My First 12″

From Time Capsule – Aug 1976.

In August ‘76 the postman delivered what I originally thought was an LP, but, on closer inspection, discovered to be a 12” single’ – the first I’d ever seen. It included 3 tracks from the Lalo Schifrin album ‘Black Widow’ – on one side ‘Flamingo’ and ‘Quiet Village’, with the other side taken up by what would become a big UK club track, ‘Jaws’ (Schrifin’s discofied adaptation of the theme music from the 1975 blockbuster movie, which provided director Steven Spielberg with his major breakthrough). It was sent to me by the club promotion company M.I.F.

The first 12” singles were manufactured in the US in 1975, originally as a DJ only format for promotional purposes. They evolved (thanks to remix pioneer, Tom Moulton) as a result of US DJs wanting to play extended versions of Disco tracks, without losing level and sound quality, which happened if you put too much information into the grooves of a 7” (or, in the case of an LP, as one of a number of tracks packed onto a side) – the fact that a 12” single obviously had more space between the grooves than a 7” provided the solution to this problem. The first commercially issued 12” was ‘Ten Percent’ by Double Exposure, released in the US on Salsoul Records in June 1976, with Walter Gibbons providing an epic mix, which is regarded as one of the Disco era’s defining moments.

From a UK perspective, Blues & Soul advertised ‘the first UK released 12” 45 RPM singles’ as ‘Breakaway’ by Ernie Bush c/w ‘Chinese Kung Fu’ by Banzai (both specially remixed by Tom Moulton) and ‘For The Love Of Money’ by The Armada Orchestra c/w ‘Sting Your Jaws’ by Ultrafunk – available October 8th 1976 on their Contempo label. It seems that the ‘Jaws’ 12” I received was a US pressing, although, interestingly, pressed at 45 RPM (the standard speed that UK twelves would run at – US preferring 33 RPM). Following massive club support, it eventually entered the UK pop chart on October 9th, climbing as high as number 14.

Lalo Schifrin, an Argentinian Jazz pianist, composer and arranger, was best known for writing the ‘burning fuse’ theme music for the TV series ‘Mission Impossible’ in the ’60s, whilst his most famous ’70s composition was probably the ‘Theme From Enter The Dragon’, the spectacular Kung Fu movie that finally made Bruce Lee an international star in 1973. He also wrote scores for numerous other movies, including ‘Bullitt’ and ‘Dirty Harry’. ‘Jaws’ was composed by John Williams, and swept the board with Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe awards for ‘best original score’ (he would become one of the most prolific of all film composers, providing the themes for ‘Star Wars’, ‘Close Encounters Of The Third Kind’, ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark’, ‘E.T’ and ‘Superman’, amongst many others).


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85 Responses to My First 12″

  1. Ruben Pena July 14, 2010 at 1:40 am #

    What Up GW……

    My first 12″ Paper Recordings – Issue One – Downtime.


    Special ordered in 1996 from Soikd Grooves

    980 S Bascom Avenue, San Jose, CA 95128

    Thanks Harry & Brandon


  2. dennis "citizen" kane July 14, 2010 at 2:46 am #

    Hey Greg!
    It’s kind of hard for me to remember, I was a 7″ kid from the early days, 3rd street jazz in Phila had very few, but Tower in NYC used to have a pretty decent 12″ section, as did these Jamaican guys who resold stuff on Canal street. Lenny Kaye used to have a mini record fair at his loft, and on occasion there would be some nice Afrobeat stuff there.
    a couple I remember
    Michael Zager – do it with feeling, Frankie Valli – Swearing to God, Crash Crew -On the radio and some Dennis Brown thing on that red Joe Gibbs label – A little bit more?
    it’s funny getting 12″s back then seemed secondary to buying LP’s. I always felt kind of ripped off…. when I finally got a gig I realized how much louder the 12″s could sound, it changed my bias considerably.

  3. Dave Allison July 14, 2010 at 4:01 am #

    I clearly remember getting my mom to put on Thriller, all the time for me , but that was because I was 5 and couldnt reach the record player on top of the china cabinet in the living room hall. I suppose I didnt buy it either. The first record I bought would have been Atomic Moog by Coldcut , ( only 1 3 years later since those tapes and walkmans were so trendy and handy ) it was a good start to a healthy addiction, and after listening to the “Journeys” mix by Coldcut my ears could not get enough of what was possible in the mix ..

  4. Jon Freer July 14, 2010 at 9:10 am #

    The first 12″ I bought was Alcatraz “Give Me Luv” on AM:PM. I was 13 at the time and it was the start of a healthy/unheathly addiction to buying vinyl, which I still have to this day.

  5. Jill T July 14, 2010 at 11:32 am #

    Brothers Johnson “Strawberry Letter 23” – awesome !

  6. Neeraj July 14, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

    First ever 12″ – Captain Rock – “The Return of Captain Rock” – loved it!

