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]

317X

317X

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]

Mybeatles.net

Mybeatles.net

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. Heartbreak Hotel / I Was The One. U.k 1956 7" 45. Hmv 7m 385. Elvis Presley Rock N Roll No.2 Uk Press Hmv Vinyl Album Excellent Clp 1105 Rare! 1957 Uk Orig.elvis Presley 45 “love Me Tender” (uk Export Issue)Elvis Presley Moody Blue Lp Rare Colored Vinyl Nm Elvis Presley Spa-7-27 Save On Records Ep 1956 NmElvis Presley Epa-5101 A Touch Of Gold Vol 2 Ep Original NmElvis Presley Lpm-1990 For Lp Fans Only Lp Original Nm1958 Uk Orig. Elvis Presley 45 “tryin’ To Get To You”Elvis Presley I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone / Baby Let's Play House Sun 45L@@k! Huge Lot Hundreds Of 45 Rpm Records/picture Sleeve/generic Beatles ElvisRare!1957 Uk Orig. Elvis Presley 45 “paralyzed”Elvis Presley Elvis Sails - The Press Interviews 7" Ep 1959 Australia !!Elvis Presley-very Very Tough To Find Original Usa Single-mint MinusElvis Presley Epa-5088 A Touch Of Gold Vol 1 Ep Dos NmElvis Presley Lpm-3787 Double Trouble Promo Lp W/ Photo MintElvis Presley 74-0130 His Hand In Mine Sleeve Only OriginalElvis Presley Good Rockin' Tonight/i Don't Care If The Sun 45rpm Sun Original Elvis Presley-mega Rare Presley Golden Compact Japan Ep-mint MinusMega Rare 1956 Uk Orig Elvis Presley 45 “heartbreak Hotel” Clean Lot Of 35 Original Rca 45's Elvis Presley Listed & Graded Huge Lot !!!Elvis Presley Lsp-4579 Ww Of Christmas Lp W/ Sticker Photo NmSun Records Elvis Presley78 - Elvis Presley Sun 217 VElvis Presley.blue Moon / I Don't Care If The Sun /original 45 Hmv 7 " V/g PlusElvis Presley Hound Dog / Don't Be Cruel Uk Original Hmv 45 7 " Ex Plus Elvis Presley Aloha Via Satellite Prono Lp W/ Rare Stickers NmElvis Presley-very Very Tough To Find Original Usa Single-stunning ConditionElvis Presley - The Sun Collection - Ltd Edition Numbered Box SetElvis Presley Set Of 5 Sun Records **original** Must See Push Marks!78 - Elvis Presley Sun 223 V+"elvis Presley" Double-disc Extended Play Rca Victor 1956 Nice !!Lot Of 22 Elvis Presley 45rpm Picture Sleeves - All On Rca Elvis Presley Epa-5120 The Real Elvis Ep Dos Nm WowElvis Presley Baby, Let's Play House 1955 Sun Songs Rca 45 & Original Sleeve NmElvis Presley Lpm-1707 Golden Records Lp Original 1958Elvis Presley "shake, Rattle And Roll" 1956 High Grade Rockabilly 45 On Rca 6642Elvis Presley-mystery Train-original 1955 Sun 223 Us 45-hear!50s Rockabilly Elvis Presley Rock 'n' Roll 1956 Uk Vinyl Lp Hmv Clp 1093Elvis Presley Singer Presents Flaming Star Lp W/ Photo NmRare! 1957 Uk Orig. Elvis Presley 45 “hound Dog” (uk Export Issue) Elvis Presley Gold Standard 447-0602 Good Rockin Tonight Promo 45 NmElvis Presley Rca 47-6383 Baby Lets Play House 45 Original 1955 Elvis Presley 47-8307 Kissin Cousins 45 W/ Sleeve Nm Elvis Presley Mystery Train 78 Rpm RockabillyElvis Presley Self-titled Double Ep-rca30 Elvis Presley Import Lp Record Collection Live Concert, Studio Outakes Elvis Presley Elvis At Sun Rca Bmg Lp Sealed Elvis Presley Rca 47-6380 That's All Right 45 Original 1955Elvis Presley 47-8360 Viva Las Vegas 45 W/ Sleeve NmLot Of (25) 1950's-70's Elvis Presley 7"/45 Rpm Vinyl Records Greatest/best Of..Elvis Presley Pb-10191 My Boy 45 W/ Sleeve Nm Elvis Presley A Dinner Date With Elvis Lp Las Vegas Hilton Nm Elvis Presley 47-8188 Devil In Disguise 45 W/ Sleeve MintElvis Presley Such An Easy Question Promo 45 W/ Sleeve MintElvis Presley - Frankie And Johnny - Rca Victor Lsp 3533 PosterElvis Presley Girl Happy Shp5436 Obi Lp Cf7387Elvis Presley ~ Tv Special ~ Lp ~ (1968) ~ Rca Lpm-4088 ~ Shrink - StickerElvis " Gi Blues" With "wooden Heart" Sticker.extremely Rare!!Elvis Presley-stunning Condition Original Usa Single-wowElvis Presley My Happiness Third Man Records Limited New Vinyl 10" Single

Recent News: Elvis Presley Records

Source: Google News

Business owner turned musician releases album titled “Earthquake”
Journal Pioneer, August 25th

Before Aron Scott could talk, his parents said he would sit on a little rocking chair, Mickey Mouse record player on his lap, headphones over his ears, and listen to an Elvis Presley record for hours. © Ancelene MacKinnon/ Journal Pioneer. Aron Scott...Read more

Jack White Revealed To Be Buyer Of First Ever Elvis Presley Recording
Design & Trend, March 6th

Tags : Jack White, Elvis Presley, Record Store Day. Jack White. (Photo : Getty Images/Terry Wyatt) Jack White will reissue Elvis Presley's first ever recording on Record Store Day in April. Jack White has revealed that he is the buyer of the first ever...Read more

Jack White Paid $300000 for Elvis Presley's First-Ever Recording + Will ...
Diffuser.fm, 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
RollingStone.com, 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

Elvis Presley's first recording to be sold
BBC News, November 13th

The first record Elvis Presley ever made is to be sold at auction. In June 1953, an 18-year-old Presley went to the Memphis Recording Service to record My Happiness and That's When Your Heartaches Begin onto acetate. He wanted to find out what his...Read more