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.
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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 auctionBBC 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 hammerBirmingham 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 needA.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... AgainRollingStone.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 anniversaryTimes 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 auctionChristian 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