Before iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music and other digital music services, the good old 45 ruled. The 45 record was introduced in 1949 by RCA. It was smaller than a 78 and more durable and had two sides with just two recordings. It quickly became known as a "single" or the 7-inch (based on the size of the record itself). The physical sales of those singles saw them listed weekly on the charts, with the No. 1 single selling the most copies during that week. So artists would not only release an LP (long-playing) record of their latest album, they would also release singles from it, Most LPs would have anywhere from three to five singles released during a period of time. Some were marketed for longer, thanks to their popularity.
Some of the best-selling singles of all time include "Rock Around The Clock" by Bill Haley and his Comets, "It's Now or Never" by Elvis Presley, "I Want To Hold Your Hand" by the Beatles and "I'm a Believer" by The Monkees. But just how much do you know about classic 45s? Would you be able to identify the year they were released? If you think you can, then let's see how you fare on this quiz. Good luck!
"Help!" was the lead single from the album of the same name as well as a movie featuring the Beatles. It was released in 1965. Of course, it was a hit, reaching No. 1 in both the U.K and the United States.
"Stairway To Heaven" helped to really put Led Zeppelin on the musical map. Released in 1971, it became a staple of rock station airplay throughout the 1970s and remained popular in the United States despite the fact that it was never released as a single. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest rock songs of all time.
OK, a bit of a trick question. "Nights In White Satin" was initially released in 1967 but it didn't perform that well. On re-issue in 1972, it went to No. 2 on the U.S. charts and stayed there for two weeks. But initially, it was released in 1967, so that is the answer.
The Animals' take on a traditional folk song, "The House of the Rising Sun," was a massive hit for the band, reaching No. 1 in both the United Kingdom and the United States. This was the first time a British band other than the Beatles had achieved a No. 1 song in the U.S.A.
The U.K. and U.S. singles of "Space Oddity," released in 1969, differ in length. The U.S. version is 3.26 minutes long and the U.K. version 4.33. "Space Oddity" reached No. 1 in the U.K. and No. 15 in the U.S.
"Wish You Were Here" was the first single from the 1975 Pink Floyd album of the same name. It was written by Dave Gilmour and Roger Waters. It is included on the Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs of All Tim list at No. 324.
It's that saxophone riff that you remember! "Baker Street," recorded by Scottish singer/songwriter Gerry Rafferty, was a hit around the world in 1978. It was included on the album, "City to City."
Released in 1965, "My Generation" is one of the most recognizable tracks from the British rock band, The Who. It reached No. 2 on the U.K. singles chart. Although it only reached No. 74 in America, it gave the band a new audience in that country.
Written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, Marvin Gaye recorded "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" in 1968. The song had brought success for Gladys Knight and the Pips a year earlier. Gaye's version has become a soul classic, however.
"Like a Rolling Stone" was a departure from his signature sound for Bob Dylan. More of a rock song than a folk song, it also clocked in at more than six minutes long, making his record company hesitant to release it. When they finally did, it went to No. 2 on the U.S. charts.
Still an absolute classic after all these years, "Brown Eyed Girl" was released by Van Morrison in 1967. Morrison claims he received no royalties from the song because of the contract structure he had signed with the recording company before its release.
The Beatles' debut single, "Love Me Do" was written by Paul McCartney while he was still in school, although it is credited to Lennon-McCartney with Paul himself saying that John Lennon added elements. It reached No. 17 on the U.K. charts in 1962 and No. 1 on the U.S. charts in 1964.
"Yesterday" was released by The Beatles in 1965. Essentially, it is a Paul McCartney song and features only his vocals. It was created as a Lennon/McCartney writing collaboration, however. More than 2,200 artists have covered this classic.
A song about the airplane crash that claimed the life of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper, Don McLean's "American Pie" certainly is a classic. It remained at No. 1 on the U.S. charts for four weeks.
Released in 1954, Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" was a massive hit. It sold 75,000 copies... not bad for a song that was released as a B-side. It was helped thanks to the fact that it appeared in the Hollywood classic, "The Blackboard Jungle" in 1955.
"A Whiter Shade of Pale" was a smash hit for Procol Harum. It reached No. 1 on the British charts and managed to stay in that position for a month and a half. To date, it has sold more than 10 million copies!
"My Girl" by The Temptations was released toward the end of 1964. It reached No. 1 on the U.S. pop chart as well as the R&B chart. It was the first single to feature David Ruffin singing lead. The song was first offered to The Miracles, who turned it down.
Written by Freddie Mercury, "Bohemian Rhapsody" was a massive hit for Queen. Released in 1975, it was featured on their album, "A Night at the Opera." Not many record executives thought the song would ever be popular due to the fact that it was more than six minutes long. Most songs that received airplay on the radio in the 1970s clocked in at about three minutes.
Such a classic, "Hotel California" was first released by The Eagles in 1977. It won them a Grammy in 1978 for Record of the Year. Needless to say, it was a No. 1 single for the band in America and a host of other countries.
