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 Costello I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down 1980 Gig Only 2 Tone 7-inchElvis Presley 33 Record Lpm-1254 First Album No Ring Wear Near MintCollection Of 14 Elvis Presley 7" Vinyl, Inc. 6 Eps And 8 Singles, With Rare EpsElvis Presley Blue Suede Shoes Orig 1956 Uk 45 On Hmv.7m 405 V/g Elvis Presley 45 Record Ep Epb-1254 Gatefold Set Near Mint With Nea Mint RecordsElvis Presley-elvis' Gold Records Volume 4-rare Orig. 1968 Us Mono Lp In Shrink First Double Ep Original Elvis "elvis Presley" Epb-1254Elvis Presley - Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis Lp Rare Quadraphonic QuadElvis Chile Only Cml-3012 10" Lp Rock'n'roll Ex/ex Wow!Elvis Presley A Touch Of Gold Extended Play Ep Rca Victor Epa-5088Harder To Find Elvis Presley 78 I Love You Because Canada Rca Victor 20-6639 E-Elvis Chile Only Cml-3009 10" Red Cover Lp Rock'n'roll Y Su Conjunto Wow!Elvis Presley - A Date With Elvis (lpm-2011) - Rare "alcoa Wrap" Banner!! 7" Elvis Presley Milkcow Blues Boogie / You're A Heartbreaker SunElvis "from Vegas To Memphis" Sealed 2 Lp W/bonus Stickers & Pictures $600+ LpElvis Presley (2) Lp Lot Kissin' Cousins Both Covers Do Not Have Cast PhotosElvis Presley - Elvis' Christmas Album (loc-1035) - Nm Original Pressing! Elvis Presley 45 Record Ep Dtfo-2006 Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite Cover OnlyElvis Presley Joshua Fit The Battle Gold Standard 45 W/ Ps Near Mint Rca447-0651Elvis Presley Lot Of 96 Lps Book Rockin' With Quadradisc Aloha First Album CleanUnusual Picture Disc 7 In Record With Star Trek Comic And Plays Elvis PresleyLot Of (20) 1960's-70's Elvis Presley 7"/45 Rpm Vinyl Records W/picture SleevesElvis Presley- Hmv Rock N Roll No1-99p StartElvis Presley Lpm-1254 1st Self Titled Lp Original 1956 ExcElvis Presley-the King Of Rock'n' Roll-complete 50s Masters 6 Lp Set. Must See.45 Rpm Original Sun Records 217 Elvis Presley Scotty & Bill Baby Lets Play HouseRare Rock And Roll- Elvis Presley Christmas AlbumElvis Presley-original Hmv-good Rockin Tonight Ep-99p StartElvis Presley Epa-5088 A Touch Of Gold Ep Maroon Label NmElvis Presley I Want You, I Need You, I Love You Og Uk Purple / Gold Hmv 7" 7mElvis Presley A Touch Of Gold Volume 3 Epa 5141 Holly Lewis Perkins Berry Rare Promo Elvis Presley " O Come,all Ye Faithful" 74-0572Early Rocker Ep - Elvis Presley - Rca Victor Epb-1254 Original - Nice Sleeve1977 Elvis Presley 20 Golden Hits 10x 7"" Picture Cover Vinyl Box Set Usa Ltd Ed"elvis" Lpm-1382 1st Pressing 1956 Super Rare Ad Back Cover Near Mint Shape Wow!Elvis Presley € Original Elvis Presley "aloha From Hawaii" Ep Sealed With Juke TabsElvis Presley Germany Ep Volume 1 Rca Epa - 992 - Tri CenterRockabilly 45 Elvis Presley Mystery Train Rca 6357 Store Stock Nm-Elvis Costello Alison 7" Stiff Records 1977 Very Rare OriginalElvis Presley His Hand In Mine Lp Rare Taiwanese Press Color Vinyl Taiwan 1960'sElvis Presley Gold Standard Picture Slv Rca Victor 45rpm Single Lot 43 Records From Elvis In Memphis Lsp-4155 Shrink Rare Bonus Sticker 1969 NiceElvis Presley *girls! Girls!* Rca Lpm 2621 W/ Calendar Mono Vinyl Record LpElvis Costello One Less Than Zero 7" Stiff Records"elvis Presley" Lpm-1254 1st Pressing 1956 Neon Pink Cover Rare Pd Label Nice!Elvis Presley 12 Lp Vinyl Lot Christmas Nbc Import Scarum Via Hawaii Msg Elvis Presley A Date With Elvis 1963 Us Rca Victor Issue 1959 LpMonaural Lpm-2621 Elvis Presley " Girls,girls,girls" With Mint Bonus CalendarElvis "elvis Fool Lp" Sealed Apl1-0283 Only Pressing On Orange Label 1973 MintL@@k Elvis Presley Christmas Album 50th Anniversary Lp Gatefold + Booklet Ex+Elvis Presley/ann Margret,rca Epa 4382,"viva Las Vegas",us,7"ep With P/c,rare,m-45 Rpm Original Sun Records 217 Elvis Presley Scotty & Bill Baby Lets Play HouseElvis Presley €Elvis Presley 1968 Rca 45rpm You'll Never Walk Alone B/w We Call On Him Clean!Elvis Presley -hmv - How Do You Think I Feel / I'm Left You're Right-hmv Pop 42810" Elvis Presley 78 Rpm "rock-a-hula-baby/canElvis Presley Germany Ep " Rockin' " Rca Epa - 9500Elvis Presley-collector's Gold 3 Lp Box Set. Ex Cond. 11h Rec N Pic Slv Elvis Presley Heartbreak Hotel