FLASHBACK: The Best 45 Record Label Designs

by Kevin Ross - Posted Tuesday, January 24th, 2012. Category: Of Interest, Top 10 Features, URBAN

45-Record-Label-Designs45 Record Label Designs: Ahh the smell of the incense burning in the record store. The racks behind the counter with the wall of fresh 45 singles that had static when removed from the paper sleeves. The other walls filled with new albums wrapped in plastic. The turntable on the counter with the latest 45 playing with that yellow clip in disk adapter in the center. The Top 45 green, blue, red, yellow or whatever color paper this week with the list of the current music being played on the hot radio station (“Hot Radio Station, Top 45 Singles, I know what you’re thinking) We used those lists as a reference to buy the latest 45’s. Your mother or father (“father” that concept is for the white readers only) probably embarrassed you by trying to sing a song they wanted to buy but could not remember who the artist was or the name of the song. So they made up words or said something like “He keeps saying ‘YOU’ throughout the song. You know what I’m talking about…” as the confused clerk behind the counter with a huge afro looks puzzled at the ridiculous request. Buy 5 get 1 free was the thing back east and every Friday I made my mother take advantage of that deal. We both loved going to the record store when I was a kid because we both loved music.

There was a science to buying records, it was an amazing experience that the last two generations of kids have missed out on. The inside sleeves of album covers used by the label to market their other product, the words to the songs included. Some people where I was from handled their records like jewels. Careful NEVER to touch ANYTHING but the edges and scraping the needle of the record player with their finger to get the dust off before gently placing it on the record. The sound of the needle on the vinyl, especially worn vinyl before the music was undeniable. I NEVER want to be one of those old bitter people who can’t move past yesterday and the reason I am writing this is because there is a new surge for vinyl to return per today’s generation. Oh joy. Stories are popping up in various newspapers nationwide and those computer turntables have gotten MUCH more progressive and stylish…OK, I have one and I made sure I introduced my son to the concept (he likes movies much more). For this story, I wanted to take some of you fossils over 35 down memory lane to show you some of the best designed record labels. I based this on the creativity because when I used to DJ my mother’s parties at 2 years of age on a stool, I could not read but I knew which record was which by the label. Ironically I remember her friends thought I was so cute and they would say, “He’s gonna grow up to be a DJ.” Yes, they cursed me. Why WHY? Enjoy, go to next page…Kev

  • Jay Lyrie

    The GORDY label lasted up until the early 90’s I believe, but definitely throughout the 80’s as Rick James, Teena Marie, Switch, Debarge, and many other lesser known artists continued to release products on the GORDY label during their tenure on Motown.