- What is the easiest and quickest way to find a vinyl recording online?
- I found a 45 rpm recording that has my song. How can I determine whether or not this version is the same as the one I heard originally on the radio?
- Where can I find track lists and other information for a 33 1/3 rpm (LP) recording?
- Where can I find LP(s) that include a particular song?
- Where can I find more information about shopping for vinyl?
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Tip: If you find a vinyl recording you want to buy from any of the online stores listed above but need more information and/or want to verify the record label, catalog number, and tracks listings (for LPs), please see below.
I found a 45 rpm recording that has my song. How can I determine whether or not this version is the same as the one I heard originally on the radio?
When searching for 45 rpm recordings, you may find more than one recording of the same song on what appear to be two or more different record labels. This will almost always be the case if you are looking for a song that charted in both the UK and the US. To see what we mean, click here and view some of the sample pages. This can be confusing if you are trying to uniquely identify a particular recording and cannot figure out whether a recording on some unfamiliar label is a reissue of an original or a re-recording.
If the song you have in mind is one that you first heard on AM radio in the US sometime between the late 1950s and early 1980s, one foolproof way would be to get copies of the original weekly surveys from the radio station on which you first heard your song. They not only listed song titles but, in many cases, record label information as well. As described below, the weekly surveys for a number of old radio stations are available online and can be searched via Google.
If your song made at least one of the Billboard Singles charts (i.e., rock/pop, R&B, country, adult contemporary), the easiest and most reliable way to obtain record label information is to consult one of Joel Whitburn's books; for rock/pop, we recommend either Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles or Joel Whitburn's Pop Annual. Whitburn's books give not only record labels and numbers but also playing times and B-side songs. If you are looking for British oldies or American oldies that may have charted in the UK, you may also want to consult Guinness World Records: British Hit Singles. Click here for a complete list of pop chart references.
If you do not have access to any printed pop chart references and/or your song never charted, you may be able to piece some of this information together using online resources. Please see below for tips.
Web Search - US Record Labels
Transcriptions of weekly surveys for many of the nation's then-top AM radio stations are available online. They not only provide useful information about those 45s you heard on the radio but also fascinating glimpses into pop culture history. If you were lucky enough to grow up listening to either WMCA or WABC in New York, most of these radio stations' weekly surveys are available courtesy of WABC Musicradio 77 and can be easily searched via Google. The years spanned by the surveys of WABC and WMCA are, respectively, 1960-1982 and 1957-1970. Note that whereas WABC tended to be more mainstream, WMCA played not only the Top 40 hits but also many lesser-known songs.
Other old radio stations with weekly surveys on the Internet are WLS (Chicago), KRLA (Los Angeles), and KHJ (Los Angeles). The weekly surveys for these and other old radio stations are available courtesy of Oldiesloon and can also be searched via Google.
To find out if your song is included in an old radio weekly survey, click here to access the Google Advanced Search form and enter the following:
- In the "with at least one of the words" field, enter "survey" (without the quotes).
- In the "with the exact phrase" field, enter the song title.
- Narrow your search results by entering the artist or year in the "with all of the words" field.
- If the above yields no results, then repeat your search on Google Advanced Groups Search.
Example 1: According to the search results for "Here Comes My Baby" by the Tremeloes (#13/1967) using the above procedure, this song was issued on the Epic label and was aired in May-June of 1967 on WABC (NY), WRKO (Boston), KFWB (Los Angeles), KDWB (Minneapolis/St. Paul), KOOK (Billings, Montana), WBZ (Boston), WDGY (Minneapolis/St. Paul), KGB (San Diego), WRIT (Milwaukee), and WMCA (NY).
Example 2: According to the search results for "Darling Baby" by the Elgins (#72/1966), this song was issued on the VIP label and was aired in 1966 on KRLA (Los Angeles), KHJ (Los Angeles), KGB (San Diego), and WSGN (Birmingham, AL).
Example 3: If you lived in the Los Angeles area during the late sixties, you may remember "Falling Sugar" by Palace Guard, an LA-based band. Although "Falling Sugar" never charted nationally, it is now considered to be a garage band classic. Using the above procedure reveals that this song was issued on Orange Empire and was aired in 1966 on KRLA, KHJ, and KFWB.