  7. monkeyparade July 15, 2010 at 7:35 am #

    I bagged a mint copy of the lalo – jaws 12″ in a st andrews charity shop recently – a great find indeed 🙂


  8. shiveringgoat July 15, 2010 at 7:51 am #

    Greg I’m sure the 1st 12″ record you bought was Leif Garrett’s – ‘Feel The Need’. Come clean please;)

  9. Adrian Luvdup July 15, 2010 at 5:32 pm #

    My first 7″ was something awful like “Funky Gibbon ” by the Goodies but my first 12″ was a clear vinyl copy of Gloria Jones “Tainted Love” – it had 3 or 4 Northern tracks on it if I remember correctly. “Nothing But a House Party” was there and maybe “7 Days is Too Long” or “Ain’t No Soul Left in These Old Shoes”. Pretty sure I got it from HMV so doubt it was a bootleg although it sounds like one! Sadly lost it years ago but still have the raw underground grooves of “Funky Gibbon” buried away in the attic somewhere!

  10. Mark Balsom July 17, 2010 at 9:42 pm #

    First 12″ I ever bought (from Woolworths) was Run DMC – You Be Illin’ / Hit It Run. Happy to share that, details of first 7″ since conveniently erased from my memory…

  11. Stuart Mawson July 19, 2010 at 10:41 am #

    The first 12″ I bought was “The Beat – Twist and Crawl” in the 2 Tone era

  12. Derek Kaye July 19, 2010 at 11:10 am #

    As I think you’re aware, my 1st 12″ was exactly the same as yours!! 🙂 Still have a pristine copy too !

  13. Pablo Contraband July 20, 2010 at 10:19 am #

    My first vinyl purchases were Kraftwerk – Tour de France on 12″ in Reading – The Piranha’s – Tom Hark on 7″ a few years earlier in Woolworths, Uxbridge Rd, Hayes.

    Both corkers – can’t remember the name of the shop in Reading which is sad…

  14. simon green July 20, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    cant remember the first 12 single i ever bought.. it was around 1978/79 (think it might have been brass construction or something similar)

    however, i can clearly remember the first 12 inch my missus bought .. clear as a bell… as she only ever bought about 3 records in her life… it was “space” = magic fly (an electro kinda disco french pop thing – think tomorrows world meets pop corn but imho has quite stood the test of time .. not quite a classic but hey) – according to wiki it was sept 1977 .. so we were both 16 years old and just left school… maybe she got it with her first pay packet… and it charted too.. still got that record in my collection today.


  15. TC July 21, 2010 at 6:31 pm #

    Mine was New Life by Depeche Mode. However, before this I had searched everywhere and eventually managed to obtain a copy of OMD’s “Waiting for the Man” on 10″.

  16. Coops August 1, 2010 at 1:44 pm #

    My first 12″ was Step Off, Grandmaster Flash. From the big Woolies in Bury, now situated only on Memory Lane…!

  17. dj Chang Bang August 2, 2010 at 2:32 am #

    My first 12″ was Foxy’s “Get Off”, mostly all the old TK Records stuff dwon in Miami. I was in 6th grade.

  18. dj Chang Bang August 2, 2010 at 2:33 am #

    My first 12″ was Foxy’s “Get Off”, mostly all the old TK Records stuff down in Miami. I was in 6th grade.

  19. Liam C August 2, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

    I can’t remember the exact first 12 inch but I am guessing mine was Afrika Bambatta – Planet Rock, Grandmaster Melle Mel White Lines or Paul Hardcastle 19 which for some reasons keeps jumping out as an early 12 inch.

  20. Chris Q August 6, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

    My first 12″ was Rappers Delight and could recite every word at the time – due to the fact I was a huge disco lover and would show off singing along whilst dancing!!!

  21. Nicky August 25, 2010 at 6:11 pm #

    Fatback’s Night Fever circa Aug ’76. Playing the massive Magic club in Vienna at the time. Fired after two months for playing the likes of it too. ( It was actually JB’s Rap Payback live that that broke the camels back for the club manager. ) Some of those European clubs were lavish in decor back in the day,but rarely “On the one!” – These are the moments in life that are now recalled with pleasure. I realise now it’s the combination of a life time of these little episodes that maketh the “DJ for Life” !

  22. Steve October 2, 2010 at 9:51 pm #

    Cassette Confessional , Father I have sinned,
    When I was 12 or 13 my best friend at the time and I used to steal cassettes from the local department store sale bins,( the shame ) I can remember one of us getting a breakdance tape on k-tel or something, and we used to spend hours smoking cigarettes and I would watch him breakdancing to tour de france,planet patrol, etc backspins, headspins, he had all the skills, mind you he had A.D.D. and his mother was always trying to stop him from consuming too much food colourings, Anyway also remember getting a tape of George Clinton’s- atomic Dog album, and Was not Was- Dad I’m in jail , which was prophetic as I was soon after busted for shoplifting, and thankfully changed my evil ways somewhat,
    I think 85 or 86 I got myself a rega planner turntable, and a sirus amp and started collecting vinyl, first 12″ was probably bronski beat – small town boy, or stone roses- fools gold , Big hits in new Zealand at the time, as was New Order and remember having a copy of Power , corruption and lies, still got copies today, hope this was amusing

