british pressings of elvis presley’s “my boy” are common in the u.k.

EXPORT-ONLY RECORDS ARE NOT COMMON in the record busi­ness. But in 1974, RCA in the US had to man­u­fac­ture records by sev­eral artists to be ex­ported to Eng­land for sale in the UK. Why this oc­curred while there were British press­ings of the same records being man­u­fac­tured at the same time re­mains a topic of dis­cus­sion among record collectors.

At the same time that RCA in Eng­land was im­porting records from the US and sev­eral other coun­tries, they con­tinued man­u­fac­turing those same records in their plants in the UK. While this should have caused wide­spread col­lec­tors’ in­terest in the var­ious press­ings from var­ious sources, for the most part, it has been greeted with in­dif­fer­ence. Only one of the export-only records has re­ceived much attention—RCA 2458EX, Elvis Pres­ley’s My Boy / Loving Arms.

Sev­eral the­o­ries exist as to why RCA had to im­port records into the United Kingdom in 1974.

This is one of four ar­ti­cles based on RCA 2458/2458EX, Elvis Pres­ley’s My Boy. I did not set out to com­pose a “My Boy Trilogy + One” but information—and ques­tions and opin­ions about that information—kept piling up and one thing led to an­other! The other ar­ti­cles are:

•  “Why Did RCA Have to Ex­port David Bowie Records to Eng­land in the ’70s?” ad­dresses the ten records known to have been man­u­fac­tured in the US ex­clu­sively for sale in the UK, fo­cusing on three by David Bowie.

•  “There Is a Spe­cial Export-Only Pressing of My Boy” ad­dresses RCA 2458EX, which was man­u­fac­tured by RCA in the US ex­clu­sively for sale in the UK.

•  “Mys­te­rious In­sert As­so­ci­ated with Export-Only My Boy” ad­dresses a sheet of paper with “Elvis Presley / My Boy” printed on one side that some col­lec­tors be­lieve is as­so­ci­ated with RCA 2458EX.

The ar­ticle below will make more sense if you read the ar­ti­cles above first. (There is some over­lap­ping and re­dun­dancy of the in­for­ma­tion in these articles.)

 

British pressings: UK pressing of RCA 2458, Elvis Presley's "My Boy" in company sleeve from 1974.

British pressings: US pressing of RCA 2458EX, Elvis Presley's "My Boy" in company sleeve from 1974.
The record on top with the or­ange label (RCA 2458) was man­u­fac­tured by RCA in the UK for sale in the UK. The record on the bottom with the gray label (RCA 2458EX) was man­u­fac­tured in the US for sale in the UK.

The British pressings of 2458

De­spite RCA’s need to im­port records into the UK, the British branch of the com­pany still man­aged to man­u­fac­ture records in Eng­land at the time they were im­porting records. This in­cludes the ti­tles that were man­u­fac­tured abroad, which would seem to in­di­cate that the British pressing plants were not meeting the de­mand for products.

This ar­ticle ad­dresses six dif­ferent British press­ings of 2458, the reg­ular British cat­alog number for the Presley record. As seven-inch, 45 rpm sin­gles were man­u­fac­tured in the UK with three dif­ferent types of cen­ters (or sizes of spindle holes), I have di­vided the records into groups based on their centers.

As far as I can tell, there was no pre­ferred center by British record buyers at the time nor is there is a pre­ferred ver­sion by to­day’s record col­lec­tors. (The records’ status and values as col­lectibles are ad­dressed in the Avid Record Col­lector sec­tion below.)

More photos of these la­bels can also be found on the Elvis U.K. Vinyl website.

 

British pressings: UK demonstration pressing of RCA 2458, Elvis Presley's "My Boy" from 1974.

British pressings: UK orange label pressing of RCA 2458, Elvis Presley's "My Boy" with knockout center from 1974.

Knockout centers

These two press­ings of RCA 2458 have or­ange la­bels with what British col­lec­tors refer to as knockout cen­ters. These are records with cir­cular pieces of vinyl with four prongs that are at­tached to the record.

Records with these cen­ters can be played on a turntable with a slender, LP-sized spindle or these cen­ters can easily be knocked out of the larger hole—the four prongs break away from the record rather easily—and the record can then be played on a wider, single-sized spindle or adapter.

This never caught on in the US, where 45s were simply pro­duced with the large hole. This caused seven-inch, 45 rpm sin­gles to be known as the “little record with the big hole” back in the ’50s.

