elvis compact 33s from japan 1961–1967

IN JAPAN, the 7-inch, 33 rpm format lasted into the second half of the ’60s. Elvis records were issued as Compact 33 Singles and Doubles there that were not issued domestically. Japanese record buyers were apparently not even given the opportunity to appreciate the slower speed singles, as I could not find any reference to that country releasing any singles at 33 rpm.

I could not find evidence of a single Elvis Compact 33 Single from Japan on the Internet.

Below find a list of almost four dozen titles that kept the format afloat into the second half of the decade, ears after most of the rest of the world had jettisoned the format as unsellable.

Of course, by 1965, sales of many of these records were less than modest and today many of them sell for hundreds of dollars each. Even titles from the Presley Golden Compact Series of reissues from 1965–67 sell for big bucks.

As I am rather clueless about the importance and value of Elvis compact 33s from outside of the US, there is no price guide with these entries. I am just presenting a gallery of images of Elvis compact 33s from Japan here.

Compact 33 Doubles 


Japan: Flaming Star (CP-1001, 1961)

This has the same cover design as the American version except the title on the record is Flaming Star—and not Elvis By Request like the US record. It also has the same content as the American record (LPC-128). 




Japan: Elvis Is Back (SCP-1002, 1961)

RCA of Japan lifted the unattractive photo of Elvis from the Elvis Is Back album of 1960, blotted out the backdrop, and substituted this garish blue. An amateurish job that looks more like a Taiwanese rip-off than the work we associate with the Japanese record manufacturers.




Japan: Jailhouse Rock (CP-1005, 1961)

This is a reissue of the American EP album of the same name (EPA-4114) from 1957, but with great cartoon-like graphics for this jacket! Easily one of my favorite covers for an Elvis record. The image above was taken from a publicity still for the movie Jailhouse Rock (below), which subsequently found its way onto a poster for the film intended for display in theater lobbies around the country (also below).


CP-1005 was apparently the only Compact 33 Double to be issued with a custom inner sleeve featuring the song titles in Japanese and English.


The poster for the movie used an ittybitty reproduction of the photo again, concentrating instead on a painted close-up of Elvis, highly romanticized, make-up and all. Needless to say, the top half of this poster was for the girls; the bottom half, the rest of us. 1




Japan: Follow That Dream (CP-1024, 1962)

Same photo (the bland Elvis of the early ’60s but this time with his hair its natural brown) and cover design as the US release (EPA-4368), as well as the same content. 2




 

Japan: Christmas With Elvis (CP-1032, 1962)

This is the same cover as that of the US release of the same name from 1958: the blandest photo of Elvis from the ’50s and a hint of what the ’60s would bring against a fake backdrop. Boring then, historically interesting now. 3

This is a rather rather record in that it has a normal cardboard jacket that houses a record between its covers (note the deep blue background of the cover art).


This is the more common version: it is not a jacket but a single-sheet ‘insert’ with the song’s lyrics on the back (note the light blue background of the cover art). Shipped with the record in a plain RCA paper sleeve.

This is a reissue of the American EP album of the same name (EPA-4340) and the second EP pulled from the Elvis’ Christmas Album LP. Oddly, Japan did not reissue the first Christmas EP (Elvis Sings Christmas Songs, EPA-4108), which was a much bigger seller, probably because it featured the annual favorite Blue Christmas.




Japan: Such A Night (CP-1036, 1962)

This is a reissue of CP-1002, Elvis Is Back from 1961 (above), but with a black and white photo from Follow That Dream tinted a deep pink. Weird.




Japan: Kid Galahad (CP-1037, 1962)

Same photo (the bland Elvis of the early ’60s) and cover design with the same content as the US release (EPA-4371).




Japan: Elvis Hit Album (CP-1088, 1963)

The title here might suggest a poorly worded attempt at naming a greatest hits compilation. Such is not the case: this is a reissue of the American EP album Love Me Tender (EPA-4008) from 1956 with the cover art from the American EP album Jailhouse Rock (EPA-4114) from 1957. But, as Love Me Tender was a worldwide hit album seven years earlier, the title is accurate.




Japan: Any Way You Want Me (CP-1096, 1963)

The title tune is from 1956 (and coulda shoulda been an A-side of a single) and the photo on the cover is yet another from Jailhouse Rock in 1957. The black border sets off the ugly orange backdrop (which blends in with Elvis’s movie make-up). This is a reissue of the American EP album of the same name (EPA-965) from 1956.




Japan: Trouble (SCP-1108, 1964)

This is a reissue of the American EP album King Creole, Volume 2 (EPA-4321) from 1958.