"Don't Stop Till You Get Enough" came off Michael Jackson's fifth studio album, "Off The Wall." It was a smash hit, staying at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart for seven weeks. To date, it has sold more than 1 million physical copies and 3 million digital downloads.
Originally released by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters as a B-side, it was Chubby Checker's cover of "The Twist" that was a massive hit that even sparked a dance craze. It reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard charts and stayed there for a week in 1960.
"Suspicious Minds" originally was written and recorded by Mark James in 1968. It never charted. It was then handed to Elvis, who recorded his version soon after his '68 Comeback Special. It turned into a massive success and launched the second phase of Elvis' career.
English rock group Free released their biggest hit, "All Right Now," in 1970. It went to No. 1 in more than 20 countries and reached No. 2 on the U.K. charts. Re-released in 1981, "All Right Now" again performed well, reaching No. 8 on the U.K. charts.
Released in 1970, "Paranoid" was the first single from an album of the same name by Black Sabbath. It reached No. 4 on the U.K. charts and No. 61 in the United States. VH1 ranks "Paranoid" as the greatest Heavy Metal song ever. The band claims it was written in a matter of minutes.
"(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay" proved a massive hit for Otis Redding, who died in an airplane crash a month before its release. The song reached No. 1 on the U.S. charts, the first posthumous single to do so. Across the Atlantic, it reached No. 3 in the United Kingdom.
Originally a Bob Dylan song, Jimi Hendrix released "All Along The Watchtower" in 1968. It proved a difficult track to record with the process taking more than nine months. This was due to the fact that Hendrix wasn't very happy with certain parts of the early recordings and kept on overdubbing guitar tracks. When released, it reached No. 20 on the U.S. charts, the highest-charting Hendrix single in that country. It fared better in the United Kingdom, reaching No. 5.
"Johnny B. Goode" reached No. 8 on the Billboard charts in 1958, giving Chuck Berry his first major hit. The song is semi-autobiographical and is certainly one of rock and roll's most classic tunes.
"Lola" was written by Ray Davis and performed by British group, The Kinks. Released in 1970, it reached No. in the United Kingdom and No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.
During some downtime in recording at Sun Studio in 1954, Elvis Presley started singing an upbeat version of "That's Alright," a Blues song from 1946. He was soon joined by the band in the studio and unbeknownst to them, their performance was recorded. After it was given to a DJ who played it on a local radio station, it quickly became a hit.
"Ring of Fire" was released by Johnny Cash in 1963. The song was not written by him but by June Carter and Merle Kilgore. Carter married Cash in 1968. "Ring of Fire" stayed at No. 1 on the Country charts for seven weeks.
"(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction" gaveThe Rolling Stones with their first U.S. No. 1 single. Released in 1965, it was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and is noted for its catch three-note guitar riff. This was meant to be replaced by horns in the final recording. Thankfully, it wasn't.
"Waterloo," the first single released by ABBA, was originally going to be called "Honey Pie." ABBA sprung into the limelight in 1974 by winning Eurovision, thanks to "Waterloo." It went on to sell more than 6 million copies!
"Take Five" was composed by Paul Desmond and recorded by the Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1959. It was a massive hit, becoming the greatest selling jazz single of all time but not straight away. Reissued in 1961, it reached No. 25 on the U.S. Billboard chart.
Released in the same year as the Queen of England's silver jubilee, "God Save the Queen" is certainly the most recognized song from the United Kingdom punk movement. Written by Johnny Rotten (John Lydon), lead singer with the band, it reached No. 2 on the official U.K. charts with many claiming a fix had occurred to stop it from reaching No. 1.
A massive hit for The Rolling Stones, "Paint it Black" reached No. 1 on both the U.K. and U.S. singles charts. It was first released in 1966. Written by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, it is the first song featuring a sitar to hit the top of the charts.
Ray Charles came up with "What'd I Say" when jamming to fill the final 12-minutes of a concert. The reaction of the crowd showed Charles that he had to record his improvisation! After initial struggles because of its sexually charged lyrics, it soon became popular and gave Charles his first gold record.
Released in 1966, "Good Vibrations" was written by Brian Wilson (composer) and Mike Love (lyrics). Recorded over a period of seven months, up to that point, it was the costliest single ever recorded. More than 90 hours of tape were put down for a song of 3 mins and 35 seconds! It is recognized as one of the greatest songs of the 20th Century.
"Respect" was originally released by Otis Redding in 1965. Aretha Franklin's version was released in 1967 and became a massive hit, winning her two Grammy Awards.
John Lennon's solo career began soon after the Beatles ended. In 1971, he released "Imagine." It proved to be a huge hit, reaching No. 3 on the Billboard chart. It was re-released in 1980 after Lennon was gunned down by Mark Chapman and went straight to the top of the charts.
Written by Tommy Durden and Mae Boren Axton, Elvis released "Heartbreak Hotel" in 1956. It was an immediate hit, going to No. 1 on the Billboard charts and staying there for seven weeks. It the first single that Elvis recorded that sold 1 million copies.