all the elvis sun EPs are bootleg EPs

YUP, THAT’S CORRECT: all of the Elvis Sun EPs are bootleg EPs. Fortunately, most collectors seem to know that they are not legitimate, and few sellers advertise them as anything other than boots. But they are nice looking records and most serious Elvis collectors own them, so if you have been looking into them and wanting some information, look no further!

This is a follow-up to Elvis Bootleg Picture Sleeves that exist for Sun and RCA Victor singles that were released in 1954, 1955, and 1956 without legitimate picture sleeves at that time. While there were dozens of such sleeves listed on the post, here you will find only three EPs (extended-play albums). Still, these records were very popular when they were issued and they sold well for bootlegs on the collectors market.

These three bootleg EPs were apparently manufactured in 1978 and currently, prices paid for NM copies fluctuate between $15 and $50 each in NM condition, with $20-25 being the most common.

Despite Presley’s importance to Sun Records in 1954-55, the company did not see fit to invest in the release of either EP or LP records for their biggest seller. A clever collector manufactured three EPs here in the late ’70s (1978 is usually cited) to look like records from the era. 1

Every serious collector of ’50s seven-inch, 45 RPM records should be familiar with the EP format: a record with two songs per side in a cardboard jacket. Most EPs were pulled from LPs and the front cover art duplicated that of the parent LP.

In fact, it was fairly common to break the twelve tracks of an LP down into three EPs of four tracks each. The jackets would all have the same cover art as the LP and each EP would be titled after the LP but with a “Volume 1/2/3” suffix added to it.

Sam Philips did issue records in both album formats after selling Presley to Victor; he could afford to as he finally had enough money to make his little company grow into a contender—at least a contender in the independent record company scheme of things that existed despite the power of RCA, Columbia, Decca, MGM, Mercury, Capitol, etc.

These EPs contain previously released recordings and were most likely “mastered” from vinyl 45s and LPs. They are not like bootleg LPs where the force of the record’s attraction is material otherwise unavailable to collectors. (And I am speaking here of the whys and wherefores of manufacturing and collecting bootleg vinyl in the 1970s and ’80s, before the record companies made so many goodies available on inexpensive CDs.)




 

[one_half]Elvis_Sun_EP100_c1[/one_half][one_half_last]Elvis_Sun_EP100_c2[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Elvis_Sun_EP100_r1[/one_half][one_half_last]Elvis_Sun_EP100_r2[/one_half_last]

Sun EP-100, That’s All Right.

The front cover is simple: a black and white publicity photo of Elvis with a blue border with the album title—which is also the title of the featured song—at the top and the song titles to the left. The songs include an A-side and two B-sides from previously released singles with one unreleased track.

The back cover lists the five Sun singles and includes the capsule reviews given by Billboard magazine to each record at the time of its release. (Click on each image to enlarge it.)




 

[one_half]Elvis_Sun_EP101_c1[/one_half][one_half_last]Elvis_Sun_EP101_c2[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Elvis_Sun_EP101_r1[/one_half][one_half_last]Elvis_Sun_EP101_r2[/one_half_last]

Sun EP-101, Good Rockin’ Tonight.

The front cover is simple: a black and white publicity photo of Elvis with a red border with the album title—which is also the title of the featured song—at the top and the song titles to the left. The songs include two A-sides and a B-side from previously released singles with one unreleased track.

The back cover lists the five Sun singles and includes the capsule reviews given by Billboard magazine to each record at the time of its release. (Click on each image to enlarge it.)




 

[one_half]Elvis_Sun_EP102_c1[/one_half][one_half_last]Elvis_Sun_EP102_c2[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Elvis_Sun_EP102_r1[/one_half][one_half_last]Elvis_Sun_EP102_r2[/one_half_last]

Sun EP-102, Baby Let’s Play House.

The front cover is simple: a black and white publicity photo of Elvis with a yellow border with the album title—which is also the title of the featured song—at the top and the song titles to the left. The songs include two A-sides and two B-sides from previously released singles with one unreleased track.

The back cover lists the five Sun singles and includes the capsule reviews given by Billboard magazine to each record at the time of its release. (Click on each image to enlarge it.)




Jerry Lee is the real deal, son!

As I said, with the money that Philips received for Elvis’s contract to RCA Victor for $40,000, he was able to broaden his scope and release both EPs and LPs along with 45s. For an example of the Sun ‘look,’ here is a pair Jerry Lee Lewis extended-players: 2


[one_half]Elvis_Sun_EP_JLL_107[/one_half][one_half_last]Elvis_Sun EP_JLL_c1[/one_half_last]

The front and back covers are much better in terms of design and the quality of the photography and the printing. EPA-107 is from 1957 and would not look out of place among many country & western albums of the decade. EPA-108 is rom 1958 and is much more reserved, much more “professional.” And much less interesting. 3

The Avid Record Collector’s price guide

Prices paid for these three bootleg EPs fluctuate between $15 and $50 each in NM condition, with $20-25 being the most common. (That was short!)


UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970:  Photo of Elvis Presley  Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

FEATURED IMAGE: Oh so young and beautiful is this great early shot of Elvis, although I was unable to find a date for when it was taken.


Elvis_GoldSuit

Postscriptually most collectors pursue bootleg LPs with studio outtakes and alternative takes or those with important concert performances were the most important items. The picture sleeves discussed in the earlier article were conceived and manufactured to fill a perceived hole in a “complete” Elvis collection. While secondary to the LPs, they were still important.

But these fake Sun EPs are more or less mere window dressing: nice to look at or own, but hardly necessary . . .



FOOTNOTES:

1   Why does no one writing (or all too often rewriting) the history of rock & roll and popular music even notice that had Sam Philips borrowed or stole or found an investor and released a twelve-inch LP album in late 1955 with the ten Presley sides from the five singles and a couple of left-overs it would have made Sun Records far more than the $35,000 that selling Presley’s contract to RCA brought in.

2   Sam received $35,000 outright plus Victor paid Elvis $5,000 in back royalties that Sun owed the singer. $40,000 in 1955 dollars would be worth $350,000 according to the official but absurdly conservative (conservative as in too little, not as in its political/social meaning) Consumer Price Index and $520,000 by the unofficial and not-quite-as-conservative Hershey Bar/Chevy Impala Index. Not a lot given what Presley would do, but not bad for hat he had done in 1954-55 and certainly not the pittance that many historians make it seem to have been.

3  I assume that Jerry Lee hated the first cover as the artwork reeked of fire and brimstone . . .


3 Replies to “all the elvis sun EPs are bootleg EPs”

  1. Neal,

    Cool article! One question comes to mind….how did the guys who made the fake Elvis Sun EPs create the labels? They look really authentic, and if I didn’t know better, I’d think they were the real deal.

    Thanks.

    1. MDG

      Dunno. Those EPs were made no later than the mid 1980s and there were some very serious Elvis ontrayprenoors making some serious class-act boots at the time.

      Have you seen the first of the Sun 78 and 45 repros? Another class act (from northern California) where the effort and cost of making the records could not have been justified by the profit, meaning it was a labor of love.

      In his book ELVIS CATALOG, Lee Cotten explains the basics for how these killer counterfeits were made and why they sound better on modern turntables than the real Sun singles!

      Hope this heps a wee it!

      NU

      PS: I would have answered this sooner but it was buried in the spam folder . . .

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