Japan: New Screen Theme Hit Album (SCP-1118, 1964)

This is a various artists album featuring one track by Elvis, Kissin’ Cousins. Of course what is most interesting is that Elvis and Sean Connery are pictured together on the same cover.




Japan: Love In Las Vegas (CP-1131, 1964)

Same photo, cover design, and content as the US release (EPA-4382) except the title has been changed from Viva Las Vegas to Love In Las Vegas. Elvis looks sleeker and sexier for this film (made in 1963) than was the norm for the time. I wonder if his co-star had anything to do with that . . .




Japan: Long Tall Sally (SCP-1133, 1964)

This is a reissue of the American EP album Strictly Elvis (EPA-994) from 1956 with the same photo (the handsome Elvis of the mid ’60s) and layout as the US Gold Standard 45 release of Hound Dog / Don’t Be Cruel from 1964.




Japan: Blue Suede Shoes (SCP-1140, 1964)

This is a reissue of the American EP album Elvis Presley (EPA-747) from 1956. Same photo (the bland Elvis of the mid ’60s) and layout as the US Gold Standard 45 release of That’s All Right / Blue Moon Of Kentucky of 1964.




Japan: Elvis Sails (CP-1147, 1964)

This is a reissue of the American EP album of the same name (EPA-4325) from 1959 with a different cover.




Japan: Tickle Me (SCP-1183, 1965)

This cover design was lifted from the US poster for the movie (below). Despite its borderline amateurish look, it is a hell of a lot more interesting than the bland design on the American EP album of 1965. This has the same content as the US record.


A one-sheet poster for the US release of the movie Tickle Me in 1965. A dumb, poorly made movie that was done during the nadir of Presley’s career (1964-65), it is almost worth seeing for the presence of the ever-lovely, perennially under-appreciated Julia Adams and sexy newcomer Jocelyn Lane. Almost . . .


Japan: Tickle Me (SCP-1183, 1965)

Same photo (the bland Elvis of the mid ’60s) and layout as the US release (EPA-4383). This is apparently a rather rare record: an alternative cover design to the more common white cover above.




Japan: Elvis Presley’s Christmas Song (SCP-1205, 1965)

This is a package unique to the Japanese market, consisting of six of the eight tracks on the two American EP albums, Elvis Sings Christmas Songs (EPA-4108) and Christmas With Elvis (EPA-4340).




Japan: Heartbreak Hotel (SCP-1230, 1965)

Part of the Presley Golden Compact Series, this is a reissue of the American EP album of the same name (EPA-821)




Japan: Rip It Up (SCP-1231, 1965)

Part of the Presley Golden Compact Series, this is a reissue of the American EP album Elvis, Volume 1 (EPA-992) from 1956.




Japan: Old Shep (SCP-1232, 1965)

Part of the Presley Golden Compact Series, this is a reissue of the American EP album Elvis, Volume 2 (EPA-993) from 1956.




Japan: Shake, Rattle And Roll (SCP-1233, 1965)

Part of the Presley Golden Compact Series, this is a reissue of the American EP album Elvis Presley (EPA-830) from 1956.




Japan: The Real Elvis (SCP-1234, 1965)

Part of the Presley Golden Compact Series, this is a reissue of the American EP album of the same name (EPA-940) from 1956.




Japan: Any Way You Want Me (SCP-1235, 1965)

Part of the Presley Golden Compact Series, this is a reissue of CP-1096 from 1963 (above).




Japan: Love Me Tender (SCP-1236, 1965)

Part of the Presley Golden Compact Series, this is a reissue of CP-1088 from 1961 (above).




Japan: All Shook Up (SCP-1237, 1965)

Part of the Presley Golden Compact Series, this is a reissue of the American EP album A Touch Of Gold, Volume 3 (EPA-5141) from 1960.




Japan: I Need You So (SCP-1238, 1965)

Part of the Presley Golden Compact Series, this is a reissue of the American EP album Just For You (EPA-4041) from 1957. Same photo (the bland Elvis of the early ’60s) and layout as the US Something For Everybody LP album (LSP-2370) of 1961. 




Japan: Loving You (SCP-1239, 1965)

Part of the Presley Golden Compact Series, this is a reissue of the American EP album Loving You, Volume 1 (EPA-1515-1) from 1957.




Japan: Mean Woman Blues (SCP-1240, 1965)

Part of the Presley Golden Compact Series, this is a reissue of the American EP album Loving You, Volume 2 (EPA-1515-2) from 1957.




