On this day in music history: June 21, 1948 - Columbia Records introduces the 33 1/3 RPM long playing LP at a press conference at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Developed by Columbia engineer Peter Carl Goldmark, he begins work on the project in 1939 as the successor to the 78 RPM record. Earlier in the 1930’s, Columbia had tested the slower speed with a 10-inch record, but is quickly phased out when various technical problems arise. The real breakthrough occurs when Goldmark and his team creative the “microgroove”. Measuring only .003 of an inch, it increases the playing time to just over 20 minutes per side to maintain optimal sound quality. The new records are pressed using polyvinyl chloride rather than the carbon and shellac compound used to manufacture 78 RPM records for nearly fifty years. Vinyl records prove to not only be more durable than the easily breakable 78’s, they also have benefit of a quieter playing surface. The first long playing LP released by Columbia Records is the “Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E Minor” with soloist Nathan Milstein, and Bruno Walter conducting the Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of New York (catalog number ML 4001). The album is reissued as a limited pressing on vinyl for its fiftieth anniversary in 1998 by Classic Records. Happy 69th Birthday to the vinyl LP!!
On this day in music history: April 21, 1958 - “Twilight Time” by The Platters hits #1 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart for 1 week, also topping the R&B Best Sellers chart for 3 weeks on April 28, 1958. Written by Buck Ram, Al Nevins, Morton Nevins and Artie Dunn, it is the third pop and fourth R&B chart topper for the Los Angeles, CA based vocal group. The song is originally recorded in 1944 by The Three Suns and by big band leader Les Brown. When The Platters record it in early 1958, it is initially be regulated to the B-side of “Out Of My Mind”. American Bandstand host Dick Clark prefers “Twilight” and begins heavily plugging it on the show, making it the A-side by default. Entering the Best Sellers chart at #7 on April 14, 1958, it leaps to the top of the chart the following week. The single sells over 1.5 million copies by the time it tops the charts, The success of the record is significant as more than 90% of its sales on the 7 inch 45 RPM format, leading The Platters label Mercury Records to phase out the manufacturing of the 10 inch 78 RPM record, the format that had dominated the music industry for the first half century of its existence. “Twilight Time” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.