Monday, 2 December 2013

Elvis Presley: UK 45’s 1956-1977

I know I keep mentioning it, but there is no getting away from the fact that the 1996 “Original Elvis Presley Collection” boxset simply didn’t manage to include everything the man had recorded and released during his lifetime, even though the sheer size of the thing would make you think it should have done. Hyped very much as a career overview from start to finish, it’s still a good effort, and was, for me, a great way of getting into the expansive back catalogue.

Aside from the movie soundtrack albums, and the budget label releases, there were not too many other albums issued during that period that included rarities that didn’t make the box. But quite a few greatest hits albums did get the nod, and between them, cobbled together a large number of A-sides (and a lot of B-sides) from the period that would have otherwise also gone AWOL.

Elvis released a huge chunk of 45’s in the UK, and I thought it would make sense to detail the ones released up until 1977. In recent years, there have been some box sets and reissue campaigns which have made a few of them available again (and some, it seems, for the first time ever in the UK), so we shall concentrate on these releases for the main body of this blog. To clarify, posthumous releases are in the main not dealt with here, nor are Elvis’s original UK EP’s - these are complex subjects worthy of being looked at in greater isolated detail.

The Sun 45’s

Every fool knows that Elvis started his recording career at the famous Sun Records. But what’s never been that clear - to me anyway - is quite what got released when, and where. Although Elvis recorded well over an album’s worth of material for the label, initially, only ten recordings got released, spread out across five singles released in the US only during 1954 and 1955. The debut single, “That’s All Right”, eventually got a belated UK release when it appeared as a CD single in 2004 (RCA 82876 61921 2) housed in a sleeve designed to look like an original Sun single. An alternate take of the a-side was added as a bonus track.

When Elvis signed to HMV and then RCA, the Sun material was included as part of the deal, and material from the period started to appear on UK singles and albums. One of the later Sun singles appeared as a UK single in 1958 when “I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone” surfaced on HMV as POP 428. Eight of the Sun tracks later appeared on the RCA albums “For LP Fans Only” and “A Date With Elvis”, and whilst certain editions of the latter also included “I Forgot To Remember To Forget”, the German edition of the album did not - meaning it is missing from the 96 boxset, as the CD included in there is based on the German tracklisting.

All ten songs - and other material from the period - made it onto 1976’s “The Sun Sessions”, but if you fancy getting repressings of all five Sun singles, you might be interested in the recent “Sun Singles Collection”. It exists partly because the 50 year copyright limit is up on this material, and the dubious looking Real Gone Music label have taken it upon themselves to repress the five singles on different coloured shades of vinyl, and put them in one big box. The original Sun labels have been kept for the release, so it all looks quite nice. Different versions of the box have the singles pressed in different colours (there seem to be editions in black, yellow, blue, red and pink), whilst disc 5 suggests the A-side is “Mystery Train” (sometimes viewed as the b-side), which had also been issued as a UK single by HMV in 1957 as POP 295. The Sun period resulted in several outtakes being shoved into the vaults, and more recent 'Elvis At Sun' releases have included all of the ten originals bolstered by these various alternate takes and unreleased songs.

The 18 Number Ones

In 2005, marking what would have been Elvis’s 70th birthday, RCA decided to reissue all of the eighteen Elvis singles that had topped the UK chart. This included any posthumous releases, so the remixed “A Little Less Conversation” got the nod - a flop in 1968, but Elvis‘s first UK chart topper for over 25 years when reissued in 2002. Each single was to be reissued on both 10” vinyl (a throwback to the size of the old 78rpm gramophone records, the format upon which a number of early Elvis singles were also issued on), housed in retro style RCA company sleeves, and also on CD in full picture covers. Elvis singles had usually been issued in the USA in picture sleeves, and these were to be used for the CD repressings in the UK. A few of these singles had been reissued before back in 1977 on 7”, also using the US covers, so this wasn’t the first time some of these singles were appearing in these sleeves.

