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. Stefan July 12, 2010 at 7:25 pm #

    My first was Silver Bullett’s ‘Bring Forth The Guillotine – Ben Chapman Mixes’ bought from the Woolies in Orpington. Was still playing it twenty years on.

  2. Cosmic Boogie July 13, 2010 at 1:13 am #

    The first 12″ I ever owned would probably be oceanic – insanity i think. I bought that when i was 13. I did however buy alot of Elvis records before this, but they were all albums – my first being GI Blues (which I still have) when i was about 11. I also remember that my first ever 7″ was given to me by my uncle and it was Lee Dorsey – working in a coal mine. He gave it me because we bought a phillips CD player when i was about 8 and we got a free Soul CD with it, and it had that track on (and I loved it). He didn’t want me to only have it on CD…

    Sadly, i dont know were it is now.

  3. Chris Q July 13, 2010 at 2:58 am #

    My first 12″ was “I Want Your Love” by Chic but I actually bought it for the B Side which was “Chic Cheer”…….I’d heard their first Album “Chic” but didnt have the same groove that the nest album had, especially Chic Cheer,,,the progressional build-up of a crowd cheering and a a progressional instrumental build-up to a groove that was so simple and yet so magical…the hiyatt along with a guitar riff, then a little snip-of-a rhthm guitar…leading into a swoop of a full on bass and groove……then vocals.. pure geniussniss…..absolutely loved it, still do and still in my collection!

  4. Stuart Balfour July 13, 2010 at 3:08 am #

    Tough one is this…. Think it would have to be James “Come Home” was a massive James fan back in the day, think I bought most of their 12″ through the 90’s and sure I will still have this kicking round in my mums loft back in sunny Edinburgh

  5. steven hall July 13, 2010 at 3:25 am #

    got me thinking here….mmmm….its a toss up between two.
    “cathedrals” d.c la rue….on some label with a pyramid design,probably called “pyramid records” or something like that then.purchased from a records stall at one of the top rank reading all dayers in 1976.
    “you + me= love” undisputed truth….bought at a local record shop in staines. a lovely record in a nice heavy sleeve,uk release i’m sure.
    i still have the undisputed truth but the d.c la rue was loaned to plug (balearic legend) when he was plug (rockabilly legend) the warm up dj at le beat route in soho and, obviously, i never saw it again.

  6. driller July 13, 2010 at 4:11 am #

    spirit in the sky – norman greenbaum

  7. Gordon July 13, 2010 at 4:12 am #

    It was Laurie Anderson’s Oh Superman. It was already a long 7″ single, the 12″ was just ridiculously long. I’m still a really big Laurie Anderson fan. I wrote to her in the `80s asking if she’d like a studio assistant and she sent me back an application form to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, I’, afraid I couldn’t raise the funding to go study in the US.

  8. Jay Negron July 13, 2010 at 4:22 am #

    I absolutely remember.
    It was one of the most ‘knuckel-head’ moments of my life!!

    When Paul Solari (my DJ partner) and I came home from the Record Pool, NYC (mid-1975) we found in the new pile of vinyl we just received a white 12″ promo from Scepter/Wand Records for “Free Man” by South Shore Commission.
    I inspected it and seen it was only one track; the new ‘long’ 7:14 Tom Moulton Mix.

    I quickly told Paul, “We don’t need that, we have 2 45s, and it’s the same version as the album.–we don’t need to carry any excess crap to the club!”

    If I knew then what I know now………

  9. Danny Krivit July 13, 2010 at 5:05 am #

    Hi Greg,
    in 1975 I remember a lot of the major labels having extended disco versions on 7 inches
    sometimes as long as 7 min. & some… part of a special 7 inch 331/3 seres,
    but it was clearly too much to squeeze on a 7.
    The first 12″s inch I got were promo’s though the mail…
    the 1st: Dance Dance Dance by Calhoon on Warner-Spector,
    I thought… what a great idea, the quality was great…
    but why this song… it sucks.
    Almost immediately after that… a 2nd 12″… I Just Can’t Give You Up by Floyd Smith on Salsoul,
    even though this was a lot better, it still wasn’t anything to get that excited about.
    but the next one was… Family Tree by Family Tree on Anada,
    even the B side was good, “Aint No Need”.
    I don’t even know where the other 2 12’s went to,
    but I’ve treasured Family Tree to this day,
    Danny Krivit 🙂

  10. wally j July 13, 2010 at 5:06 am #

    My first to have bought on my own was a store copy of Quadrent Six- Body Mechanic at Record Bar in, I think it was, 1982. I was hooked ever since.