  23. the saucer people July 2, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    As I scanned what passes as my tribes of neurons these days to locate the memory inscribed “first 12 inch bought” the full horror came over me, it wasn’t a dance record at all, in fact it was a bonus 12 inch that came with the Sham 69 album ‘Hersham Boys’ which I got for Christmas 1979 when I was 11…so it was Borstal Breakout one one side and ‘if The Kids Are United’ on the flipside! I still remember the hilarious horror of Christmas day afternoon when a packed room of relatives asked me to play the record they had bought me and the dulcet tones of Jimmy Pursey filled the air with ‘There’s gonna be a borstal breakout’ followed by open mouths and silence from the assembled room….I think because it had the band dressed as cowboys on the front they probably thought it was going to be some twee country and western ballad…

    The first 12 inch I remember buying was probably the 12 inch version of Joy Division’s Transmission (produced by the other Martin!) and the first dance 12 inch would probably have been Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five ‘The Message’ back in 1982…now if only I had bought that Leif Garrett record back in 78 when I had the chance!

  24. CousinConnor July 19, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    first 12″ . Michael Jackson. Wanna be starting something

    Ma Ma Se,
    Ma Ma Sa, Ma Ma Coo Sa
    Ma Ma Se, Ma Ma Sa,
    Ma Ma Coo Sa

    : – D

  25. diskdalek August 3, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    12″ …
    September/October 1976
    Undisputed Truth “You + Me = Love” …
    and very quickly followed by …
    T-Connection “Do what you wanna do” …
    I used to hammer those tunes at home trying to perfect my dance moves …

  26. Dave Green August 3, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

    My first 12″ record was “Down In The Park” by Tubeway Army in 1979. At the time i was 12 yrs old & my weekly forays to Plymouth’s Virgin Records (One of the first 4 in the country & still a small independent one window shop) had caught the eye of local music promoter & Virgin shop assistant Andy Howard. I liked Andy & my obvious enthusiasm for new music & lack of money (paper-round only) led him to employ me on Saturdays to shrink-wrap the weeks record delivery ready for sale in the shop. For this 3 hr job i would receive an LP of my choice each & every week. I can clearly remember getting this as well as my LP one week as i had worked a longer day and was fascinated by the cover so i gave it a listen. The following week i went in as usual for my shrink-wrapping session and walked out with the “Replica’s” LP for my trouble. I still have the same battered copy of “Replica’s” but had to replace “Down In The park” many years ago. I still love the 12″, and today having written this love the memory of how it came to be mine. My shrink-wrapping career only lasted about 12 months until the shop redeveloped into one of the first Virgin Megastores, but in that time i managed to score some amazing LP’s i still cherish to this day. I still speak to Andy Howard whenever i get back to Plymouth & grew up to be a promoter in the city myself in the 90’s, he was and is a wonderful guy who helped me onto a wonderful path !

  27. Floyd August 15, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

    my first 12 was, Reach Up by Toney Lee.

  28. Dee James August 17, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    the first 12″ i ever bought was “looking for the perfect beat” – Afrika Bambatta & the Soulsonic Force, the second “planet Rock” and am pleased to say i still have both and many, many more have been added over the years . . .

  29. Ian February 12, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    Not entirely sure but it was probably one of the following (which i still have)

    Q – The Voice Of Q
    ABB&SSF – Planet Rock
    C Bank – One More Shot

    First 7″ single was the star wars theme tune with the orange RCA label LOL!

  30. thebolivianguy July 8, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

    love teh blog , i been tryna find this postforaminute Thank You !

  31. Snoopy September 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    My first 12″ purchase in 1976 was an import – ‘Dance And Shake Your Tambourine’ by The Universal Robot Band on Red Greg. I seem to recall ‘Gotham City Boogie’ by Ultrafunk as being my first UK-released 12″ – it was certainly among the first released commercially.

  32. Rob Evans September 16, 2012 at 1:45 am #

    My first 12″ was LFO -LFO 1990 blew my mates dads speakers when the bassline kicked in. oooops : 0

  33. Tim Raidl January 7, 2014 at 5:13 pm #

    Greg what was your first 12″ you bought or were sent two copies of for mixing purposes 😉

  34. greg wilson January 8, 2014 at 1:45 am #

    Hi Tim – the first 12″ I ever remember ‘doubling-up’ with was ‘Disco Nights (Rock Freak)’, by GQ, I’d have one copy running 2 beats behind the other and switch between them during the ‘rock freak’ section, so the words repeated – rock / rock freak / freak.

  35. postpunkmonk November 13, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

    You’ll never forget your first 12″ singles. I wrote on this topic a few weeks after you did.


    In spite of what I just said, I can’t really remember which was my first purchase. It seemed like I started buying them in a flurry some time in 1981. I do remember my first 12″ remix thought. It was on the US Polydor Visage EP with the mighty Luongo remix of “Fade To Grey.”

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