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By the spring of 1961, after the stereo 45s had come and gone, and the stereo-33 singles hawked by
Columbia were showing very poor sales, the record industry was looking around for other formats that
might catch on with the record-buying public. Parkway records announced in the May 15, 1961 issue of
Billboard that they would be testing the market for a 33 1/3 rpm "compact double," essentially a
33 version of the tried and true 45 rpm EPs that had been around since the early 1950s. Their test case
would be a new Chubby Checker offering, and Chubby was hot at the time. Each side would have 2
songs, and the discs would sell for $. They would be mono. The Parkway disc would be viewed as
a bellweather, and many other labels waited for the outcome of this experiment.
It failed miserably. Record stores didn't want to carry another format, and people were reluctant to buy
it. None of the four songs charted from the compact double, though "Dance the Mess Around" charted
from a regular 45. But that didn't stop some of the majors from jumping in to test the
"compact double" market. Capitol issued about a dozen discs featuing their most popular artists' biggest
hits. RCA-Victor started issuing compact doubles, too. These major labels found the same thing that
Parkway did. They didn't sell.
In October, 1961, Archie Bleyer announced that he would release six "Little LPs" with three songs on
each side, in mono, taken from hit artists in Cadence's back catalog. It was a new format and this was
the first time the term "Little LP" had been used. Cadence put a series of ads (see left) in
Billboard over the next several months, but when these hit the stores, they got the same chilly
reception that the compact doubles received several months before. By spring, 1962, Bleyer gave up.
Mercury immediately liked the Cadence idea, though, and in November, 1961, barely a month after
Cadence's announcement, started their own series of mono "Little LPs." They called them "Compact 6
Little LPs." The initial offering was ten different records, but Mercury abandoned the series almost
immediately for lack of interest. The next fall, a Billboard story (9/22/62, page 4) noted that "A
Mercury executive shudderingly recalled the experiment. 'Bombsville,' he said."
The First Generation
But somebody was listening. That somebody was in the form of Seeburg jukebox company. They
liked the idea of Little LPs, but wanted them in stereo to play in a jukebox they had planned. They began
working with various labels on a very hush-hush project, to produce some of these stereo Little LPs.
Then in September, 1962, they began to tease the industry about a new jukebox that would be
"revolutionary." The curtain was unveiled later in September on their new stereo jukebox console which
could play Little LPs and had places to display album covers for them (see photo below). Seeburg gave
credit to Cadence for the innovation of the Little LP, and pointed out that jukeboxes had largely become
fixtures in adult rather than teenage venues, and Little LPs with adult content such as easy listening or
country would sell very well in bars and other adult meeting places.
Immediately, the industry as a whole spoke up, as usual with divided opinions. Making Little LPs for
jukebox purposes could be seen as a promotional tool to sell their albums. But nobody was jumping on
any bandwagon that even remotely suggested they would be viable as a retail item in stores. Been
there, done that, got the red ink. Everyone seemed to see making Little LPs for Seeburg — and
whatever other jukebox manufacturer wanted them — would be a promotional jukebox-use-only
sort of thing. Seeburg agreed, although by making the Little LPs available for jukebox operators through
"one-stop" record distributors, it also meant that should members of the general public want these, they
could be ordered through record stores. But no advertising aimed at the general public would be done.
Seeburg hit the ground running. Before the new jukebox was even available, they had signed up
ABC-Paramount, Audio Fidelity, Cadence, Columbia, Command, Decca, Dot, Everest, Impulse,
Jazzland/Riverside, Kapp, London/Monument, Mercury, RCA-Victor, Time, and Washington. The list of
artists looked like a who's who of easy listening and classical music. Nary a rock and roller in the bunch.
The discs would cost the jukebox operators $ each and would be distributed mainly through
Seeburg as well as the individual record labels' distributors. Seeburg would put together a catalog of
available titles for jukebox operators.
By January, 1963, just a mere few months after the jukebox became available, that catalog included 233
different Little LPs. By 1964, Seeburg was openly gloating in the trade press about how their idea had
been a success in the face of all the naysayers, and that they had sold in excess of 200,000 Little LPs.
Seeburg noted in January, 1966, that they had spent over 5 million dollars on the program. By 1966,
there would be over 1000 Little LPs in the catalog, and that didn't include the Little LPs in circulation
specifically made for other jukebox companies like Wurlitzer or ATI.
