Album Chart of 1949

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Album Chart of 1949
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THE GREAT ALBUM SPEED WAR OF 1949

The flag of France flies at the top of my album chart for the second year running - her most beloved export was winning hearts and minds across the Atlantic. Meanwhile, for album fans in general, there was one major talking point in 1949 - the great speed war between the industry giants, Columbia and RCA!

Columbia's microgroove LP launch of 1948 rattled RCA into upping their research game; they retaliated with their own microgroove vinyl offering - considerably smaller at just 7", but spinning at 45RPM. The top secret news leaked in December 1948, and the new RCA 7" catalogue was launched in March 1949 with some 25 albums and a whole host of singles being made available straight from the off.

RCA executives were adamant that their solution was best sonically and in terms of space-saving and that it would become the new album standard format. By May 1949, phono manufacturers were having to turn out machines with three speeds; 33, 45 and 78 RPM. Broken meetings and pompous executives were the order of the day behind the scenes – no side was willing to cede battle ground in the great speed war of 1949 - in the end it was the record buyers who decided what would be what.

In the January 7, 1950 issue of Billboard, [page 21], RCA came out with a new policy that henceforth, they would issue LPs on 33⅓ rpm. This was an admission that their idea of albums being a collection of 45s wasn't going well relative to Columbia's 10" and 12" albums. The war continued on a more subtle level with sly digs and attempts at one-upmanship. RCA were reluctant to publically give credit to Columbia’s product and, rather than simply admit defeat, inferred they could improve upon it: “To serve those music lovers who wish to play certain classical selections on long-playing records, RCA Victor will introduce on or about March 1, a new and improved, unbreakable long-playing record.”

Teenagers and the Rock n Roll singles revolution would save RCA’s 45 – its’ best days were yet to come.

It was the 33⅓ LP which prevailed as the definitive album format. Good choice record buyers.

The Jukebox Rebel
25-Sep-2015

n.b. In his excellent book "Perfecting Sound Forever: The Story of Recorded Music", Greg Milner gets right in to the heart of the fascinating battle. A battle which would shape the musical lives of countless millions worldwide for decades to come…

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CHANSONS PARISIENNES
Édith Piaf
Columbia FL-9501
France
5.38 “Below average” Crooner / Cabaret

Jukebox picks: “Le Chant Du Pirate” (7.1) • “Les Amants De Paris” (5.8) • “Monsieur Lenoble” (5.6)
TJR saysHaving wowed American G.I.’s during wartime performances in Paris, Edith was in a good position in the years that follow...more →



Album Charts by year

“A-list”

1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

“B-list”

1943 1945 1946 1950 1951 1952 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019




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