The singles were released on a weekly basis, but if my memory serves me correctly, the usual online retailers offered them for sale en masse before the first one was even released, and some singles seemed to sell out before copies had the chance to reach the shops. All of them charted highly second time around, and even though some singles seemed impossible to hunt down at the time, you do seem to be able to track down some of the CD editions on the likes of Amazon even now, so I’m not sure where they were hiding all this time. All of the singles were numbered, but I recently tracked down a “One Night” CD which was not numbered - just a blank white space there instead of where the number should be on the back - so either additional copies were pressed at some point, or unnumbered copies were issued initially as promos.

The first reissue, “All Shook Up”, was housed in a box designed to hold all of the other 17 releases. This, along with all of the other releases, included the original B-side plus a “related” bonus track. Whilst quite a few of the reissues went down the rarities route by including an alternate take of the A or B side (although all had previously been released across a variety of earlier rarities albums), “All Shook Up” added “Heartbreak Hotel” as it’s bonus, on the basis it was Elvis’s debut UK single, and was thus of historical importance. Original copies of the box were shrinkwrapped, with the single already inside the box.

The CD editions actually featured the disc slipped into a mock RCA sleeve inside the outer packaging, thus killing two birds with one stone. Because the CD’s were replicating the original artwork, details of what the bonus track was was only listed on a sticker on the front, and as part of the inner sleeve.

The odd one out was, of course, “A Little Less Conversation”. Even though the (earlier) reissue had been issued on vinyl, no copies were ever released in die cut sleeves, so the 10” was housed in a special custom designed die cut sleeve, with the original grey and white “football” artwork replicated on the sleeve. The original 3 track CD from 2002 had featured short and long remixes, along with the original 1968 mix (RCA 74321 943572), the 2005 reissues omitted the original mix, and was thus shorter, rather than longer, than the original release.

Elvis The King

In 2007, marking the 30th anniversary of his death, 18 more singles were reissued under the “Elvis The King” banner. It was a similar approach as before - reissues on 10” and CD, many from the latter part of Elvis’s career, most of which were thus housed in the green and orange 60’s/70’s era RCA sleeves they were originally released in. For the "Number 1's" campaign, most of the singles were from the earlier part of Elvis's career, so were usually in the earlier red and white RCA Victor bags. Bonus tracks again padded out the releases, and this time, all were reissues of singles issued before 1977.

The choice of singles seemed slightly random. There were some big hitters here - “Always On My Mind”, “Suspicious Minds”, “In The Ghetto” and so on - but I still think the ones chosen were simply picked because of their status, and that they were not based on chart positions or record sales. They did all originally chart inside the top 20, but then again, so did most Elvis singles. Again, single number 1, “Heartbreak Hotel”, was housed in a box designed to hold all the remaining singles.

Slightly confusing matters along the way, was the release midway through the campaign by HMV - through HMV stores only I do recall - of “My Baby Left Me”, also on 10” and CD. Issued as an A-side back in the 50’s in selected foreign territories - but not in the US or the UK - this edition included the bonus tracks “One Sided Love Affair” and “Don’t Be Cruel”, the latter recorded live. The CD came in a full picture sleeve, and both the 10” and the CD were numbered, the latter including the video of the “Don’t Be Cruel” performance (HMV MHC 4004 51001). The video footage is also available on an Elvis DVD, so if you manage to find a sealed copy and want to keep it in mint condition, then you have an excuse not to open it!

It is also worth pointing out that the reissue campaign was also marked by another Elvis “best of”, when “Elvis The King” was released on CD to coincide. Whilst the typography from this set matched the logos being used on the reissued singles, the album itself was more of a full on greatest hits set, and as well as including some of the songs that were being reissued as part of the "King" campaign, it also included other hits in order to pad the set out.


Even during the late 50’s, some Elvis singles started to be reissued by RCA, often coupling two old “hits” on one disc. There was another run of these in the early 70’s, although these releases were generally issued as 3 or 4 track maxi-singles. A reasonable chunk of oldies were reissued on the Old Gold label in 1987, sometimes with the original B-side, sometimes with another hit on the flipside.

