Robert Odell Jr. is an actor, singer, songwriter, and video editor who has performed with groups and as a solo artist for many years.
A 45 RPM Resurrection
In the 1990s, most record labels discontinued production of the 45 RPM vinyl record. As a result, the 45 quickly become a collectors item.
Later, when a resurrection of interest in 45 RPM records began, many artists, especially those whose work had been largely unnoticed ("unsung"), became new marketing phenomena. S.T.A.R.R. Band, and other groups that had recorded 45s, were unveiled, discovered, rediscovered, and enjoyed.
Appetites for Vinyl Records Surged
In the 1990s the appetite for vinyl record collectors increased dramatically and continued to grow at a steady pace. In an April 16, 2016 article, Fortune Magazine noted that vinyl record sales were at their highest level preceding 1988.
The quest to recapture the nostalgic hisses and pops of old school vintage music led many to rediscover accomplished and gifted artists who had left tremendous legacies recorded on 45 rpm records. This led to the exciting discovery and rediscovery of many talented groups and artists whose work had been largely "unsung."
What Is a 45?
The 45 RPM vinyl record was introduced by RCA in 1949. Sound was recorded on a grooved, vinyl disc at 45 revolutions per minute. The disc had to be played on an electronic turntable (record player) at 45 revolutions per minute (RPM).
The 7-inch disc was an ideal medium for releasing one song at a time ( a single) to the general public. As singles, the 45s were labeled and often placed in creatively designed record jackets.
The 45s (Singles) Were Often Placed in Creatively Designed Record Jackets
Why a Single?
Unlike the name implies, the single usually had two songs. There was one song on the front and one song on the back of the single. The front was called the "A" side and the back was called the "B" side. The most popular song was on the "A" side.
Sometimes the "B" side of the single would get played on the radio, catch on, and become more popular than the "A" side.
A Single Had Music on Each Side
A single was often selected from an LP (Long Play) vinyl record album. An LP contained about 20 minutes of music on each side and was played at 33 1/3 rpms.
A Single Was:
- Released for sale to the public in a variety of different formats
- Released separately from an album
- Usually appeared on an album
- Was often the most popular song from an album
- Released separately for promotional use and
- In some cases was recorded for 45s only and did not appear on an album
Singles Were Fun
Before cassette tape players, CD's and MP3 players; 45s (also known as singles) along with portable, battery operated, 45 record players were the best way to have fun and share music with friends.
45 rpm records (also known as singles) were:
- Very inexpensive ( often less than a dollar)
- Easy to share and collect
- Could be easily transported anywhere
The 1980's ushered in the tape cassette era and 45 sales took a down turn. When the 1990's rolled in most record companies began to discontinue production of the 45. As the pressing of vinyl 45's decreased, the appetites of collectors for vintage 45 rpm music increased. Soon, unsung artists like S.T.A.R.R. Band (who had made 45 rpm records) received a fresh unveiling.
45 rpm Record Collectors Unveiled S.T.A.R.R.
The collectors of the 45 rpm resurrection eventually unveiled a group of artists that called themselves S.T.A.R.R.
S.T.A.R.R. is an acronym for Sounds That Activate Rhythmic Reactions.
- Had roots in Chicago
- Was named, The S.T.A.R.R. BAND, in 1980
- Performed mostly in and around Memphis, Tennessee
- Was an off shoot of another Memphis group called "The UA Band"
- Had as many as seven outstanding group members
- Was considered to be a "Funk / R & B" group
- Often called their music "Funk Jazz"
- Eventually reduced to three members
Six Members of S.T.A.R.R. Are Shown Here
S.T.A.R.R. First Released a Single
In the early 1980's S.T.A.R.R. began work on its first album.
The groups first album was intended to be released on the High Water label, which was housed on the campus of Memphis State University in Memphis, Tennessee. The producer, Dr. David Evans, was director of ethnomusicology at Memphis State University at the time.
S.T.A.R.R. decided to release a single for promotional purposes first.
The personal goals and responsibilities of many of the groups members caused S.T.A.R.R. to compress to three members.
S.T.A.R.R. parted ties with the High Water label and later finished production of the single themselves at Cotton Row Studios in Memphis, Tennessee.
Writers, Producers, and Artists
For years after their 45 rpm record was produced the members of S.T.A.R.R. stayed active as song writers, musicians, performers, and producers.
Individual members of S.T.A.R.R. performed with other musicians and groups and become solo artists, actors, and producers in their own right.
The 45 rpm Surge in Record Sales Helped
The surge in 45 rpm record sales caused S.T.A.R.R. to develop a new fan base, as many discovered S.T.A.R.R.'s jazzy, funk rhythm for the first time. As a result, the 45 rpm, vinyl, single that S.T.A.R.R. produced began to thrive and circulate in the cyberspace of the 45 rpm resurrection.
Are You a 45 rpm Record Collector?
© 2015 Robert Odell Jr