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Subject:  Re: The Wizard of Oz Date:  11/29/2020  11:14 AM
Author:  Goofyhoofy Number:  137571 of 138534

P.S. I note that music also used to suffer this. Songs used to be limited to about 3 minutes because otherwise radio stations wouldn't play them. The Beatles changed that. They had long songs, and if you didn't play them you would lose listeners because it was The Beatles. I forget now which song specifically changed that policy. Maybe "Hey Jude"? In those days you had to play The Beatles or you were dead.

Richard Harris’ “MacArthur Park” was released in 1967. “Hey Jude” came in 1968.

Mary Hopkins “Those Were The Days” and “Hey Jude” were released at almost the exact same time. (They chased each other up the charts.)

Heck, Dylan released “Like A Rolling Stone” in 1965, although the record company sent edited versions to radio stations on single for play.

Part of the reason for the shorter single was radio play, of course, but part was technology. As you record longer songs you need more “grooves” (well, there’s really only one, of course) and that means they have to be spaced closer together. Since stereo records achieved the effect by having one track oscillate up and down, and the other back and forth - and then turning the whole thing at 45 degrees, the “width” of the groove dictates how much much you can jam into a 45 before you start impinging on the next groove.

The physical limit is about 7:30, although with deft engineering and precise cutting equipment you can get a tiny bit more than that, but you begin to lose dimension as the grooves space ever more closely together. And skipping becomes easier.

Other long songs which came after: “Bridge Over Troubled Water” “Bohemian Rhapsody”. I’d include “Sympathy for the Devil” but that was only released as a single in Europe.

I remember playing MacArthur Park as a DJ, loved it because it was a good bathroom break record, but it was prone to skipping; you’d have to have somebody watch the studio while you were gone in case it happened. Often we’d just put a penny on the tone arm to weigh it down, but that destroyed the plastic pretty fast.
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