Whilst the reissues covered in this article from 2004 onwards were genuine revamps, with the original release coming with it’s original B-side and relevant picture sleeve, a number of singles had turned up as totally differently designed CD Singles from the 80s onwards. The famous laughing version of “Are You Lonesome Tonight” had appeared on a CD reissue of “Always On My Mind” in 1997 (RCA 74321 485422, another variant edition exists with an alternate A-side and different sleeve), long before appearing again as part of the 2005 campaign, having also already appeared as an a-side in it’s own right firstly in 1980 on 7” (RCA 196) and then again in 1991 on various formats, including a 4 track CD edition (RCA PD 49178).

“If I Can Dream” appeared in the early noughties as the lead track on the “America The Beautiful” EP (RCA 74321 90402 2). “Stuck On You”, issued in 1988, seems to have been the first single to get reissued on CD (RCA PD 49596), backed with the original B-side “Fame And Fortune“ plus two other tracks, whilst a live “Suspicious Minds” CD Single from 2002 (RCA 74321 855822), available in both numbered and un-numbered form, featured a mix shorter than that from the album it was promoting. There was a 1992 reissue for “Don’t Be Cruel”, which included an at the time unreleased version of “I Need Your Love Tonight”, issued on both 7” and CD (RCA 74321 11061 2).

There also exist some slightly oddball releases that couple together various hits on a single CD. A newspaper freebie from 2001, as a promo for the “50 Greatest Hits” release, included “Heartbreak Hotel”, “Return To Sender”, “Love Letters” and “I Just Can’t Help Believin‘” (RCA BMGSM62). There is also a 1998 Danish promo CD, an eight track EP (or mini album?), simply called “Elvis” (RCA 980 20412), which includes “Hound Dog”, “Blue Suede Shoes”, “Jailhouse Rock”, “Don’t Be Cruel”, “All Shook Up”, “Lawdy Miss Clawdy”, “Return To Sender” and “That’s All Right”. There were also a number of posthumous releases where an old song was being issued as a single in the UK for the first time (the remixed “Rubberneckin‘”, the late 1977 release of “My Way”, from the “Elvis In Concert” LP), I may try and detail these properly on a future blog.


The usual notes. This is the entire UK singles discography for 45’s released between 1956 and Elvis’s passing in 1977. Reissues are not detailed individually, I refer you to the excellent site if you want more detail on the reissues of older material that surfaced again when Elvis was still alive (and beyond). I have listed, for each single, the album from which the a-side was taken, or details of a later compilation where the track was included. Any single listed as being “from“ an album is defo in the box, any listed as “available on“ may not be, it depends on the album. Stuff from the 60s that were from Elvis movies were also housed in the 1992 “Double Features” compilations, and these, as you know, are in the 1996 boxset. Of course, many of these singles eventually appeared on multiple albums, so for the latter, I have just gone for the most obvious or interesting. For the singles reissued in 2005 and 2007, details are noted of the bonus track that was tagged onto the end of said reissue.


