On March 15th, 1949, RCA Victor became the first label to roll out records that were smaller (seven inches in diameter) and held less music (only a few minutes a side) than the in-vogue 78s. It’s impossible to underestimate the impact of the 45, which was the iTunes 99-cent download or surprise single of its day. Teenagers of the Fifties took to the portable, less-expensive format which sold for about 65 cents each. One of rock’s most cataclysmic early hits, Bill Haley and the Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock,” sold 3 million singles in 1955. In the decades that followed, everyone from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones through Patti Smith, Nirvana and the White Stripes released their first music on 45s. A handful of classic-rock standards, including Bob Dylan’s “Positively 4th Street” and the Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women,” were only initially released as singles, unattached to albums. By the early Eighties, the 45 began dying a slow, humiliating death. The number of jukeboxes in the country declined, boomer rock fans increasingly gravitated toward albums, and the cassette format. The seven-inch record never fully recovered.