  11. Mark Cathcart July 13, 2010 at 5:39 am #

    Not sure which came first, since I only have less than 1% of my old vinyl collection left after moving continents 3x, I’m pretty sure it was Uptown Festival by Shalamar(import) from 1975, next I think it was Inside America by Juggy Murray Jones(import), spring of 1976 and then Bama Boogie Woogie by Cleveland Eaton(import) also ‘spring ’76..

    I still have all three in mint condition, except due to moving the covers are a bit worn. The Cleveland Eaton 12inch is on Ovation records and the cover is still in the original shrink-wrap.

    Mine all came from Hearsay Records in Hemel Hempstead where I worked part-time in 1976 before leaving the record shop and going to work for the owner on hist stall on Wembley market.

  12. Robbie Barrow July 13, 2010 at 5:49 am #

    My first 12″ was Aurra – when I come home (1980) and Atmosphere Extra special. Those were the days when you ran home from school to go to the soul club!

  13. Dave Green July 13, 2010 at 6:08 am #

    My first 12″ record was “Down In The Park” by Tubeway Army, which became mine the day it arrived in my local record shop when it was released in early 1979. I was only 12 years old at the time and was lucky enough to have one of the first few Virgin Record Stores in my home town of Plymouth. I had been fanatically collecting punk 7″s all though 1978 as it was all my meager pocket money could stretch to, however like all passionate collectors i was given a helping hand by a guardian angel in the form of local promoter and Virgin counter assistant Andy Howard who obviously understood my calling. After speaking with management the shop broke employment rules and employed me as a 12 yr old on Saturdays to shink-wrap the new records that had been delivered for gratis vinyl. From then on i got an album and 2 singles of my choice a week. One of the first prizes with this new agreement was this very 12″, the first i had ever seen. Considering PiL’s metal box was another freebie under this arrangement along with countless other gems i still treasure to this day its hardly surprising my life has been spent collecting vinyl ever since. Thanks to Andy Howard & to Virgin Records, i have collected vinyl ever since and have been a Dj/Promoter for the last 20 years, its been a life very well spent !

  14. Dave Ross July 13, 2010 at 7:27 am #

    I’m pretty sure it was in 1982 Indeep “Last Night a DJ saved my life”. Although I had been DJ’ng for years by the time I was 18 I always viewed 12″ as excessive and an extravagence. However, I think the first time I put this tune on a sound system it blew me away with it’s superior sound reproduction. I bought it from the sadly now gone 23rd precinct in bath Street which at 18 was a great thrill in itself, as it gave Dave Double decks a chance to rub shoulders with the cities elite DJ’s who all shopped their.

  15. lee james July 13, 2010 at 7:41 am #

    my first 12″ was ” Humanoid ” by Stakker, lived in a sleepy place called selby north yorkshire,there was no record shops there, so went to Leeds & bought it from Crash records on the headrow, I remember me & my bud Che nearly Getting run over by a black & white cab on the way to the shop, & having to get bus that took a hour or more to get to leeds from selby. upto then i had just bought electro street sounds compilation, The Vinyl adiction started right then.

  16. Steve Rose July 13, 2010 at 7:52 am #

    Could not afford 12″ records until I got a part time job from school. Therefore my first 12″ record was “Do what you wanna do” by T-Connection. At the time I thought it was the best record ever. I lived in Wigan, so 12″ records were not big when Russ and Richard were spinning the discs. It was only when Greg came to the Wigan Pier, and started playing Jazz Funk records that I hit the 12″ scene and bought around 200 or so. Probably one of the best at the time being Jingo by Candido, which remains a floor filler to this day.
    They cost me a fortune, and nearly bankrupted me, but boy do I still love them to this day.
    Thanks Greg.

  17. Andy Mac July 13, 2010 at 8:11 am #

    I’m pretty sure the first 12″ I got was a gift – Madonna – Live To Tell. Worst gift ever. But the first 12 I purchased was from the local Woolworths in Birkenhead – A Tribe Called Quest – Check The Rhime in 1991 on my lunchbreak from school. Before that I was buying loads of hip hop albums on vinyl and 7″- the jump in quality, when 12″s started being pressed regularly for chart records was massive. I spent the next couple of years buying everything half decent Woollies had to offer. Even though I didn’t even own a record player.

