I had a small stack of forty-fives in the 70s. They were, perhaps, more commonly referred to as “singles”, but that seemed illogical to me: if a single typically contains one song on each side, wouldn’t it more accurately be called a “double”? Single probably caught on, though, because typically a forty-five (a seven-inch vinyl disc named after its 45-rpm playing speed) had a popular song on the “A” side, and a
dud less popular song on the “B” side.
There were occasional exceptions to this. For instance, Queen’s We Will Rock You / We Are the Champions forty-five, which I also owned. In fact, this pairing on forty-five seemed to have inspired radio stations, who very often played both songs back-to-back. (As an aside, I’m quite grateful for the fact that no video exists of teen-aged me at the school dance, clustered among a small group of seated, non-dancing geeks as we banged our KISS-boots against the gymnasium floor during the opening bars of We Will Rock You).
Though it wasn’t typical, I owned at least one other forty-five that contained two decent songs.
BB Gabor was the stage name of Gabor Hegedus, whose family had fled Hungary during the ill-fated 1956 revolution. At 23, Gabor moved to Canada in the early 70s and began a music career in Toronto. In 1981 he released a self-titled debut album for which he was nominated – along with Bryan Adams, Long John Baldry, and Wayne Rostad – for a Juno award as ‘Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year’. All four lost to the now almost-unknown Graham Shaw.
My forty-five contained two songs from that album: Nyet Nyet Soviet (Soviet Jewelry), and Moscow Drug Club. Obviously, Gabor was influenced by his childhood escape from Russian dominion, also evident from the forty-five’s cardboard sleeve, which bore a lipstick-adorned image of Communist Party General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev. Nyet Nyet Soviet was the song that garnered Gabor the most attention, but I also quite liked the B-side Moscow Drug Club, the mellower of the two.
He subsequently released another album in 1982, Girls of the Future, which wasn’t as popular as his debut. Details are sketchy, but Gabor apparently hit some hard times after that. He died in Toronto on January 17, 1990 of apparent suicide.