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/carl Perkins Original Sun 45 Lot #209 That's All Right #210 #234Elvis Presley Self Titled Debut Lp 1956 1st Pressing Rca Lpm-1254 Mono Hear Super Wow!! 99% Mint Original Lpm-1254 Elvis Presley " Elvis Presley Lpm-1254Elvis Presley S/t 1254 Rca 1st Rare Label Neon Long Play Vpi Clean Hear! Nice LpElvis Presley Self Titled 1st Lp Rca Mono Lpm-1254 Rockabilly OrigElvis Presley "a Touch Of Gold Volume Ii" Rca Epa 5101 Ep *nm-* Cardboard Sleeve Unplayed Mint Quadradisc "elvis Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis" Apd1-0606Elvis Presley Self Titled Lp First Debut Stereo Vg++ Rca Victor Lsp 1254(e)Elvis Presley - A Touch Of Gold Vol.2 (epa-5101) Maroon Label EpElvis "rock N Roll No.1" 1956 Lp 1n/1n Now With Rock N Roll No.2 Bargain !!Elvis Presley - Sealed Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite Ep (dtfo-2006)Elvis Presley "the Best Of Elvis" - 10" Lp Dlp1159 Uk 1957Elvis - Rca 6380 That's All Right / Blue Moon Of Kentucky 78 RpmVery Rare Original Dogless Label Elvis Presley "the Real Elvis " Epa-940Elvis Presley - One Night / I Got Stung 78 Rpm Disc (a+)Elvis Presley Epa-747-a. Very Early Elvis. 1956.*nm* Elvis Presley "kid Gallahad" 7" Sp-45-118 Rca Promo Dj Preview Special W/ps*nm* Elvis Presley "follow That Dream" 45 Epa-4368 Promo Coin Operator/dj PrevueSuperb Lot! 4 X Original Uk 78rpm! All Listed! Elvis Chuck Berry Everly Bros +!Ep - Elvis Presley - Rca Spa 7-37 - Perfect For PartiesLp Elvis Presley-golden Boy Rca Victor 25037 Import Club Edition Germ Yellow CvrEp - Elvis Presley - Epa 940 - The Real ElvisElvis Presley-one Of The Toughest Of The French Eps To Find-very RareNear Mint Yellow Label Promo Elvis Presley "a Little Less Conversation " 47-9610Elvis Presley 2 Lp Set "aloha From Hawaii" Original Rca Quad W "sticker" SealedElvis Presley "a Touch Of Gold" Rca Victor Epa 5088 Ep W/ *nm-* Cardboard SleeveElvis Presley Elvis' Christmas Album Lp Rca Lpm-1951 Mono Rare Still Sealed!Elvis - Rca 6382 Milkcow Blues Boogie/you're A Heartbreaker 78 RpmElvis Presley, "surrender" 37-7850 Compact 33 Near-mintElvis Presley - Double Trouble (lsp-3787) - First Pressing W/bonus Photo!Money Honey / One Sided Love Affair Elvis Presley Rca Victor 1956 78 NiceElvis Presley-lovely Condition On This French Ep-mint MinusElvis Presley-original Usa Love Me Tender Ep-mint Minus-top Copy-low StartElvis Presley–from Elvis In Memphis 1981 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab ‎–mfsl 1-059Rare Elvis Presley & The Jordanaires Ep-5141 All Shook Up/don't Ask Me Why/+++Lp Elvis Presley Golden Hits Vol. 2 Rca 923-1084 Import Ecuador Mint -Elvis Costello ‎– My Aim Is True Msfl #5822 Near Mint Mobile FidelityEp - Elvis Presley - Epa 821 - Heartbreak HotelNm* Elvis Presley "roustabout" Lp Rca Lsp-2999 Rare Silver Print Labels 1s/1s !!Elvis Presley 45 Rpm Record Covers -set Of 7Elvis Presley "hard Headed Woman" 78 Rpm Shiny E Cond.Lp Elvis Presley Girl Happy Haishan Hs-299 Import Taiwan Vg++ Flipback CoverElvis Presley - The Las Vegas Years Lp Rca ‎pl 43509 Sweden 1980 Ex+/ex+ (rare)Elvis Presley "heartbreak Hotel" Rca Epa-821 7" 45 Ep W/ *nm* Cardboard SleeveSealed Elvis Costello And The Attractions ‎– Get Happy! Msfl #2419 Mint Elvis Presley King Creole On Rca Victor Lpm-1884 Made In 1958 With Rare PictureElvis Presley Self Title Rca Victor Epa-747 7" 45 Ep W/ *nm* Cardboard Sleeve Wow!!! Mint Vinyl Promo & Regular Elvis Presley " Memories " 47-9731Elvis Presley - Spinout (lpm-3702) - Bonus Photo And Shrink Sticker!Elvis Presley-superb Value For Money Listing For These Uk Tri Centre EpsElvis Presley "all Shook Up" U:k Purple/silver Hmv Label 1957 N/m!!Elvis Presley "that's All Right Mama" High Grade 1970's Rockabilly 45 On Sun -reElvis Presley- Very Very Tough To Find Original Indian Single-low StartElvis Presley Answers Back - The Truth About Me - Lp And Cd + Booklet (mint)Lp Elvis Presley Golden Hits Vol. 1 Rca 923-1083 Import Ecuador SealedElvis Presley - All Shook Up / That's When Your Heartaches Begin 78 Disc (a+)Elvis Presley,elvis Presley,rare Re-issue,rca Small Orange Label,mono Press,lpElvis Presley 'burning Love' Japan 7" Inch Single Rca Wow!!! Near Mint Yellow Label Promo Elvis Presley " Let Yourself Go " 47-9547Lp Elvis Presley 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong Csj-864 Taiwan Vg++

Recent News: Elvis Presley Records

Source: Google News

David Bowie's 'Blackstar' Tops UK Chart For Fourth Week
antiMUSIC.com, February 10th

on the chart; Adele last did it with "21" and "19." Bowie's strong album sales continue a month after his January 10 death from cancer; he currently has seven entries in the Top 40, down from 12 last week - which tied Elvis Presley's record for the...Read more

David Bowie Tops UK Official Albums Chart, Ties an Elvis Presley Record
Billboard, January 29th

David Bowie's 2016 album Blackstar has topped the U.K.'s Official Albums Chart for the third consecutive week. But Bowie's distinctions on the U.K. tally this week go far beyond that: He's tied a record with Elvis Presley for most simultaneous entries...Read more

David Bowie Tops UK Chart With 'Blackstar,' Puts 10 Albums in Top 40
Billboard, January 15th

David Bowie's music makes its expected takeover of the U.K. weekly sales charts following his death Sunday (Jan. 10), as announced today (Jan. 15) by the Official Charts Company. His new album Blackstar (RCA/Sony) registered combined sales of 150,000 ...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 ...
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

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