  18. ashton anning July 13, 2010 at 8:11 am #

    my first 2 twelves were uprock by rock steady crew and frantic situation, africa bambatta and soulsonic force bought at myers queensland australia, and have allways remained in my collection!

  19. Nathan Davis July 13, 2010 at 8:30 am #

    4 for money – its a moment in time…… Still a fave

  20. Rod Southworth July 13, 2010 at 8:30 am #

    Most of my teenage years were spent pennilessly listening to recordings of Stu Allen’s show on Manchester’s Piccadilly radio whilst doing my paper round for £2.80 a week. I bought My first 12″ when I was about 18 after graduating to the slightly more high octane and often very funny 808 state show on Sunset Radio.

    It was a 1990 LFO remix of Aftermath by Nightmares on Wax.

    I headed down to a record shop on Princess St in Stockport and played it to death when I got home… after a year of buying 12″ records like my life depended on it, I headed to university. A generous friend gave me an amp, a portable CD player and a couple of speakers, which for one reason or another meant that I abandoned my records – earnestly believing I could survive without and would pick them up in my second term. I returned at Christmas to find my record box perched next to a radiator that was kicking out temperatures hotter than the sun.

    I very slowly picked out my copy Aftermath and drew it from the sleeve.

    The label ‘Warp Records’ has never appeared more apt.

  21. Martin Brown July 13, 2010 at 8:34 am #

    “Play At Your Own Risk” – Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force
    Bought for B side bonus track “Planet Rock”

  22. Si Quick July 13, 2010 at 8:39 am #


    Not a bad place to start 🙂

  23. Chris Hayes July 13, 2010 at 8:43 am #

    Kraftwerk – Neon Lights b/w Trans Europe Express & The Model. Luminous vinyl. 1978 (I think). Played it to death then gave it away to a girl I was in love with. Haven’t seen her or the 12″ since, but I know which one I’d rather see again…

  24. Pezz 3 Beat July 13, 2010 at 8:57 am #

    My first 12″ was Human League ‘Hard Times / Love Action’ – amazing record specifically the B Side extended instrumentals which was a pre cursor to me moving away from electro pop to electro funk and hip hip and then late ’86 house arrived and that was it for me!

    First record ever bought was Gary Numan ‘Cars’ on 7″ and I followed that with a ton of other 7″ until ‘Hard Times’ then it was 12’s all the way. 40,000 later and even with the emergence of mp3’s and downloading I still get a buzz out of hearing new music on vinyl and handing over my hard earned so I can take them home…

  25. Andy Jefferson July 13, 2010 at 9:01 am #

    SOS Band. Just Be Good To Me on Tabu US import with accapella. I had heard the song at Clouds in Preston, amazing then, amazing now. Anyway, I had to order it on import and wait a couple of weeks. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know I had ordered a 12″ until it arrived.
    It seemed so right that such a long song was on such a big record, and it still does.

  26. John Power July 13, 2010 at 9:31 am #

    Ray Parker Jr – Ghostbusters, on glow in the dark 12″ picture disc

    26 years old and to this day it still has pride of place in my record collection

  27. Nick Darby July 13, 2010 at 9:33 am #

    Mine was ‘Planet Rock’ by Soul Sonic Force (’82), I bought it from a small record store called Geoffery Creighton’s in a back of beyond town called Daventry, I subsequently went on to buy a pair of Citronic belt drive decks from there a few years later.
    I had the 21 records release not Tommy Boy, I was obsessed with what was going on in Brooklyn and the whole B-Boy phenomenon and it was through films like Wild Style, Style Wars and Beat Street that really got me submerged into the music. I confess that it wasn’t until quite a few years later that I realised/found out that they were sampling Kraftwerk.

