EDITOR’S NOTE: This year in our HPB calendar, we’re celebrating all things printed and recorded—and played, solved, watched, etc. In other words, all the cool stuff we buy and sell in our stores. For April, we’ve got some groovy info on the history of sound recording.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Thomas Edison’s phonograph, using a rotating cylinder wrapped in tinfoil, was the first machine to play back recorded sound. The first recording was Edison himself reciting the opening lines to “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”
- Columbia Records introduced the 12-inch, 331/3 rpm long play record in 1948. Lighter and less brittle than its predecessors, the vinyl LP would come to dominate the recorded music market. Musicians took advantage of the LP’s extended playing time to create album-length artistic statements.
- The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) and Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1982) are among the top-selling vinyl LPs of all time.
1877 Thomas Edison invents the phonograph.
1889 Emile Berliner’s gramophone, which uses discs instead of cylinders, debuts.
1949 RCA Victor introduces the 45 rpm single a year after Columbia debuts its 331/3 LP.
1957 Stereo records appear.
2007 Vinyl, long considered obsolete, resurges in popularity.
Want to dive deeper? Check out these great products!
Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting, Eilon Paz
Vinyl: The Analogue Record in the Digital Age, Dominik Bartmanski & Ian Woodward The Vinyl Detective: The Run-Out Groove, Andrew Cartmel
Sound Recording: The Life Story of a Technology, David L. Morton, Jr.
Chasing Sound: Technology, Culture and the Art of Studio Recording from Edison to the LP, Susan Schmidt Horning
Perfecting Sound Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music, Greg Milner
Old Records Never Die: One Man’s Quest for His Vinyl and His Past, Eric Spitznagel