Heartbreak Hotel/I Was The One (1956, HMV 7M 385, 2007 reissue adds “Heartbreak Hotel (Alt. Take 6)”, from “Elvis' Golden Records”)
Blue Suede Shoes/Tutti Frutti (1956, HMV 7M 405, 2007 reissue adds “Lawdy Miss Clawdy (Alt. Take 1)”, from “Elvis Presley”)
I Want You I Need You I Love You/My Baby Left Me (1956, HMV 7M 424, from “Elvis' Golden Records”)
Hound Dog/Don’t Be Cruel (1956, HMV POP 249, 2007 reissue adds “Any Way You Want Me (Master)”, from “Elvis' Golden Records”)
Blue Moon/I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine (1956, HMV POP 272, from “Elvis Presley”)
Love Me Tender/Any Way You Want Me (1956, HMV 253, from “Elvis' Golden Records”)
Mystery Train/Love Me (1957, HMV POP 295, from “For LP Fans Only”)
Rip It Up/Baby Let’s Play House (1957, HMV POP 305, from “Elvis”)
Too Much/Playin’ For Keeps (1957, HMV POP 330, from “Elvis' Golden Records”)
All Shook Up/That’s When Your Heartaches Begin (1957, HMV POP 359, 2005 reissue adds “Heartbreak Hotel”, from “Elvis' Golden Records”)
Teddy Bear/Loving You (1957, RCA 1013, 2007 reissue adds “Loving You (Farm Version, Alt. Take 6)”, from “Loving You”)
Paralyzed/When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again (1957, HMV POP 378, from “Elvis”)
Party/Got A Lot O’ Livin’ To Do (1957, RCA 1020, 2007 reissue adds “Got A Lot O’ Livin’ To Do (Movie Master, Take 17)”, from “Loving You”)
Tryin’ To Get To You/Lawdy Miss Clawdy (1957, HMV POP 408, from “Elvis Presley”)
Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me)/Santa Claus Is Back In Town (1957, RCA 1025, from “Elvis’ Christmas Album”)
I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone/How Do You Think I Feel (1958, HMV POP 428, from “For LP Fans Only”)
Jailhouse Rock/Treat Me Nice (1958, RCA 1028, 2005 reissue adds “Treat Me Nice (Movie Version)”, from “Elvis' Golden Records”)
Don’t/I Beg Of You (1958, RCA 1043, 2007 reissue adds “I Beg Of You (Alt. Take 5)”, from “Elvis' Gold Records Volume 2”)
Wear My Ring Around Your Neck/Don’cha Think It’s Time (1958, RCA 1058, 2007 reissue adds “Don’cha Think It’s Time (Alt. Take 48)”, from “Elvis' Gold Records Volume 2”)
Hard Headed Woman/Don’t Ask Me Why (1958, RCA 1070, 2007 reissue adds “Steadfast Loyal And True (Undubbed Master)”, from “King Creole”)
King Creole/Dixieland Rock (1958, RCA 1081, 2007 reissue adds “King Creole (Alt. Take 18)”, from “King Creole”)
One Night/I Got Stung (1959, RCA 1100, 2005 reissue adds “One Night Of Sin”, from “Elvis' Gold Records Volume 2”)
A Fool Such As I/I Need Your Love Tonight (1959, RCA 1113, 2005 reissue adds “A Fool Such As I (Alternate Version)”, from “Elvis' Gold Records Volume 2”)
A Big Hunk O’ Love/My Wish Came True (1959, RCA 1136, 2007 reissue adds “A Big Hunk O’ Love (Alt. Take 1), ”from “Elvis' Gold Records Volume 2”)
Stuck On You/Fame And Fortune (1960, RCA 1187, from “Elvis' Golden Records Volume 3”)
A Mess Of Blues/The Girl Of My Best Friend (1960, RCA 1194, from “Elvis' Gold Records 4”)
It’s Now Or Never/Make Me Know It (1960, RCA 1207, 2005 reissue adds “A Mess Of Blues”, from “Elvis' Golden Records Volume 3”)
Are You Lonesome Tonight?/I Gotta Know (1961, RCA 1216, 2005 reissue adds “Are You Lonesome Tonight? (The Laughing Version)”, from “Elvis' Golden Records Volume 3”)
Wooden Heart/Tonight Is So Right For Love (1961, RCA 1226, 2005 reissue adds “Puppet On A String”, from “GI Blues”)
Surrender/Lonely Man (1961, RCA 1227, 2005 reissue adds “Lonely Man (Solo)”, from “Elvis' Golden Records Volume 3”)
Wild In The Country/I Feel So Bad (1961, RCA 1244, available on “Wild In The Country [“FTD” Soundtrack edition]”)
(Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame/Little Sister (1961, RCA 1258, 2005 reissue adds “(Marie‘s The Name) His Latest Flame (Alternate Version)”, from “Elvis' Golden Records Volume 3”)
Rock-A-Hula Baby/Can’t Help Falling In Love (1962, RCA 1270, 2005 reissue adds “Can‘t Help Falling In Love (Movie Version)”, from “Blue Hawaii”)
Good Luck Charm/Anything That’s Part Of You (1962, RCA 1280, 2005 reissue adds “Good Luck Charm (Alternate Version)”, from “Elvis' Golden Records Volume 3”)
She’s Not You/Just Tell Her Jim Said Hello (1962, RCA 1303, 2005 reissue adds “She‘s Not You (Alternate Version)”, from “Elvis' Golden Records Volume 3”)
Return To Sender/Where Do You Come From (1962, RCA 1320, 2005 reissue adds “Girls Girls Girls”, available on “Girls Girls Girls”)
One Broken Heart For Sale/They Remind Me Too Much Of You (1963, RCA 1337, available on “It Happened At The World‘s Fair”)
Devil In Disguise/Please Don’t Drag That String Around (1963, RCA 1355, 2005 reissue adds “Devil In Disguise (Alternate Version)”, from “Elvis' Gold Records 4”)
Bossa Nova Baby/Witchcraft (1963, RCA 1374, available on “Fun In Acapulco”)
Kiss Me Quick/Something Blue (1963, RCA 1375, from “Pot Luck”)
Viva Las Vegas/What’d I Say (1964, RCA 1390, 2007 reissue adds “Viva Las Vegas (Alt. Takes 1&2)”, available on “Viva Las Vegas”)
Kissin’ Cousins/It Hurts Me (1964, RCA 1404, available on “Kissin’ Cousins”)
Such A Night/Never Ending (1964, RCA 1411, from “Elvis Is Back!”)
Ain’t That Loving You Baby/Ask Me (1964, RCA 1422, from “Elvis' Gold Records 4”)
Blue Christmas/White Christmas (1964, RCA 1430, from “Elvis’ Christmas Album”)
Do The Clam/You’ll Be Gone (1965, RCA 1443, available on “Girl Happy”)
Crying In The Chapel/I Believe In The Man In The Sky (1965, RCA 1455, 2005 reissue adds “Milky White Way”, from “How Great Thou Art”)
Tell Me Why/Puppet On A String (1965, RCA 1489, available on “Elvis 75”)
Blue River/Do Not Disturb (1966, RCA 1504, available on “From Nashville To Memphis”)
Frankie And Johnny/Please Don’t Stop Loving Me (1966, RCA 1509, available on “Frankie And Johnny”)
Love Letters/Come What May (1966, RCA 1526, from “Elvis' Gold Records 4”)
All That I Am/Spinout (1966, RCA 1545, available on “Spinout”)
If Every Day Was Like Christmas/How Would You Like To Be (1966, RCA 1557, from “The Wonderful World Of Christmas”)
Indescribably Blue/Fools Fall In Love (1967, RCA 1565, from “Elvis' Gold Records 4”)
The Love Machine/You Gotta Stop (1967, RCA 1593, available on “Easy Come Easy Go [“FTD” Soundtrack edition]”)
Long Legged Girl (With The Short Dress On)/That’s Someone You Never Forget (1967, RCA 1616, available on “Double Trouble”)
There’s Always Me/Judy (1967, RCA 1628, from “Something For Everybody”)
Big Boss Man/You Don’t Know Me (1967, RCA 1642, available on “Clambake”)
Guitar Man/Hi Heel Sneakers (1967, RCA 1663, available on “Clambake”)
US Male/Stay Away (1968, RCA 1688, available on “Elvis' Gold Records 5”)
Your Time Hasn’t Come Yet Baby/Let Yourself Go (1968, RCA 1714, available on “Speedway”)
You’ll Never Walk Alone/We Call On Him (1968, RCA 1747, from “His Hand In Mine”)
A Little Less Conversation/Almost In Love (1968, RCA 1768, available on “Almost In Love”)
If I Can Dream/Memories (1969, RCA 1795, 2007 reissue adds “If I Can Dream (Alt. Take 1)”, from “NBC-TV Special”)
In The Ghetto/Any Day Now (1969, RCA 1831, 2007 reissue adds “In The Ghetto (Alt. Take 3)”, from “From Elvis In Memphis”)
Clean Up Your Own Backyard/The Fair’s Moving On (1969, RCA 1869, available on “Almost In Love”)
Suspicious Minds/You’ll Think Of Me (1969, RCA 1900, 2007 reissue adds “Suspicious Minds (Alt. Take 7)”, available on “Elvis' Gold Records 5”)
