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 Pickwick Pack 1978 Usa 1st Issue Christmas Album 7 Lp Set SealedAmazing Lot Over 200 45s! - Beatles Elvis Presley Rockabilly Doo Wop Bill HaleyElvis Presley From Elvis In Memphis & Insert Photo 1969 Usa Rca Victor Ex+Elvis Presley Elvis' Golden Records Vol 2 & Inner 1959 Rca Victor Usa ExElvis Presley Pickwick Pack 1978 Usa 2nd Issue Frankie & Johnny 7 Lp Set SealedElvis Presley ‎– The International Ep Collection - 11x 7" Box Set - A13Elvis Presley Sings The Wonderful World Of Christmas & Insert Xmas Card 1971 NmElvis Presley With The Jordanaires Too Much. Rosenberg, Weinman Purple Label HmvElvis Presley "judy Bw There's Always Me" Vg+ Rca 1628Elvis Presley Singer Presents Flaming Star 1968 Rca Victor & Insert Picture NmElvis Presley His Hand In Mine & Inner 1960 Rca Victor Usa Near MintElvis Presley Collectors Gold 1992 Usa Ltd National Edn Numbered Factory SealedElvis Presley G. I. Blues & Inner 1960 Rca Victor Usa Superb ExElvis One Night Record 78 RpmElvis Presley Legend Of A King & Cue Sheets Usa Associated Broadcasters Red VinyElvis Presley Between The Takes 3 X Lp & Promo 7" Creative Radio Promo Set NmElvis Presley Elvis' Golden Records Vol 3 & Inner 1963 Rca Victor Usa ExElvis Presley Felton Jarvis Talks About Elvis 1981 Rca Usa Radio & Transcript ExElvis Presley Blue Hawaii & Inner 1961 Rca Victor Usa Vg+Elvis Presley A Decade Of Memories 1987 United Stations Programming 3 Lp Set NmElvis Presley Birthday Tribute 1991 Usa 4 Lp Unistar Radio Program Set CuesheetElvis Presley Elvis Remembered 1977 Creative Radio 3 Lp Set & Cue Sheets Nr MintElvis Presley One Night With Rca Epa 9644 Ex+/ex+ GermanyElvis Presley Today & Insert 1975 Rca Japan Near MintElvis Presley Fun In Acapulco & Inner 1963 Rca Victor Usa VgElvis Presley Elvis Presley Rca Epa 830 Ex+/ex+ GermanyElvis Presley The Other Sides Worldwide Hits Vol 2 & Inners Usa 4 Lp Box NmElvis Presley Vintage 55 Elvis 1990 Oak Records Usa SealedElvis Presley Elvis Memories 1978 Abc Radio Usa 3 Lp Set & Operating Book NrmintElvis Presley Elvis Golden Story Vol 1 1965 Victor Super Record Label Japan ExElvis Presley The Sun Collection & Book 1976 Rca Japan Near MintElvis Hardheaded Woman Record 78 RpmElvis Presley Something For Everybody 1961 Rca Victor Black Usa Superb ExElvis Love Me Tender Record 78 RpmElvis Playin For Keeps Record 78 RpmElvis Presley Elvis The Country Side 1982 Creative Radio Broadcast Only 2lp NmElvis Presley Windows Of The Soul & Insert & Phone Card Usa 1996 Shaped DiscmintElvis Presley The Real Elvis Rca Epa 940 Ex+/ex+ GermanyElvis Presley A Golden Celebration & Inserts 1984 Rca Usa 7 Lp Box Numbered NmElvis Presley Elvis' Golden Records Stereo Album No Stereo Japan Hmv/victor ExElvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Let's Bop, Sun Records, Double VinylElvis Presley Pot Luck & Inner 1962 Rca Victor Usa Vg+Elvis Presley A Big Hunk O' Love Rca Epa 9673 Ex+/ex+ GermanyElvis Presley Same Rca Epa 747 Ex+/ex+ GermanyElvis Presley - Do The Clam. Uk Rca Demo 45'. 1965 Ex! Girl HappyElvis Presley Original Vinyl Hmv 1957 Single 'lawdy Miss Clawdy Elvis Presley Good Rockin' Tonight Rca Epa 9562 Ex+/ex+ GermanyElvis Presley - Sails Megarare Withdrawn Sleeve - Epa 4325 !!Elvis Presley 45 - Milkcow Blues Boogie - Sun 215 - Original W/ 3 Push Marks!Elvis Presley / 45 Rpm Record / Good Rockin Tonight / Sun / Original Elvis Presley 45 Ep Peace In The Valley Maroon Label W/ Sleeve Epa - 5121 Look!Elvis Presley 45 - Mystery Train - Sun 223 - Mp3 - Rare Original!Hear! Rockabilly Sun 45 Elvis Presley - Baby Let's Play House / I'm Left, You'reElvis Presley, Rca Victor Lpm-1254Elvis Presley ~ Mystery Train ~ Sun Records 223 ~ Rare Orig. 1955Elvis Presley, Rca Lpm-1382 In Shrink(promo) Elvis Presley "roustabout /one Track Heart" Rca Victor Sp-45-139 1964Elvis Presley Sun 217 45rpm Original Memphis Press Marks Baby Let's Play HouseElvis Presley Mint Original Record Album Lpm 1707 Elvis'golden Records From 1958Lot Of 125+ 8 Track Tapes - Classic Rock Beatles Stones Led Zeppelin Elvis Who