Twelve-inch single  

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"In 1976 Salsoul Records release the first commercially-available twelve-inch single. Walter Gibbons takes Double Exposure’s "Ten Percent" and works it into an 10 minute disco extravaganza. Repetitive beats and disco music as we know it, is born."--Sholem Stein

Generic Salsoul Records twelve inch sleeve (1970s)
Generic Salsoul Records twelve inch sleeve (1970s)

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The 12-inch [30 cm] single gramophone record came into existence with the advent of disco music in the 1970s. The first 12" single was actually a 10" acetate used by a mix engineer (Jose Rodriquez) in need of a Friday night test copy for famed disco mixer Tom Moulton. As no 7" acetates could be found, a 10" blank was used. Mr. Moulton, feeling silly with a large disc that only had a few centimeters of groove on it, asked Rodriguez to re-cut it so the grooves looked more spread out. Because of the wider spacing of the grooves, a broader overall dynamic range (distinction between loud and soft) was made possible. This was immediately noticed to give a more favorable sound for discotheque play.

The first official promotional 12" single was Southshore Commission's "Free Man". At first, these special versions were only available as promotional copies to DJs. By 1976, with the release of "Ten Percent" by Double Exposure, the new format was sold to the general public. But also "Theme From Shaft" by Isaac Hayes (Stax 5C 052Z-62266 released 1971) could be one of the first.

Early history

The first official promotional 12-inch single was South Shore Commissions' "Free Man". At first, these special versions were only available as promotional copies to DJs. Examples of these promos, released at almost the same time in 1975, are Gary Toms Empire – "Drive My Car", Don Downing – "Dream World", Barrabás – "Mellow Blow", The Trammps – "Hooked for Life", Ace Spectrum – "Keep Holdin' On", South Shore Commission – "Train Called Freedom", The Chequers – "Undecided Love", Ernie Rush – "Breakaway", Ralph Carter – "When You're Young and in Love", Michael Zager & The Moon Band feat. Peabo Bryson – "Do It With Feeling", Monday After – "Merry-Go-Round", The Ritchie Family – "I Want To Dance" and Frankie Valli – "Swearin' to God".

The first song found on a 12-inch single is "Love to Love You Baby" by Donna Summer, released worldwide by Atlantic Records in 1975. This song was originally a full side of her North American debut release, but released again in early 1977 backed with "Try Me, I Know We Can Make It", on the Oasis/Casablanca label. By 1976, with the release of "Ten Percent" by Double Exposure on Salsoul Records, the new format was being sold to the general public. As from 1976, the issued 12-inch single trend spread to Jamaica, where hundreds of reggae 12-inch singles were pressed and commercially issued as "discomix" to catch on the disco hype. These singles included The Maytones' "Creation Time" (GG Records, 1976) and Bob Marley and the Wailers' "Keep on Moving" (Upsetter Records, 1977) produced and remixed by Lee "Scratch" Perry, featuring a dub mix and a rap mix by Wung Chu all gathered on the same side and edited together. The Jamaican reggae and disco trend also hit London, where reggae was popular and many new punk groups such as The Clash ("London Calling"/"Armagideon Times", 1979) issued 12-inch singles – but these were mostly regular A-sides, not remixes.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Twelve-inch single" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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