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    

Wow Alert!! "elvis Presley" Lpm-1254 Mint Vinyl & Labels 3s/5sRockabilly- Elvis Presley - Baby Lets Play House -hear Both -1955 SunRockabilly- Elvis Presley - Thats All Right -hear Both -1954 SunKing Creole Elvis Demo 45Elvis Presley ~ Peace In The Valley ~ Brand New/sealed 6 Lp Box Set ~ Elvis104xAmazing First Elvis Presley Debut 1965 Rca Victor 6s/5s Lmp 1254 Deep Groove ExElvis Presley Rare Italian Presley Special Elvis Presley Rare Box Set 10 Inches Lp Collection Limited Edition No.1428 Ft004Rockabilly- Elvis Presley - Good Rockin' Tonight -hear Both -1954 SunElvis Presley Ex. Rare Acetate 7" "thats All Right" / "blue Moon" Live Hay Ride99% Mint White Promo Elvis Presley " Joshua Fit The Battle" 447-0651 45 & Ps True Near Mint Orange Elvis Presley "a Touch Of Gold" Vol 1 Epa-5088Rockabilly- Elvis Presley - Mystery Train -hear Both -1955 Promo RcaJob Lot Of 5 Elvis Presley 7" Vinyl Record Ep's All ListedMint Sealed And Orange & Dot Gss Lot Elvis Presley "king Creole" Epa-5122Original Elvis Presley " Elvis" Lpm-1382 W/ Nice CoverElvis Presley Rare Hmv Gold Letter 45-" Hound Dog "-hmv Pop249Elvis Presley Uk No.1 Singles Collection - 17 X 7” Singles - Ltd Ed Colour Vinyl Lsp- 6020 Elvis "from Memphis To Vegas/from Vegas To Memphis" With PhotosElvis Presley Lpm 1254 Original 195699% Mint Ultra-rare Elvis Presley " A Little Less Conversation" 47-9115 45 & Ps Elvis Presley "elvis Presley" Epb-1254 With Rare BackElvis Presley - The International Ep Collection - 11x7” Ltd Ed. Record Box SetElvis Demo 45 Love LettersElvis Presley Milk Cow Blues Boogie 45 Rpm Promo 1955 White LabelLot.40 Lp+55 Cds Classic Rock,eagles,yes,the Beatles,journey,elvis Presley,queenElvis - Aloha From Hawaii Lp *sealed* Rca Vpsx-6089 (33,12",record,rock,blues)Elvis Presley Baby Let's Play House 45 Rpm Promo 1955 White LabelElvis Presley , Ultra Rare South Africa Pressing , Elvis PresleyElvis Presley 5 Lp Lot 3 Mono Loving You Clambake Speedway Paradise HawaiianElvis Demo 45 Do Not DisturbVinyl 45 2 Ep Picture Sleeve Elvis Presley - Elvis Presley Rca Epb1254 Double EpYou'll Never Walk Alone Elvis Presley Vinyl Album Rca Camden Cds 1088 1s /1s Original Elvis Presley "a Touch Of Gold" Vol 3 Epa-5141Elvis Presley Girls! Girls! Girls! Rca Rd 7534 Uk 1st Pr Silver Spot Archive Nm!Elvis Presley, Baby Let's Play House, Sun 217, Original 1955, With Press MarksRare 1961 Elvis Presley 78 No More / Sentimental Me Brazil Rca Victor 82-1399 ExVintage 50's-60's 45 Rpm Records & Platter Pak Case Elvis Cash Lee Haley More!Elvis Presley - Job Lot Of 9 X Lps - Ex To Near Mint Vinyl -rca CamdenElvis Presley ~ Tryin' To Get To You ~ 1957 ~ H.m.v. ~ U.k. 45Elvis Presley - Rock ‘n’ Roll No. 2! 1962 Rca Rd 7528 Uk Silver Spot Ex+!Elvis Presley - Good Times Never Seemed So Good - Rare Bootleg Lsp124078 Rpm Elvis Presley Rca Victor 20-6420 Heartbreak Hotel Rare 1956 Rock 45 E.p. - Elvis Presley "elvis - Vol 2" Rca Records #epa-993Elvis Presley Too Much / Playing For Keeps 45 Rpm Promo 1957 White LabelRockabilly- Elvis Presley / Jaye P. Morgan -hear Both -united States Air ForceElvis Presley Paralyzed Orig Uk Purple And Gold Hmv 45Elvis Presley ~ Blue Moon ~ 1956 ~ H.m.v. Gold ~ U.k. 45Elvis Presley " Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me " 78 Rpm 1957 Rca RecordElvis Presley- Original Italian Single Mint/mint Minus Unplayed VinylElvis Presley,lawdy Miss Clawdy,silver Purple Hmv 45rpm,pop 408Elvis Presley Too Much/playing For Keeps 78 20-6800 Rca Rockabilly Pop Vg+ Lot Of 12 Elvis Presley Vintage Vinyl Records Blue Hawaii Burning Love Got LuckyElvis Presley 7" Vinyl Ep - Love Me Tender - Usa IssueRare Elvis Presley 78 Party / Hot Dog / How Do You Think I Feel Sa Rca71.185 E-V Rare 1957 Elvis Presley 78 " I Got A Woman / Just Because " Sa Rca 71.248 Ex+Elvis Presley- "harum Scarum" Original Lp In Shrink With Sticker And PhotoElvis Presley , Ultra Rare South Africa Pressing , Elvis Elvis Presley=sings =charro=memories=rca=45=ex=u.s.a.=rock And Roll= 7"Elvis 10" 78 Rpm 20-6380 Blue Moon Over Kentucky/that's Alright Rca Victor

Recent News: Elvis Presley Records

Source: Google News

Larry Clark column: Hard work can overcome extreme differences
Hickory Daily Record, February 26th

I would have spent more time watching the dusting of snow, but I watch several early-morning TV newscasts and reveries have a tough time flourishing in such an atmosphere. So it is that I think it appropriate to comment on politicians I personally...Read more

'Memphis' musical swings into town next week
Great Falls Tribune, February 12th

Phillips was also the first DJ to spin an Elvis Presley record on air. The cast of the touring incarnation of "Memphis" includes Daniel S. Hines playing Huey. Hines, like Sibley, is in his second year touring with "Memphis' and regional theater credits...Read more

Intermission: The Wachowskis v. George Lucas
Washington Post, February 3rd

'From Elvis In Memphis' is the only Elvis Presley record you need,” by Kenneth Partridge: I'm a total partisan on “From Elvis in Memphis,” which is on regular rotation (on vinyl) in the Rosenberg household. The cut of “True Love Travels on a Gravel...Read more

Elvis Presley record sells for $300K
Justice News Flash, January 17th

Memphis, TN – The first recording made by iconic singer Elvis Presley recently sold at an auction for $300,000. As reported by WebProNews, the record titled “My Happiness” was left in the home of Presley's friend, Ed Leek, for 60 years after being...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

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. close...Read more

First-ever Elvis Presley record to go on auction
Channel 24, November 14th

Washington - The first record Elvis Presley ever made will go on auction next year, along with his first driver's licence, his Graceland estate said on Thursday. They are among 68 Presley collectibles going under the hammer at the second "Auction at ...Read more