In the 1950s, selling singles was a bigger deal for up-and-coming rock ’n’ rollers than selling albums. That’s where the money was, and the biggest moneymaker of the second half of the decade was Elvis Presley.

Presley’s first singles, in 45 and 78 RPM formats, were released by Sun Records. Few logos in popular music are as iconic as the crowing rooster on the yellow Sun label, especially if the name of the artist at the bottom of that label is a guy named Elvis Presley.

The first Presley single for Sun was "That’s All Right" in 1954. With Sam Phillips at the mixing board, Scotty Moore on lead guitar, Bill Black on upright bass, and Presley on vocals and rhythm guitar, the trio recorded the track live in the studio, with no overdubs or even drums. The single’s B-side was a Bill Monroe bluegrass tune from the 1940s called "Blue Moon of Kentucky."

Two more Sun singles followed that year, with another pair in 1955, for a total of five Sun singles containing 10 songs. RCA re-released them all when it paid Sam Phillips $35,000 for Presley’s contract. Dozens more RCA singles were released throughout the 1950s, including "Heartbreak Hotel," "Don’t Be Cruel," and "Hound Dog" from 1956, and "All Shook Up" and "Jailhouse Rock" from 1957—all of these charted at number-one.

RCA kept Presley busy recording albums, too. Elvis Presley in 1956 came first. It included covers of "Blue Suede Shoes" by Carl Perkins and "I Got a Woman" by Ray Charles, as well as a Rogers and Hart tune from the 1930s called "Blue Moon." The album reached number-one on the charts, as did the next two Presley albums for RCA (Elvis’ Christmas Album from 1957 has sold more than 9-million copies and remains the best-selling Christmas album ever recorded).

Presley was drafted in 1958 and served in the Army for two years, leaving with an honorable discharge in 1960 as a sergeant. During that time, RCA continued to release Presley records. The soundtrack for King Creole came out during this time, as did four compilations and half a dozen EPs.

But the things that kept Presley’s flame alive were the singles. "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck" was released in April of 1958, just weeks after Presley reported for duty at Fort...

Another collectible genre of Presley records are the soundtracks for movies the singer made from 1956 (Love Me Tender) to 1969 (Change of Habit). Jailhouse Rock from 1957 can be found as an EP, with five tracks, including the Leiber and Stoller penned title. Parts of G.I. Blues were filmed when Presley was still stationed in West Germany, and the film and soundtrack (vintage vinyl collectors can acquire all 10 versions) were both huge hits when they were released in the summer of 1960.

But the biggest music-movie crossover hit for Presley was Viva Las Vegas, which was released in 1964 as an EP of four songs, none of which, astoundingly, was the title track. Presley’s single of the Ray Charles hit "What’d I Say," which was also in the film, actually features the movie’s title track as its B-side.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Elvis Presley Record Research Database

Elvis Presley Record Research Database

The Elvis Presley Record Research Database takes a big subject, The King of Rock ’n’ Roll, and boils it down to… [read review or visit site]

Sun Records Discography

Sun Records Discography

John Boija's comprehensive site offers photos of every 45, 78, and LP recorded at Sun Records—from those recorded… [read review or visit site]

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas pays homage to international female opera singers of the LP era. Chronicling more than 800 singers, the… [read review or visit site]



Despite its mysterious title, 317X is plain and simple—an online gallery of vintage LPs, with a 1950s vintage fee… [read review or visit site]

Jesse Barron's collection of Beatles 45s, picture sleeves, magazines, books, and memorabilia. Browse singles and al… [read review or visit site]

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

This great site, from the Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors, offers detailed background information an… [read review or visit site]