But by October, 1967, Seeburg found that being a Little LP producer and distributor was getting to be a
drag on their jukebox business. So they sold their catalog, inventory and distribution network to Robert
Garmisa at Garmisa Distributing who would set up a new company (Garwin Sales) to take over their
catalog and distribution ( Billboard, 10/28/67, page 1, see right). Bobby Garmisa was enthusiastic,
and promised that Little LPs would henceforth be released at the same time as the parent albums, not
later as had been the case. Garmisa, it turned out, had underestimated the effect of problems such as a
no-return policy on Little LPs, and the ambivalence of the one-stops to carrying the product, not to
mention that the jukebox programmers and operators were not all sold on the idea of Little LPs.
By 1969, after more than a year of Little LP hassles, Garmisa finally gave up. "We thought it would be a
cinch because we were record distributors and had a pulse on the business.," Garmisa later told
Billboard (8/29/70, page 43). "But even our best release only sold 5,000 to 7,000 copies even
though there's an estimated 500,000 jukeboxes. We invested 86 cents to $1 in each package, which
didn't leave one-stops too much room to work, especially when we could not offer a return privilege."
When Garmisa left the Little LP business, he sold the 100,000 Little LPs he had in the erstwhile Seeburg
inventory to WIND-Chicago newsman Henry Baskin (aka Bill Churchill), along with partner Reuben
"Rube" Lawrence. Baskin began offering this older stock at 50 cents on the dollar through his new
company Baskase Products. Baskin's stock, including Little LPs from Columbia/Epic. Soma, Bomar,
Warner Bros., Atlantic, London, UA, Blue Note, Hilltop, and Reprise, was sold off piecemeal. By
February, 1973, Lawrence noted that they had peddled some 50,000 Little LPs overseas to the UK and
The zenith of the Little LP was the 1966-67 period. By 1969, however, with Garmisa exiting the
business, output of Little LPs dropped to nearly zero. A few small manufacturers, like Thunderbird and
Juke, issued some, but that was about it. For over a year, from 1969 to mid-1970, there were no firms
actively producing and distributing large numbers of Little LPs for the big labels, and this marked the end
of the first generation of the Little LPs.
The Second Generation
In the spring of 1970, two other companies were formed to issue Little LPs for the labels who wanted
them. This was the beginning of the second generation of Little LPs, a phase where many fewer Little
LPs were manufactured. Whereas in 1965-66, hundreds of Little LPs were being issued per year, output
in the second phase, which lasted from 1970 to 1975, was reduced to averaging fewer than 80 per year.
But the content shifted more toward rock music than during the first generation.
One of these companies was run by Bernie Yudkofsky of Gold-Mor distributing Co. In Englewood, NJ.
Yudkofsky initially bought some of the stock from Baskase and started producing new releases for
Columbia/Epic and London/Parrot (he had 9 new releases by August, 1970). Yudkofsky took a
conservative approach to releases, stating, "Why should I do what was done years ago when the Little
LP program was ruined – why should I flood the market?" By May, 1971, Gold-Mor had produced
26 new Little LPs, then released four more Little LPs, this time from RCA, in August, 1971. By January,
1973, Yudkofsky had released 57 titles (averaging about 24 titles a year).
Somewhat more active was Richard Prutting's Little LPs Unlimited, located in
Northfield, IL. Little LPs Unlimited had nine releases out by May, 1970 (mostly from Decca and Atlantic),
and by the end of August, 1970, had brought out 17 new Little LPs, manufacturing discs for Sun
International in addition to Atlantic/Cotillion and Decca/Kapp. Little LPs Unlimited numbered their
product, starting at #101. They had reached 48 (or LLP#148) by May, 1971, 62 by August, 1971, 70 by
November, 1971, 102 by January, 1973, and 134 by November, 1973 (averaging about 54 titles per
The two newcomers disagreed on one thing. While Yudkofsky felt the covers (and labels) should
accurately reflect the parent LP cover, including being in full color, Prutting did not think color covers
were important, and his Little LPs had monochrome covers from the start. The Gold-Mor Little LPs for
Columbia and London/Parrot at this point also started using the normal LP labels (example at left).
