutes/side, you don't get too comfortable.

Lastly there's the record changer which automatically drops a record from the bottom of a stack on the spindle. You flip over the whole stack, just the once, same interval as playing a 10”-LP. Auto-coupled sets and record changers were the only way to stitch together an “album” length theme or composition on 78s. Like 8-track tape torture... only slower.


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