The Culling XXXII: 10-inch LPs

May 16, 2011

Having finished listening to my 12″ LPs, I’ve moved on to the 10-inchers (make yer jokes).

The 10″ 33 1/3 rpm LP (Long Play) record was introduced in 1948 by Columbia Records. Most 10″ LPs of popular music have 3 or 4 songs per side (compared to 5 or 6 on a 12″ LP). Interestingly, Columbia also introduced the 12″ LP at the same time but reserved the larger format for more expensive classical music releases and Broadway original cast recordings. The 12″ size quickly proved to be more popular with all music consumers and by 1956 Columbia and other major labels had discontinued the 10″ LP (more history here and here).

I don’t have a lot of 10″ LPs – only about 3 dozen all told, most of them jazz. Because they were produced for such a short time they’re much rarer than 12″ LPs. I notice in my Goldmine record price guide that for many artists – if their discography extends back that far – their 10″ records will often be the most valuable items in their catalog (not that I’m intending to sell).

There are some very cool 10″ record covers in my collection – bold and simple mid 20th century graphic design (especially on the jazz titles). Here are a  few of my favourites:

click to enlarge

Too bad about the water damage.

Cool hand-lettering on the Storyville logo on the label.

This last one is a numbered, limited edition release from 1990 – two 10″ LPs in a fancy letterpress cover – demonstrating that obsolete formats never really go away, they just become art.

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