Japan: Jailhouse Rock (SCP-1241, 1965)

Part of the Presley Golden Compact Series, this is a reissue of CP-1001 from 1961 (above).




Japan: Wear My Ring Around Your Neck (SCP-1242, 1965)

Part of the Presley Golden Compact Series, this is a reissue of the American EP album A Touch Of Gold, Volume 2 (EPA-5108) from 1959. Same photo as the US albums except the black backdrop really sets off the gold suit (even if the titles get in the way).




Japan: Hard Headed Woman (SCP-1243, 1965)

Part of the Presley Golden Compact Series, this is a reissue of the American EP album A Touch Of Gold, Volume 1 (EPA-5088) from 1959.




Japan: King Creole (SCP-1244, 1965)

Part of the Presley Golden Compact Series, this is a reissue of the American EP album King Creole, Volume 2 (EPA-4321) from 1958. This may be the rarest and most valuable item listed on this page, with collectable copies selling for more than a thousand US dollars.




Japan: It’s Now Or Never (SCP-1245, 1965)

Part of the Presley Golden Compact Series, this is a reissue of CP-1001 from 1961 (above).




Japan: Follow That Dream (SCP-1246, 1965)

Part of the Presley Golden Compact Series, this is a reissue of CP-1024 from 1962 (above).




Japan: Kid Galahad (SCP-1247, 1965)

Part of the Presley Golden Compact Series, this is a reissue of CP-1037 from 1962 (above).




Japan: Viva Las Vegas (SCP-1248, 1965)

Part of the Presley Golden Compact Series,  this is a reissue of CP-1131 from 1964 (above).




Japan: Peace In The Valley (SCP-1249, 1965)

Part of the Presley Golden Compact Series, this is a reissue of the American EP album of the same name (EPA-4054) from 1957.




Japan: Easy Come, Easy Go (SCP-1321, 1967)

Same photo (the bland Elvis of the mid ’60s) and layout as the US release, but in Japan the movie was apparently titled Go Go Go instead of Easy Come, Easy Go, an American idiom that probably had no meaning to Japanese movie-goers. This has the same cover design and content as the American EP album of the same name (EPA-4387) from 1967.




Japan: Paradise, Hawaiian Style (SCP-1327, 1967)

This an album unique to Japan and features four tracks and the cover design of the American LP album of the same name (LSP-3643) from 1966.




Japan: Love Me Tender (SCP-1328, 1967)

This is a compilation album unique to Japan.




Japan: Hound Dog (SCP-1329, 1967)

This is a compilation album unique to Japan. This is the only one of the infamous “haircut sleeves” of 1966-67 that RCA of Japan used on their compact 33s.




C33_SCP-1330_JoshuaFitTheBattle

Japan: Joshua Fit The Battle (SCP-1330, 1967)

This is a compilation album unique to Japan.




C33_SCP-1331_MemphisTennessee

Japan: Memphis, Tennessee (SCP-1331, 1967)

This is a compilation album unique to Japan.




Japan: Spinout (SCP-1332, 1967)

This an album unique to Japan and features four tracks and the cover design of the American LP album of the same name (LSP-3702) from 1966.




Japan: Spinout (SSD-30-31, 1966)

This promotional package includes one compact 33 double (SSD-30) and one 45 rpm single (SSD-31) in a double-pocket jacket with a booklet. The 33 contains Last Train To Clarksville and Step Outside Your Mind by the Monkees with Spinout and Love Letters by Elvis. The 45 has Theme From For A Few Dollars More by Ennio Morricone and I Saw Her Again by the Mamas & Papas.

While the musical match is interesting, this may be the only time that the pelvisless Elvis of the mid ’60s was paired with Clint Eastwood in anyone’s mind about anything! This has to be the oddest item in this gallery: the image on the left is from the Sergio Leone movie, while the one on the right is from Spinout.

 
 

Elvis as we remember him from the mid ’60s: with his foot on the gas and no brakes on the fun!


Elvis_GoldSuit

POSTSCRIPTUALLY, due to the high quality and attention to detail that Japanese records are noted for, they have been highly desirable among almost all record collectors for as long as I have been active in the field (forty plus years). I see no reason for this to change in the near future.

Most of the images above were provided by Frank Daniels.

 


FOOTNOTES:

1   Not that I am condemning the decision: you do what you gotta do the make with the sales, yes?

2   According to the Free Dictionary, the word bland means, first, “characterized by a moderate, unperturbed, or tranquil quality,” and second, “dull and insipid; having little or no distinctive flavor.” Guess which one I am shooting for here . . .

3   “Historically interesting” is a Nealism for “boring.”

 

 
 

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