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-uber Uber Rare Original Italian Ep-as Clean As You Will FindElvis Presley Original Sun Label Record Good Rockin Tonight Has Push MarksElvis Presley Cpl1-0475 Good Times Lp W/ Sticker Sealed OriginalElvis Presley Lsp-3989 Speedway Lp W/ Sticker Photo Mint Elvis Presley 1956 Rca Victor Cover Sleeve & Record Epa 747 45 - Nice!Elvis Presley Job Lot Picture Discs X 11 Super Copies BargainElvis Costello I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down 1980 Gig Only 2 Tone 7" 45rpmElvis Presley Rare Usa 45 Ep 5141 Touch Of Gold Vol.3 W/ Ps CoverElvis Presley Self-titled (1956) Vinyl, Lp Rca Victor Lpm-1254 1st Pressing Elvis "kissin Cousins" 1964 Bonus Photo Very Rare 8"x10"" From Kissin Cousins LpElvis Presley Girls! Girls! Girls! Original Mono Rca Lsp-2621 + Calendar Nr Elvis "king Creole" 1958 Bonus Photo Very Rare 8"x10"" From King Creole LpElvis Presley Hmv Clp1105 Rock N Roll No 2Elvis Presley 78 That's All Right Blue Moon Kentucky 20-6380 Rca 1954 Near MintElvis Presley - Love Me Tender Ep - Hmv 7eg 8199 - Ex - 1st EpElvis "framed Portrait" Elvis Presley Enterprises 1956 Mega Rare N/mint BeautyRare Elvis Presley # 210 45 Rpm On Sun Label Good Rockin TonightElvis Presley 47-6643 Love Me Tender 45 W/ "black" Sleeve NmThe Cramps - A Date With Elvis - Uk 1986 Test Pressing! - Big BeatElvis Presley ~ Let's Play House / Rip It Up (vinyl 45 Rpm)Elvis Presley - The Best Of. Uk Hmv 10' Lp. Original!! Dlp 1159Elvis Presley Aloha Via Satellite 2 Lp W/ Stickers Steamroller Blues NmElvis "tickle Me" Promo Sealed Press Kit With Colored Feathers 1964 AwesomeElvis Presley 47-6604 Don't Be Cruel 45 W/ Sleeve 1956 Mint Elvis Original Graceland Christmas Card Sent Out By Elvis In 1962 $700 BookElvis Presley Epa-994 Strictly Elvis Ep Original 1956 NmElvis Presley Follow That Dream '62 Movie Soundtrack Epa 4368 Record & Sleeve 45Elvis Presley Epa 1-1515 Loving You Ep Original Mint Elvis Presley Lpm-1382 2nd S/t Lp Original 1956Elvis Presley Love Me Tender 1956 Rca Movie Soundtrack 45 Record & Sleeve NiceElvis Presley-elusive Mint Minus Copy Of Uk Hmv Good Rockin TonightElvis Presley ~ Mystery Train (45 Vinyl)Elvis Presley Epa-4006 Love Me Tender Ep Original 1956 Mint Elvis Presley Epa-821 Heartbreak Hotel Ep Original NmElvis Presley Lpm-2523 Pot Luck Lp Original Nm 1962Elvis Presley 47-9547 Let Yourself Go Promo 45 W/ "ask For" Sleeve Nm Elvis Presley 47-7035 Jailhouse Rock 45 W/ Sleeve Nm OriginalElvis Presley ~ Blue Suede Shoes / Tutti Frutti (vinyl Single)78 Elvis Presley "blue Moon & Poor Boy" Elvis Presley (philippines) Rare ListenElvis Presley Lpm-2256 Gi Blues Lp Original Nm 1960 Elvis Presley The E P Collection Lot Of 67 Elvis Presley Orig 45's 1974 Nos Dealer Stock In Original Rca Box Wow!78 Rpm Elvis Presley "teddy Bear & Loving You" Harmony (philippines) Rare ListenElvis Presley From Vegas To Memphis 2 Lp Set W/ Photos NmElvis Presley Epa-5121 Gold Standard Peace In The Valley Ep Dos NmElvis Presley Lsp-4460 Country Lp W/ Sticker Card Nm 1971Elvis Presley 47-6800 Playing For Keeps 45 W/ Sleeve Nm 1957Elvis Presley Elvis Rca Victor 1382 LpElvis Presley: Self Titled Lp 2008 Rca/legacy (vinyl Album) New Factory SealedElvis Presley ~ Heartbreak Hotel (vinyl 45 Rpm)99% Mint Elvis Presley "double Trouble" Lpm-3787 With PhotoElvis Presley "if I Can Dream" Ltd Ed 7" Vinyl Single 2015 Black Friday RsdElvis Presley Epa-4383 Tickle Me Ep Original Nm Press Interview With Elvis Presley 1959 Epa 4325 Record & Cover Sleeve Elvis Presley Singer Presents Flaming Star Lp W/ Photo NmElvis Presley Ep '60 Rca A Touch Of Gold Rare Maroon Label Vg- Vinyl/vg CoverElvis Presley 47-7150 Don't / I Beg Of You 45 W/ Sleeve NmElvis Presley - From Memphis To Vegas Lp - Shrink - Sticker - Photo - Nice!!!Original Elvis Presley "girl Happy" June Kelly Flat Bonus PrintElvis Presley Lpm-1884 King Creole Lp Original 1958

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

Within the past 12 months, have you signed up for a service plan with a new provider for Internet, Phone, or Television? No. Yes. Share the page you're reading: You can skip the survey for now and be prompted again next time. Skip survey. OR. Show me a ...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