    The first 7″ record I bought was Carl Malcolm ‘Hey Fatty Bum Bum’ this was a few years after its original release in a dusty box in Chemist but I had to have it (think it was the Rhino cover), then from then on in I just kept buying records…

  28. dj.mek July 13, 2010 at 9:47 am #

    Great idea Greg.
    Mine was Globe and Whiz Kid’s ‘Play that beat mr.dj’.
    Rap 12’s were pretty scarce in Ireland at the time….. i fancied meself as the next Bambaataa, carrying it into youth club discos and insisting the ‘dj’ let me play it from start to finish. 🙂

  29. Fresh Wayne July 13, 2010 at 10:27 am #

    Lol! Checking at my mental files I realized that my first 12″ Single was Bobby Brown’s Roni. New Jack Swing Baby!!

  30. Gill July 13, 2010 at 10:35 am #

    I think it was Fade to Grey by Visage. Either that or the yellow disc 12″ of Talking Heads Psycho Killer.

    Either way I was way too cool for skool when I was 10!

    Shame it was down hill all the way from there.

  31. JamJah July 13, 2010 at 10:51 am #

    The first 12″ I bought (I’m not counting the Kim Wilde 12 my folks bought for me when I was 13) was Depeche Mode – People Are People, when i was 14, from Malcolm’s Musicland in Chorley – a regular haunt for me for a good few years.

  32. Andy Jarvis July 13, 2010 at 11:10 am #

    As a mere 9 year old I wandered into Goulds Records store in salubrious Wolverhampton with my Mom & came out as a proud owner of Michael Jackson’s Thriller on 12″ vinyl on Epic label.

    Turns out it was identical to the album version which I already had a pirate copy of on cassette. Gutted.

    Been a slave to the remix ever since……………

  33. david dunne July 13, 2010 at 11:38 am #

    i wish i could claim it was something underground, cutting edge and cool, but truthfully..? It was a 12 inch of Linda Ronstadt’s cover version of an old Roy Orbison song called “Blue Bayou” which i bought as a 14 year old back in 1977 – I bought it for one reason only which was that it was on blue vinyl and I collected as many coloured vinyl records as possible, regardless of quality of the song! (I had every tune released by The Dickies for the same reason).I didn’t buy many 12 inchers then as they were more expensive than 7 inch singles and i only got 50p pocket money a week. I would guess that the first good 12 inch i ever owned was probably “Denis” by Blondie. Happy days…….

  34. tony lionni July 13, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    First I ever bought would have been a Hip Hop record bought from Spinn Inn Cross street Manchester back around 1986. First I owned would have been one of my dads hand me downs and would have been a disco record like Strykers Body music.

  35. King Britt July 13, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    Hey Greg,

    Hope your great!

    My first 12″ was Groove Line (extended mix promo) by Heatwave. My dad used to take me to the record store with him weekly. He would buy records for his barber shop. They would sell promos there and I remember hearing this and blown away.

    I still have this somewhere.

    This is great!

  36. richie July 13, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

    The first few that come to mind and to hand are :

    Rey De Copas frontera del ensueno

    the clash return to brixton extended mixes by guy stevens and jeremy healy

    Uk skanking by capital letters on greensleeves

    we’ll be right back by steinski and mass media

    kraftwerk showroom dummies (still has price 30p on cover)

    Frank sidebottom Christmas is fantastic ep

    and first 10 inch

    Vaughan Williams The lark ascending

  37. Paul Nahm July 13, 2010 at 12:30 pm #

    On my way to buy turntables (in 1999), I stopped by Satellite Records in NYC to pick up a few records to play on my soon to be purchased decks. I bought Sasha – Xpander EP and Hybrid – Finished Sympathy.

    Funny you post this, as I pulled out “Xpander” for what must’ve been the first time in 6-7 years. The beauty of that EP are the other cuts, particularly “Rabbitweed” (in addition to the eponymous single)

    By the way, I’m loving all the responses. Now I have so much music to find and listen to!

  38. Sean Garnham July 13, 2010 at 12:44 pm #

    my own first 12″ I bought was “Escape-I need a Break” by Whodini – although it wasnt the first in my “collection” as my older brother had been steadily buying up numerous Electro 12’s before that day in ’84……I have 2 copies now incidentally (I have no reason why though).


  39. W. A. Northern July 13, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    My first 12″ was Anita Bell’s “Ring My Bell” on the TK Disco record level. I’m amazed that I remembered all that detail.