The Remington Site

The Remington Site

Since 1999, the Remington Site has offered classical music collectors a glimpse into Remington Records, an independ… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Elvis Presley Money Honey 45 Rca 50s Rockabilly Pop Vg++ Very CleanElvis Presley Epa 747 45 Ep Rca 50s Rockabilly Pop Vg++ Very CleanElvis Presley-uber Uber Rare Original Italian Ep-as Clean As You Will FindElvis Costello I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down 1980 Gig Only 2 Tone 7" 45rpmElvis Presley Hmv Clp1105 Rock N Roll No 2Elvis Presley - The Best Of. Uk Hmv 10' Lp. Original!! Dlp 1159Super Wow!!! 99% Mint Epa-747 Elvis Presley "elvis Presley " W/rare BackElvis Costello I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down On 2tone 1980Elvis Presley - S/t - Orig Rca Ep Epb-1254 2ep W/ Cover Gatefold Lpm 1254 Nm-Elvis Presley-elusive Mint Minus Copy Of Uk Hmv Good Rockin TonightElvis Presley - Elvis - Original 1956 Rca Victor Lp Lpm 1254 - Mono - Nm -      Elvis Presley Elvis' Christmas Album + Silver Spot Label Rca Rd-27052 Lp5 Elvis Presley Ep SinglesElvis Presley Rca-victor 20-6383 Orig Sun Recording 78 Baby Let's Play HouseElvis Costello-i Can't Stand Up For Falling Down-2 Tone(withdrawn)-**nice Copy**Elvis Presley Ep '60 Rca A Touch Of Gold Rare Maroon Label Vg- Vinyl/vg CoverElvis Presley Rca-victor 20-6381 Sun Recording 78 Good Rockin' Tonight /i Don'tElvis Presley Special Limited Edition Yellow Vinyl Sun Singles Box SetElvis Presley "great Country & Western Hits" Spd 26 Ultra RareElvis Presley,,,,,,,,,christmas With Elvis,,,,epa-4340Elvis Presley Gold Records Vol 3 Lpm-2765 (usa 1963 Original) W/ Photo FolioThe Cramps "a Date With Elvis" Lp 2013, Big Beat Wikad-46 (ltd Ed Color Vinyl)Gigantic Lot Of 197 45's Elvis Presley, Beatles, Northern Soul, Doo Wop, ObscureRock N Roll Elvis Presley # 747 45 Ep Record & Picture SleeveElvis Presley Rca-victor 20-6420 78 Classic Heartbreak Hotel B/w I Was The OneElvis Christmas Album - Original 1957 Rca Victor With Photos - Loc 1035 Nm-Elvis Presley "record Store Day" Exclusive Sealed/sticker "if I Can Dream" 45rpmElvis Presley: Self Titled Lp 2008 Rca/legacy (vinyl Album) New Factory SealedElvis Gold Records Vol 4..mono!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Elvis Presley-hard To Find Uk Single-never Played-mint MinusElvis Presley - Rock ‘n’ Roll No. 2! 1961 Rca Sf 7528 Uk Silver Spot Stereo!Elvis Presley Rock 'n' Roll Clp 1093 His Masters Voice Orig First PressingElvis Presley If I Can Dream Red Vinyl 7" 45Elvis Presley-uber Rare French Yellow Label-r N R Vol 4-stunning-mint Minus78 Rpm Elvis Presley Rca Victor 6637 I Got A WomanElvis Presley 'good Rockin' Tonight' - 7eg 8256 - Hmv 1957Elvis Presley Rare Rca Promo Folder And PhotosElvis Presley 10" -chile Lp Repress Still In Film Wrap- Nl89821Elvis Presley Elvis Sails. Rare Press Interview. Rca Rcx-131 7" Ep Elvis Presley Elvis' Christmas Album Rca Loc 1035 Rare Lp Promo Copy W BookletElvis Presley - Crying In The Chapel Ep 7"45 Rca Victor Tp-223 Portugal Rare ExElvis Presley Lp Box Set-6 Volumes-"elvis Golden 5oth Anniversary"-superbElvis Presley . Rare Singer Presents Flaming Star Vinyl Lp .... Rca Prs - 27924 New Wave Lp & 12" Ep Lot W Dire Straits, Echo & The Bunnymen, Elvis CostelloElvis Presley - Lot Of 7- 1950's & 60's Era 7 Picture Sleeves ~ Vinyl Ep 45rpm"elvis Christmas Album" Loc-1035 Original Pressing F/1957 Gatefold Deluxe Lp NmElvis Presley-uber Rare French Yellow Label-r N R Vol 1-stunning-mint Minus4 Rare Elvis Presley Import Lp Record Collection Live Concert Colored Vinyl Lp'sElvis Presley - The E.p Collection In A Folder-limited Edition 11 X E.p'sVery Rare Monkees Elvis Presley Mamas & Papas Morricone Japan Promo 1966 MintElvis Presley Japenese Pressing Golden Compact Series 33 Rpm Picture Sleeve EpElvis Sun # 223 45 Rpm Mystery Train Original Sun 45 (damaged) Elvis "paradise Hawaiian Style" Sealed Lp Lsp-3643 Original First Pressing 1966Elvis Presley Frankie And Johnny Lpm-3553 (usa 1966 Original) Bonus Photo Elvis Presley Spinout Lpm-3702 (usa 1966 Original) Nm With PhotoElvis Presley - The Real Elvis Ep - Original Rca Epa-940  mono 45 W/ Cover Nm -Elvis Presley,,,,,,,,,,easy Come,easy Go,,promo,,epa-4387Elvis Presley Lawdy Miss Clawdy Uk Press Hmv 78 Rpm Record Pop.408No Dog!! - Elvis Presley "heartbreak Hotel" Rca Victor Epa-821 Original 1956Elvis Presley Rca-victor 20-6540 78 My Baby Left Me B/w I Want,i Need You

