45 RPM Singles (vinyl and styrene)

TallPaulInKy

Active Member
Thread Starter
There is almost no market for the mono versions, and we don't even know if those tapes exist anymore (likely not). ... The unique mono tracks would have made nice bonus tracks, however.

Of course you're right, that's why I have finally managed to get the two radio station only mono albums and the UK mono release of Sounds Tijuana. With those three professionally dubbed, I basically have a pretty good collection of the original mono singles in excellent sound. Like many other's I've made my own "home brew" collection. I feel the vinyl used on those albums was better than what was used on the actual singles..
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
I feel the vinyl used on those albums was better than what was used on the actual singles..
Indeed it was. Many A&M singles from that era were pressed on styrene, which made them less durable than their vinyl equivalents. And also given the quality of equipment used to play them in the 60s, most by now are unacceptably worn, vinyl or styrene.

Somewhere in my dad's old records, in fact, I have an LP that was pressed in styrene. Very odd feeling! I don't believe it was on a major label.
 

DAN BOLTON

Well-Known Member
Indeed it was. Many A&M singles from that era were pressed on styrene, which made them less durable than their vinyl equivalents. And also given the quality of equipment used to play them in the 60s, most by now are unacceptably worn, vinyl or styrene.

Somewhere in my dad's old records, in fact, I have an LP that was pressed in styrene. Very odd feeling! I don't believe it was on a major label.

During the 1st energy crisis, a lot of record companies couldn't access quality vinyl, because it was in short supply for several months. The larger companies had stockpiles to last through the uncertain times, but many smaller independent labels didn't. I worked at my university's radio station from 1972-1976; and in late '73--early '74, we had to record new singles as soon as we got them because they were only good for about a dozen plays before the sound degraded significantly. Some albums were actually visibly gray in color, and these didn't last very long before they were virtually unplayable, either. This was bad news for an album station like ours was. We upgraded our equipment early in 1973, or we would really have been in trouble.

The companies that I remember having the most difficulties getting quality vinyl were Capricorn and Asylum. A&M didn't have much of a problem, IIRC.
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
Wow, styrene, I haven’t heard that word in 40 years. The music programar at the station I snatched promos from when he was done, preferred the sound to regular vinyl. He said they just sounded better over the air. Go figure. I remember they very very shiny. Most of my ABBA promos are styrene. I haven’t played them since the 80’s. I hope they don’t oxidize.
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
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I haven't heard of styrene oxidizing, but I do wonder about any type of plastic (styrene, vinyl, etc.) possibly getting brittle over the years. Haven't seen it myself, but I've seen other types of plastics crack or even shatter after decades. Although in some cases, the plastic was exposed to the elements.

I know styrene does not wear well--it does not take much to damage the grooves through mistracking. Radio stations used a higher tracking force so records would not skip on air, and they certainly didn't use the best stylus profiles either. I can see why some stations would tape the singles to play over the air.
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
That’s exactly what they did. They taped straight to cartridge at the Top 40 stations here.
 

DAN BOLTON

Well-Known Member
I haven't heard of styrene oxidizing, but I do wonder about any type of plastic (styrene, vinyl, etc.) possibly getting brittle over the years. Haven't seen it myself, but I've seen other types of plastics crack or even shatter after decades. Although in some cases, the plastic was exposed to the elements.

I know styrene does not wear well--it does not take much to damage the grooves through mistracking. Radio stations used a higher tracking force so records would not skip on air, and they certainly didn't use the best stylus profiles either. I can see why some stations would tape the singles to play over the air.

My experience with styrene is that it will distort heavily over time. When I was little, back in the early '60's, 1/24 scale promotional model cars were very popular. Every K Mart had a big bin full of them, and I had a new one nearly every week. They were made of styrene, of course.

None of my promos made it into the '70's; but a few collectors in the late '80's when modelling became popular again went into their closets to check out some of their old promos and received a real shock...their cars had warped badly over time. The cars were usually upside down "U" shaped, with both ends drooping badly. A few hard core modelers had some moderate success with heating the cars in an oven, but this was hit-or-miss.
 

Bobberman

Well-Known Member
Oh yeah, for stations that played actual records on the air, styrene was a killer. One or to back-cues and you'd have a killer cue-burn that was quite audible as the record started. Station personnel quickly learned that if a record was styrene, dub it to a cartridge for airplay.
Good thing I always taped my 45s the moment I got them the styrene singles were handled extremely delicately and those cue burns were murderous IMO
 
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