311 words on Music
Dave has written a very nice Ode to the Single, giving an account of why singles were important. Obviously, I am too young to have experienced the golden age of the single.
I only remember that my grandparents had an album full of singles from the fifties. Most of them had large holes so you'd need the adaptor thingy Dave describes. (In fact even my parents' record player still has a solid plastic thing in its case to play those singles and Jean's Bang & Olufsen record player has a clever plastic bit that enables you to play those big-holed singles and is automatically pushed into the turntable itself if you're using a normal record – quite clever.) Right now I own 7" vinyl singles: Hefer's The Hymn for the Cigarettes and The White Stripe's Fell in love with a Girl. Bot have small holes.
I also have three CD singles, Placebo's Slave to the Wage, Ikara Colt's One Note and The Cure's Friday I'm in love, which was my first CD ever and given to me by my brother at the same birthday that I got the stereo with a CD player from my parents. As the low numbers suggest, I am not really into singles. Partly, as Dave says, because they're rather pricey compared to albums, but even more because they're quite impractical as you have put on a new one really soon.
Interestingly, I have been told that although we are being severly ripped off by the music industry these days, albums were much more expensive in the sixties and seventies than they are today once to take inflation into account. That doesn't seem to be true for singles. [Although I don't really have data compare German prices back then with German prices these days – music tends to be cheaper in the US].