After Gaslight Anthem expanded their sound on third album American Slang, frontman Brian Fallon found himself uncertain which direction to go next. It was during this period of struggle that he penned this song, which finds him returning to the Punk Rock/Folk/Americana formula of his earlier Gaslight Anthem work. "I didn't know what was going to happen. After American Slang, after The '59 Sound, I was like, 'What am I gonna do?'" Fallon recalled to Spinner. "Is there any more Gaslight songs? It's a scary thing when that feeling hits you. After we wrote the song '45,' I was like 'Thank God.' I just knew it was gonna be all right."
After penning the song, the floodgates opened and within a fortnight Fallon had penned all the songs for the band's fourth album.
The song finds Fallon reflecting back on his own rock 'n' roll experiences. "I think "45" was in there for a long time," he told Spinner. "I was looking for something guttural that could just be yelled at the top of your lungs. It took me years to figure out what I was trying to say was 'hey, just turn the record over, and I'll see you on the flip side.'"
This was released as the first single from Gaslight Anthem's fourth album Handwritten. It was aired for the first time worldwide as Zane Lowe's Hottest Record in the World on April 30, 2012 on BBC Radio 1 and was released on iTunes on May 8, 2012.
January 10, 1949 was a momentous date in the history of popular music. It was on that day that The Radio Corporation of America, better known as RCA, announced a new seven-inch, 45 rpm phonograph record. This new smaller disc with the big hole in the middle changed the pop music business. The old style 78s rapidly began to disappear and the 45s became the basis for the first pop charts, enabling stars like Elvis Presley to build international fan bases.
Fallon explained the song's meaning to Artist Direct
: "It's about not staying in anything that holds you back or is keeping you down for any extended period of time," he said. "Sometimes, you have to change and move on. That's the essence of the song. There's something waiting for you out there."