Recent News: Elvis Presley Records

Source: Google News

Which Musician Best Represents Your State?
UPROXX, November 23rd

Their song “End of the Road” was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for a record thirteen weeks, breaking Elvis Presley's record. They are only the third artist (after the Beatles and Elvis) to replace themselves at the top of the Billboard Hot 100...Read more

Elvis 'If I Can Dream' boots fetch £29500 at auction
BBC News, November 13th

A pair of white boots worn by Elvis Presley during arguably his most famous TV performance have been bought by a UK collector for £29,500. The King wore the size-11 Verde boots while singing If I Can Dream during his '68 Comeback Special, broadcast on ...Read more

Rare Elvis record discovered in the Black Country set to go under hammer
Birmingham Mail, October 24th

An incredibly rare Elvis Presley recording that even fans didn't know existed has surfaced in the Black Country. And the acetate, made for Tennessee radio station WHBQ, is set to spark a bidding war when it goes under the hammer in Dudley on November 4...Read more

Jack White Paid $300000 for Elvis Presley's First-Ever Recording + Will ..., March 6th

The acetate of the July 18, 1953 track was auctioned back in January, and the buyer remained anonymous … until now. White not only purchased the recording — which is of Presley's “My Happiness” and “That's When Your Heartaches Begin” — but will ...Read more

From Elvis In Memphis is the only Elvis Presley record you need
A.V. Club DC, February 2nd

Elvis Presley was at his most fascinating in the '50s and the '70s, when he seemed extraterrestrial. He came to this world a sexy hillbilly Superman and left it a sequined celebrity Jesus, and whether ascendant or freefalling, he was something to behold...Read more

Garth Brooks Surpasses Elvis Presley in Album Sales... Again, January 13th

With his ninth studio album, Man Against Machine, earning platinum certification, Garth Brooks once again tops the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) list as the best-selling solo album artist of all-time, moving past the King of Rock...Read more

First Elvis Presley record sells on birth anniversary
Times of Malta, January 10th

An acetate recording of the first song Elvis Presley ever recorded has been auctioned on what would have been his 80th birthday. The ballad My Happiness was bought for $300,000 by an undisclosed internet buyer at Graceland, the museum and tourist ...Read more

Elvis Presley record 'My Happiness' sells for $300000 at auction
Christian Science Monitor, January 9th

An undisclosed Internet buyer placed the winning bid at Graceland, the museum and tourist attraction that was once Presley's home. 'My Happiness' was the first song Presley ever recorded. By Adrian Sainz, Associated Press January 9, 2015. Save for...Read more