Were I a Couple of Years Younger, I Would Never Have Figured It Out

As you know, I’ve been listening to LPs on my little Crosby turntable. I discovered that RCA, if not everyone that puts out sets of records, doesn’t put side 2 on the back side of side 1. Instead, you get, in a two volume set, side 1 and side 4 on a disk and side 2 and side 3 on a disk. If you have a four record set, such as The Barber of Seville, you can see sides 1 through 4 with sides 5 through 8 on their back sides.

Sides 1-4 of the RCA presentation of the Barber of Seville

What the dickens, I thought. Those guys at RCA are just crazy.

Of course, the answer is automatic for you, Charles, but I had to puzzle it out.

You see, I’m listening to these on the little Crosby. But I hearkened back to my youth, when we had a real stereo and then a console stereo. With spindles that could handle multiple records.

You put the stack of records on the special spindle, and it would drop the bottom one and play it. When that one was done, the second disk would drop down and play. And so on.

By putting the sides of the records thusly, RCA made it so that listeners could stack the records, put them on the spindle, and then when the two or four disks are done, turn the entire stack over to listen to the other half.

The answer didn’t come to me automatically because I didn’t have or I didn’t listen to these sets when we had the stereos that could accommodate them. We just put individual LPs or 45s (on a special spindle for them) and let them play.

I could puzzle it out, though, because I had experience with the spindles in my youth.

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3 thoughts on “Were I a Couple of Years Younger, I Would Never Have Figured It Out

  1. Record labels were not always consistent in this matter, though RCA definitely seemed to prefer the auto-changer sequence. Then again, RCA, when it was still a hardware manufacturer, was enthusiastic about changers: their little post-WWII Victrola, which played 45s through your RCA television (by means of, you guessed it, an RCA jack), was designed for a stack of six (or six EPs, which used the same 7-inch disk to hold twice as much program material).

    Then again, box sets by mail-order operations like Reader’s Digest or the Longines Symphonette were pretty much always in automatic sequence.

  2. Actually, the “always” for Readers Digest and Longines Symphonette is not true. I have a number of the RD collections and samples from the Longines line, and all are in the 1/2 3/4 5/6 disk side paradigm.

    However, these are compilations of individual songs and each side is a theme, and the collection is not a single work where the order is important.

  3. They may have eventually mended their ways. Then again, the stuff I bought from them tended to be big omnibus boxes in which playing order probably didn’t matter so much.

    My last changer was a Dual 1215, which I installed in an old console in place of a raggedy Garrard that eventually chewed up its idler wheel. I went to a semiautomatic (no changer, but auto-return) in about 1976.

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