Library of Congress SONIC database
In many cases, just knowing the record label (see above) may be enough for you to verify that you have the recording you want. If you need more information, go to the Library of Congress Recorded Sound Section Database (SONIC) page and click on either the "Commercial 78s, 45s, and Cassettes" or "Music Only" links under "Special Search Screens" on the right hand side. Enter the performing artist, song title, record label, and other information in the search form.
Example 1: For more information about Epic recording(s) of "Here Comes My Baby" by the Tremeloes, enter "tremeloes" in the "Name" field, "here comes my baby" in the "Title" field, and "epic" in the "Record Company Label Name" field. Clicking the "Find" button for the first and only hit gives the record label and number (Epic 5-10139), B-side song ("Gentleman Of Pleasure"), and the songwriters for "Here Comes My Baby" (C. Stevens) and "Gentleman Of Pleasure" (Blaikley, Hawkes & Westwood).
Example 2: For more information about "Falling Sugar" by Palace Guard, enter "palace guard" in the "Name" field and "falling sugar" in the "Title" field. Clicking the "Find" button for the first and only hit gives a record label and number (Verve VK 10410), the full B-side song title ("Oh Blue (The Way I Feel Tonight)"), and the songwriters for "Falling Sugar" (Rush & Leka) and "Oh Blue" (D. & J. Beaudoin).
British Library National Sound Archive (NSA) Catalogue
If you cannot find whatever you are looking for in the LOC SONIC database (see above) or need information on British oldies or American oldies that may have also charted in the UK, check out the British Library National Sound Archive (NSA) Catalogue. There, you will find an astronomical collection of sound recordings of all types with record label and other information. Click here to access the Simple Search form. For performing artists, enter the last name first (e.g., to search for Elton John recordings, enter "John Elton" without the quotes). For more powerful searches, click on the "Advanced Search" tab.
Example 1: To find out more about "Darling Baby" by the Elgins, click on the "Advanced Search" tab, enter "elgins" in the "name" field and "darling baby" in the "title field", and press the "Search Catalog" button. All four hits give the songwriter (Holland). For more details, press the "View" button for record #1 (1CD0005402 D1 S1 BD14 MOTOWN) and you should see the following:
Original issue no.: US VIP 45 25029
Some early pressings of this single list the group as The DOWNBEATS
Recording notes: 1965 Original recording (P) date
Note that the above is consistent with US record label search results (see above).
Example 2: A similar search for "Here Comes My Baby" by the Tremeloes gives 21 hits. The songwriter is listed as Stevens which is consistent with the above LOC search results. For more information about that CBS 45 rpm recording, click the "View" button for record #2 (1LP0023846 D1 S2 BD9 TELSTAR) and you should see the following:
Original issue no.: UK CBS 202519 !CBS Records Ltd
Recording notes: 1967 Original recording (P) date
Click here for more tips on how to search for pop music information in the NSA Catalogue.
Web Search - Follow Up
Now that you are armed with both a number and a record label, you can do further searches as desired on both Google Groups and Google using this information as key words, along with performing artist and song title. In that way, you may be able to verify for yourself that the record label information you have corresponds to whatever recording you originally heard on the radio.
Try the AMG (All Music Guide) web site first, and if you cannot find whatever you are looking for there, the Bowling Green State University Jerome Library has a huge collection of sound recordings with a wealth of information on 33 1/3 recordings (LPs) that is next to impossible to find elsewhere online.
Click here to access the BGSU Library Advanced Keyword search form. For best results, enter one of the following: (i) the performing artist; (ii) the album title; (iii) a song title. Also, select "SOUND RECORD" under "Material Type" to restrict your search to the sound recordings archive. Boolean and other advanced search techniques are supported. For tips on how to narrow your search results, read the paragraphs below the search form.
Example: Enter "duke baxter" (without the quotes) in the WORD field and you will get one record describing a 1969 LP by Duke Baxter entitled "Everybody Knows Matilda" complete with tracks listings, record label, and other information.
For other search forms (e.g., Artist, Title, Artist/Title) and more search tips, click here .
- The Vinyl Collecting FAQs give a good overview as well as various caveats for would-be buyers.
- General information about the vinyl and CD collecting newsgroups can be found at the Vinyl & CD Collecting Newsgroups FAQs. These groups include:
- If you are looking for a vinyl recording or have questions regarding a particular vinyl vendor, search the various vinyl collector newsgroup postings at Google Advanced Groups Search.