  40. Jay Chelsea Jon July 13, 2010 at 1:54 pm #

    Hey Greg,
    Thats hard one to remember – I think it was Gloria Jones – Tainted Love – a remix that I bought from Jimmy at flea market which used to be upstair on Carnaby Street (where Boots is now) It had a various northers soul flip side.
    If was not that the it was Town called Malice/ Precious Love by the Jam. Around 1982 and I was 14years old.

  41. Andi Hanley July 13, 2010 at 2:36 pm #

    Hiya Greg,

    Mine was “Doug E Fresh – The Show b/w La Di Da Di” on Cooltempo, not Reality.

    I got it from “Play Inn” in Swinton in 1985.

    Alas that record shop has long since gone.

    Yer can’t go back!

  42. 30ft Below July 13, 2010 at 3:17 pm #

    I’d struggle to remember the 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc record bought, but the first……well that one sticks doesn’t it?

    1983 – Loose Ends – Dial 999

    That’s how it all started you see……..

  43. Steve KIW July 13, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

    Ah, all those classic releases from other posters… I’d been buying 7’s for a few years before graduating to 12’s – simply because I could buy more records if I stuck to the smaller single (and – for me – the 7″ remains the best of all formats) and so whilst my first 7″ rivals David Dunne (‘ello mate, been a while!) in the dubious stakes (Shaky’s classic: I’ll be satisfied) by first 12 is a little better.

    Spring of 1989, first week I’d ever earned myself some pennies by filling shelves in the local grocers. I was already the proud owner of De La Soul’s ‘3 feet high and rising’ LP and the 7″ of ‘Me Myself and I’ and the moment I realised there was another track on the 12″ (“Ain’t hip to be labelled a hippie” I think!) that hadn’t appeared on either of the other two discs I rushed to buy it. I became a collector.that day; possibly the most expensive decision I’ve ever made!!

    Still love De La to this day.

  44. Michael Walsh July 13, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

    My first 12″ was “Rapture” by Blondie in the early 80s..

    My first 12’s bought for dj purposes were Sonz of A Loop De Loop Era’s “Far Out” and 2 Bad Mice “Bombscare” in 1993.

  45. gary phillips July 13, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    my first 12″ was ” chantel curtis ” get another love classic disco track.

  46. samson71 July 13, 2010 at 5:00 pm #

    My first 12 was White Lines on US import. Played over and over until my Mum ordered me to turn it off! That was the beginning for me, a life changer!

  47. Nicholas Schuster July 13, 2010 at 5:03 pm #

    I love reading the stories behind these first picks. My first DJ store experience was a bit overwhelming at the time. Revolutions Records in Milwaukee, Wisconsin actually had a great selection and a cultish following. I saw on the wall a record I had recently seen an advertisement for in a copy of Mixmag (I was a teenage anglophile…), so I pulled it off its perch, plopped it on the counter, and with it bought two tickets to my first rave. The beginning of the end in many ways!

    The year was 1996 and the record was Sasha – Arkham Asylum/Ohmna (Deconstruction)

  48. Andy Rainger July 13, 2010 at 7:34 pm #

    I used to buy lots of 12 inch singles being a dj but can`t remember the exact first one. Probably David Joseph`s you can`t hide your love, i remember Greg playing this at Wigan Pier on the Tuesday jazzfunk nights bobbing his head inside the green frog dj booth { you had to see it to believe it!} The early eighties jazzfunk scene was fantastic in the north west of the UK with Wigan Tiffanys, Moss Lane & The Regency in St-Helens, Legends in Manchester & of course the Pier spinning some brilliant tunes which i still love today, {god bless 12 inch singles & youtube}

  49. shiveringgoat July 13, 2010 at 9:18 pm #

    I really enjoyed ready this post!
    The first 12″ I bought was Japan’s ‘Life In Tokyo’ in 1979 from Bradley’s records in Huddersfield.
    I still love this track and in fact David Sylvian is still making some good music (except the stuff inspired by his divorce!) Cheers Greg:)

  50. Aaron Ellis July 13, 2010 at 9:22 pm #

    Wow thats a question mate. Struggling to remember, its been a while. Used to buy a lot of 7″s and tapes when I was a kid and play my parents records. My first 7″ was probably Adam and the Ants ‘Stand and Deliver’. 12″ wise possibly Ghostbusters or even Jan Hammer ‘Crocketts Theme’, which I even dropped a couple of years ago. I will have to check at my mums place. Im such a child of the 80’s man.

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