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Digital Subscriptions > Long Live Vinyl > Jul 2019 - David Bowie > THE HISTORY AND ONGOING RELEVANCE OF THE SPLIT 7" SINGLE


Today’s punk bands have found a natural bedfellow in the split 7" single. Huw Baines explores the fascination of this vinyl format of choice


When punk happened in the late 70s, snatching the guitars away from rock gods mid-solo and sending disco balls spinning off their axes, the kids in the front row took home a message: you can do this too.

A handful of bands formed each time Th e Clash played the back room of a London boozer, or whenever the stage at CBGB in New York City’s Bowery was decked out with Ramones, and it was inevitable that this DIY attitude would eventually extend to the actual nuts and bolts of making records.

Independent labels soon commenced operations beyond the reach of what would become the big six majors, and became iconic names themselves. Outfits such as Stiff, Rough Trade, SST, Dischord and Epitaph are now seen as pioneers, but one functional, egalitarian vinyl format would also help to push things even closer to what was going on at street level: the split 7".

Decades earlier, the 45 had rapidly become popular music’s currency of choice, sending more songs into more homes than ever witnessed before. 45s were everything shellac 78s weren’t: cheap, portable, durable and youth-facing. Th ey were seven inches of teenage rebellion. Split singles took those positives and ran with them, helping to democratise music even further in punk’s roiling wake.

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About Long Live Vinyl

1969 was the year that changed everything for David Bowie, and in our exclusive cover feature we speak to his former girlfriend Hermione Farthingale, plus bandmates John 'Hutch' Hutchinson and George Underwood to get the inside story. With three new Bowie boxsets out this year, you won't want to miss these rare interviews with the people who knew Bowie best – and our stunning collector's cover. Elsewhere this issue, we meet the ever-engaging Richard Hawley for a pint and a chat about his new album, Further, while Calexico and Iron & Wine tell us about their collaboration LP, Years To Burn. On the 40th anniversary of Joy Division's stellar debut Unknown Pleasures, Peter Hook takes us inside the making of the album, and we look back at another classic, Talk Talk's The Colour Of Spring. We also pay tribute to US indie label Merge on their 30th birthday and hear from James Lavelle about working with DJ Shadow, Thom Yorke, Richard Ashcroft and Danny Boyle. If all that's not enough, we bring you 40 essential vinyl samplers and meet Super Furry Animals artwork designer Pete Fowler. Plus you'll find the widest range of new album, reissue and hi-fi gear reviews anywhere on the newsstand. Long Live Vinyl is THE magazine for vinyl lovers. Pick up your copy today…