Both were of the opinion, however, that big hits did not belong on Little LPs, because they were already
on the juke boxes. So the Little LP (at left) for Simon & Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water,
for example, did not include the title track. These second-generation Little LPs often had only five
songs, since full LPs of the time typically had only 10 songs instead of the 12 which was normal in the
Although both Yudkofsky and Prutting talked up the success of their product in the trade press, a few
things were happening that would have negative consequences later. In 1971, Seeburg began making
jukeboxes that didn't play 33s, and although they could be converted to do so, the default was that Little
LPs weren't popular enough to warrant hardware attention. The other jukebox makers weren't far
behind. Also, because Little LPs could not be returned for credit like ordinary singles, buyers were very
cautious before investing in them.
In May, 1972, Little LP Unlimited moved to Danbury, CT, and were planning to expand into
quadraphonic Little LPs.
By 1973, the Little LP as a jukebox commodity was dying. Some of the same problems that killed off the
first generation were still nagging the second. In August, 1973, Billboard (8/13/73, page 27) did a
survey of jukebox programmers and found them quite apathetic about Little LPs. "Do you know
someone that needs some? I'll sell them cheap," one operator sarcastically noted. They just weren't that
popular with programmers, one-stops, or customers. The lack of popularity, according to
Billboard, traced to both higher cost and lack of requests, a sure-fire two-barreled killer, going
against all the principles of economic success.
The quadraphonic Little LPs didn't help, either, especially since there were few quad jukeboxes, and the
customers were lukewarm about quad anyway. The two Little LP companies limped through 1974 and
1975 putting out very few titles, less than half what they were issuing a few years earlier. The Little LP
chapter in music history ended by the end of 1975, with essentially no new titles in 1976.
Some of the big record companies — and the indies putting out punk rock in the early 1980s
— have put out similar discs as specialty items for fans since then, but the Little LP era for
jukeboxes was over.
As far as record collectors are concerned, they generally refer to Little LPs as "Jukebox EPs," because
that's essentially what they were. Often the labels would say "promotion" or "for jukebox use only" on
them, as did the OKeh example at right. For collectors, finding a reasonably priced Little LP today is
fairly simple, since there were lots of them made in the 1960s and 1970s — as long as you're not
too choosy about which Little LP you want. Sought-after items like Led Zeppelin or Rolling Stones
discs can command premium prices, but they are usually still available.
Accurately dating the releases of these Little LPs can be tricky. Some web sites date them as coming
out simultaneously with the parent LP, but this was rarely the case, due to the time it took to get them
pressed, covers made, etc., which all took place after the parent LP was released. For example, Neil
Young's Harvest LP hit the Billboard chart in early March, 1972, while the Little LP
counterpart did not come out until September of that year. It was quite normal to have a delay of a month
or longer before the Little LP was issued.
The dates of release shown in this discography are based on announcements in Billboard or by
dating the "Seeburg Part Numbers" of Little LPs from the Seeburg Stereo Album Library catalog (the
example shown at left is from the spring of 1966). These "part numbers" were assigned consecutively as
the Little LPs entered the catalog
Often we have noted when the original LP was released for those Little LPs released years after the
parent LP. Although many labels participated in the Little LP era, typically a label would release the
Little LPs in bunches, not like full LPs which came out a few at a time fairly regularly. For example, the
Chess labels (Chess, Checker, Argo/Cadet) released almost all their Little LPs in a bunch in 1963, even
though some of the full LPs came out years earlier. Cadet put one out years later, but essentially labels
would try out the format, and either like it or not. Similarly, Kapp came out with a slug of Little LPs in
1964, then stopped until the Second Generation Little LPs in 1970-72.
It should also be noted that some of these jazz Little LPs only have one song on each side, similar to the
stereo-33 singles listed in Part 2. The difference is that while stereo-33s usually had a normal length
song of around 3 minutes on each side, the Little LPs have songs perhaps in the 6-10 minute range on
each side, and are usually numbered with Little LP designations, not stereo-33 designations.
To our knowledge, there has not been a systematically researched discography of Little LPs before this.
As such, this can be considered a "work in progress," and will be updated as more information is
gathered in the future. Certainly this discography does not claim to be complete at this point.
In the discography below, labels with large numbers of releases have been put on a separate page to
maintain flow, and can be reached by clicking on the label photo or label name.
We would appreciate any additions or corrections to this discography. Just send them to us via e-mail . Both Sides Now Publications is an information
web page. We are not a catalog, nor can we provide the records listed below. We have no association
with any of these record labels. Should you be interested in acquiring the Little LPs (jukebox EPs) listed
in this discography (which are all out of print), we suggest you see our Frequently Asked Questions page and follow the
instructions found there. This story and discography are copyright 2014, 2015 by Mike Callahan.
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