Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: For later reference, in 1989 I clipped and saved one of your columns.

The topic of interest to me that week was your discussion of the world's first Pop LP (“The Voice of Frank Sinatra”), issued in 1948. Armed with this nifty piece of trivia, I have won a few friendly bets over the years.

Not that I haven't won enough drinks, etc., but I'm dying to know the very first 45 rpm made. Tell me please.
—Clifford Rosen, Southern, Conn.

DEAR CLIFFORD: This new trivia is bound to keep your thirst quenched for many more years.

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!”

Click here to see the RCA Victor 45 rpm Preview Mailer.

DEAR JERRY: Since I am without a doubt your one millionth “customer,” desperate to solve a personal musical mystery, I am hoping for a speedy reply.

Around the mid-'60s, I dearly loved a song played on the radio, which I believe to be titled “How About That.” I wasn't able to buy it then, and, now that I can, I can't find any trace that it ever existed.

All my searches for “How About That” always turn up another song of that same title, by Dee Clark. However, the one I seek is by a female.

The possibility exists I have the title wrong, but over and over she sings “how about that.” She also marries the guy at the end of the song, and a little piece of “The Wedding March” is included, as well as more “how about thats.”

Unravel this mystery for me and I'll mean it when I say “how about that!“
—Connie Laughlin, Lakeland, Fla.

DEAR CONNIE: As our lucky one millionth customer, let's hear a big “how about that!”

We might as well use those three words for something constructive, since they won't help you find this tune. You see, that is not the title.

Your mystery song is “The Impossible Happened” (RCA Victor 47-8267), a late 1963 hit for Little Peggy March — who is no relation to “The Wedding March.”

IZ ZAT SO? Of the seven charter 45s issued in RCA Victor's 1949 package, only “That's All Right,” by Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup” has a value commensurate with the significance of the event. This blues classic sells for $400 to $500, whereas the others in the set can be found for under $50 each.

Accompanying that first batch of singles, RCA included a promotional 45 titled “Whirl-Away Demonstration Record.”

The purpose of this disc was to introduce music store shoppers to the new 45 rpm format, and tout its advantages. See and hear it here!

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