THEY were the soundtrack to generations of teenagers - but this week the 45rpm single turns 65.
Yet despite having been written off in an age of CDs and digital downloads, the seven-inch golden oldies are still not ready to be pensioned off.
It was in 1949 that the RCA invented the 45 as a replacement for the brittle 78rpm discs that had endured since the late 19th century.
But the microgrooves etched into the new vinyl discs meant you needed a different stylus and a new record player to hear them - so for the next decade the two standards existed side-by-side, with early rock and roll classics from Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly released on both 45 and 78.
It was with the teenage revolution of the late Fifties and Sixties that vinyl came into its own - and for millions of music lovers represented a rite of passage into adolescence and adulthood.
“It was all about the ritual of taking the record out of the sleeve and dropping the needle on to the groove,” says Ian De-Whytell, owner of Crash Records on The Headrow in Leeds, where vinyl is still the format of choice among image-conscious music lovers.
“Vinyl has made a huge resurgence,” he says. “The trend with record companies seems to be that if they release a physical disc at all it will be a seven-inch single rather than a CD.”
“It goes against all conventional wisdom but people seem to like that almost tinny sound,” adds Ian.
For most listeners, the golden era of the 45 is the one that corresponds to their own coming of age. Se we asked Twitter users yesterday to tell us the first single they bought.
Peter Beard named Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ in the Wind (1963); and Steven Crabb bought Motorhead’s St Valentine’s Massacre (1981). Robert Sheard bought Monster Mash by Bobby ‘Boris’ Picket and his Crypt Kickers back in 1962 and Richard Sykes recalled the 1983 Christmas single Only You, by the Flying Pickets.