RCA Victor’s 1949 Preview of the World’s First 45 rpm Records

Once RCA Victor introduced the first 45 rpm phonographs, they knew the importance of having not just one 45 rpm record available, but a selection of different artists and styles from which buyers could choose.

Thus, in February 1949, they mixed a little of everything in with the very first batch of 45s shipped to record stores. They arrived in a custom envelope labeled: This Is Your Preview of the New RCA Victor 45 R.P.M. RECORD LINE!

Inside are seven singles, each of which is made using a different color plastic — each color representing seven different musical styles.

The colors and the records are: cerise, or cherry red, for Blues & Rhythm (That’s All Right, Big Boy Crudup, 50-0000); green for Country & Western (Spanish Fandango, Spade Cooley, 48-0027); sky-blue for International (A Klein Melamedl, Saul Meisels, 51-0000); midnight blue for Popular Classics (The French Marching Song, Al Goodman & His Orchestra, 52-0006); and black for Popular (Because, Dick Leibert, 47-2857).

The remaining two in the series are: red for Red Seal Classical and yellow for Children’s Entertainment. Unfortunately, we have yet to learn the artists and titles of this pair of discs.

As the music industry’s very first 45s, the preview envelope suggests: Use these seven records as samples between now and March 31st (1949), and for use with the forthcoming window and counter displays.

The copy writers then wisely and amazingly foretell: You may wish to hold them as collector’s items — the first production run of a record that will set the pace for the entire industry!

Made specifically for in-store use, and not broadcasters, this Whirl-Away Demonstration Record played over and over, calling attention to the colorful display.

Now everyone can hear music history being made.

Especially comforting is knowing they were all “recorded in the quality zone.”