Ap­par­ently, both of these records were man­u­fac­tured by RCA in the UK.

 

British pressings: 45rpm "spider" spindle-hole adapter.

British pressings: UK tan label pressing of RCA 2458, Elvis Presley's "My Boy" with spider center from 1974.

Spider centers

This pressing of RCA 2458 has what British col­lec­tors refer to as a tan label, al­though most of the copies that have been posted on the in­ternet look like some ghastly shade of orangey-brown! The record has a large spindle hole into which a metal or plastic adapter can be snapped into place and the record can be played on a turntable with a slender, LP-sized spindle hole.

These adapters are re­ferred to as spider cen­ters by British record buyers. The one pic­tured above is made of plastic and ap­prox­i­mately 1½ inches (3.82 cen­time­ters) wide. Tens of mil­lions were sold around the world every year when the little record with the big hole was the medium of choice of younger record buyers.

Ap­par­ently, this record was man­u­fac­tured by CBS in the UK.

 

British pressings: UK orange label pressing of RCA 2458, Elvis Presley's "My Boy" with solid center and "Stereo" from 1974.

British pressings: UK orange label pressing of RCA 2458, Elvis Presley's "My Boy" with solid center without "Stereo" from 1974.

British pressings: UK tan label pressing of RCA 2458, Elvis Presley's "My Boy" with solid center from 1974.

Solid centers

These top two press­ings of RCA 2458 have or­ange la­bels with solid centers, which is a small, LP-sized spindle hole. There is no knock-out or break-away as­pects to those records and they can only be played on LP-sized spindle hole.

The two la­bels have dif­ferent lay­outs for tech­nical in­for­ma­tion: The record on top has “Stereo” along with the pub­lisher on the right side of the spindle hole. The record on the bottom has “Stereo” and the pub­lisher above the spindle hole below “Elvis Presley.”

The bottom record has a tan label, al­though all the copies that I have seen on the in­ternet look brown. Ap­par­ently, these records were man­u­fac­tured by RCA in the UK.

 

British pressings: mysterious paper insert associated with RCA 2458EX, Elvis Presley's "My Boy" from 1974.
This mys­te­rious in­sert is a sheet of paper with green and black print on the front with “Elvis Presley” and “My Boy.” It has a plain white back side. Some col­lec­tors be­lieve it is a le­git­i­mate item man­u­fac­tured by RCA in 1974 and shipped to the UK with copies of 2458EX. Other col­lec­tors be­lieve it is a bootleg man­u­fac­tured years later.

The Avid Record Collector

Each of the five vari­a­tions of the com­mer­cial pressing of the UK-manufactured RCA 2458 is fairly common and can be found on the in­ternet for less than $10 in near mint (NM) con­di­tion. Pro­mo­tional press­ings are rather rare records and are usu­ally found on the in­ternet with prices of $100 or more in near mint (NM) condition.

Forty years after its re­lease, RCA 2458EX is still being ar­gued about among col­lec­tors, in­cluding its real market value. To read about those ar­gu­ments and the record’s value, click here.

Fi­nally, there are also found export-only records man­u­fac­tured in Canada, France, and Ger­many in­tended for sale in the UK. I did not in­clude these records in this article …

Why did RCA in the US have to man­u­fac­ture records by Elvis Presley, David Bowie, Lou Reed, and others to ex­port to RCA in Eng­land for sale in the UK in 1974? Click To Tweet

British pressings: photo of Elvis on stage at Auburn University in March 1974.

FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is Elvis and drummer Ronnie Tutt on stage at the Beard-Eaves Memo­rial Col­i­seum at Auburn Uni­ver­sity, Al­abama. It was taken by Larry Parker on March 5, 1974, and il­lus­trates that Elvis was looking trim and fit at the time. “For at least one day, Pres­i­dent Philpott [of Auburn Uni­ver­sity] ceased to rule the campus and east-central Al­abama be­came a monarchy. The King was here.” (War Eagle Reader)

 

British pressings: photo of Elvis in gold suit in 1957.POSTSCRIPTUALLY, I want to thank the fol­lowing people for di­rectly or in­di­rectly con­tributing to this article:

Paul Alner (Elvis On Record)
Craig LaPine (col­lec­taire extraordinaire)
Dave Reynolds (Elvis Rare Records)
Bernard Roughton (col­lec­taire extraordinaire)

 

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