Shortest and longest singles
One of my favourite TV programmes is Pointless, the quiz where contestants have to demonstrate their obscure knowledge in order to win. One topic today was short records - singles that lasted less than two minutes or so. Among them were two which were 'pointless' - in other words records for which none of the 100 people sampled were able to name the artists. These were Some Kinda Earthquake by Duane Eddy and Stay by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs. Both
are around one minute 30 seconds in length and must be contenders for the title of shortest 45s of the time, but it made me realise just how forgotten most of the singles of the late 50's and early 60's are today. They were both great records, and quite big hits of their day, but are now almost totally forgotten. The same applies to the majority of other records of that era, whether hits or, even more so, misses.
Many of the classics 45s by Little Richard, Elvis, Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis were around two minutes in length - indeed Party by Elvis was one of the very shortest - and they were perfect, proving that more does not necesssarily mean better. Their length was limited by the demands of radio stations which wanted a fast turn over. But which is the shortest 45 ever (from the 50s and 60s era)? I'm not sure but would be interested in suggestions. Later, of course, 45s increased in length, although many of the longer LP tracks were reduced for single release (Light My Fire by The Doors, for example). The longest 60's single that I've come across is I Keep Singing That Same Old Somg, recorded by Heavy Jelly for the Island label in 1969, which ran to nearly eight minutes. Is there a longer pre-1970 45 I wonder? Suggestions welcome.