Don’t Cry Daddy/Rubberneckin’ (1970, RCA 1916, available on “Elvis 75”)
Kentucky Rain/My Little Friend (1970, RCA 1949, available on “Elvis' Gold Records 5”)
The Wonder Of You/Mama Liked The Roses (1970, RCA 1974, 2005 reissue adds “Let It Be Me”, from “On Stage”)
I’ve Lost You/The Next Step Is Love (1970, RCA 1999, available on “Elvis 75”)
You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me/Patch It Up (1971, RCA 2046, 2007 reissue adds “Patch It Up (Alt Take 9)”, from “That’s The Way It Is”)
There Goes My Everything/I Really Don’t Want To Know (1971, RCA 2060, from “Elvis Country”)
Rags To Riches/Where Did They Go Lord (1971, RCA 2084, available on “Elvis 75”)
I’m Leavin’/Heart Of Rome (1971, RCA 2125, available on “Walk A Mile In My Shoes”)
I Just Can’t Help Believin’/How The Web Was Woven (1971, RCA 2158, from “That’s The Way It Is”)
Until It’s Time For You To Go/We Can Make The Morning (1972, RCA 2188, from “Elvis Now”)
An American Trilogy/The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (1972, RCA 2229, 2007 reissue adds “An American Trilogy (Aloha Version)”, available on “Elvis 75“)
Burning Love/It’s A Matter Of Time (1972, RCA 2267, 2007 reissue adds “Burning Love (Alt. Take)”, available on “Elvis' Gold Records 5”)
Always On My Mind/Separate Ways (1972, RCA 2304, 2007 reissue adds “Always On My Mind (Alt. Take 2)”, available on “Elvis 75”)
Polk Salad Annie/CC Rider (1973, RCA 2359, from “As Recorded At Madison Square Garden”)
Fool/Steamroller Blues (1973, RCA 2393, from “Fool”)
Raised On Rock/For Ol’ Times Sake (1973, RCA 2435, from “Raised On Rock”)
Take Good Care Of Her/I’ve Got A Thing About You Baby (1974, RCA APBO 0196, from “Good Times”)
If You Talk In Your Sleep/Help Me (1974, RCA APBO 0280, from “Promised Land”)
My Boy/Loving Arms (1974, RCA 2458, from “Good Times”)
Promised Land/It’s Midnight And I Miss You (1975, RCA PB 10074, from “Promised Land”)
Trouble/Mr Songman (1975, RCA 2562, from “Today”)
Green Green Grass Of Home/Thinking About You (1975, RCA 2635, from “Today”)
Hurt/For The Heart (1976, RCA 2674, from “From Elvis Presley Blvd, Memphis, Tennessee”)
The Girl Of My Best Friend/A Mess Of Blues (1976, RCA 2729, from “Elvis Is Back!”)
Suspicion/It’s A Long Lonely Highway (1976, RCA 2768, from “Pot Luck”)
Moody Blue/She Thinks I Still Care (1977, RCA PB 0857, from “Moody Blue”)
Way Down/Pledging My Love (1977, RCA PB 0998, 2005 reissue adds “Way Down (Alternate Version)”, from “Moody Blue”)

Note: The b-sides that seem to have been left off most major albums run from the period covering “Never Ending“ up to “Separate Ways“. As discussed last month, several of these can be found on the CD reissues of the Camden Budget albums, whilst “From Nashville To Memphis” includes a lot of the 1960s recordings, and “Walk A Mile In My Shoes“ covers the 70s quite brilliantly. “We Call On Him“ was also a flipside that resurfaced a few years ago on “Elvis Gospel“, one of a number of “themed“ compilations issued for the benefit of the new generation. Next month, I shall look at some of the Elvis comps in my collection which pretty much include all of the above (and more).

1 comment:

  1. Quick note regarding the Sun material - "I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine" was also missing from most Elvis albums as they appeared, but the German CD edition of "A Date With Elvis" does include it, so IS in the 96 box. This meant that in most countries during the late 50s and throughout the 60s, there was usually one Sun recording unreleased, but that recording differed from country to country.