FlamingStar 800

Elvis By Request compact 33 double EP album

DURING 1961-1962, RCA Victor is­sued five of Elvis Pres­ley’s new sin­gles as monaural Com­pact 33 Sin­gles in the US. These are all re­ally rather rare records and their pic­ture sleeves are even rarer! This some­thing that cannot be said about al­most any other com­mer­cially re­leased Elvis ti­tles. They also re­leased a couple of unique for­mats.

The first Elvis record to be re­leased on the new format was not a single, but an EP, or Com­pact 33 Double. Re­leased in Feb­ruary 1961, RCA Victor LPC-128, ELVIS BY REQUEST, was an odd duck: it may have been the first Presley in the new-fangled Com­pact 33 Sin­gles format to be re­leased any­where in the world.

It did not an­nounce its pres­ence with au­thority: the first side con­sisted of new ma­te­rial from Elvis’s latest movie, Flaming Star and Summer Kisses Winter Tears. The jacket also fea­tured a photo of Elvis from the movie. 1

The second side con­tained his two mas­sive world­wide hits from the pre­vious year, It’s Now Or Never and Are You Lone­some Tonight. So, half of this could be con­sid­ered Elvis’s second sound­track album of the ‘60s, the other half could be con­sid­ered his first ‘golden records’ com­pi­la­tion album of the ‘60s.

 

The Com­pact 33s are an im­por­tant part of any Elvis Presley col­lec­tion and the Elvis By Re­quest album should be on every Elvis col­lec­tors want-list.

 

The record sold well enough to place one track, Flaming Star, in Billboard’s Hot 100. But the com­bi­na­tion of two new sound­track songs plus two pre­vi­ously re­leased hits on a new format prob­ably con­fused both mer­chan­disers and cus­tomers.

In hind­sight, a better choice might have been to make it the sound­track album for the movie. There was enough ma­te­rial: the two se­lected (Flaming Star and Summer Kisses, Winter Tears) plus two very minor record­ings, Britches and A Cane And A High Starched Collar.

There was also the orig­inal title song Black Star and a lovely, Indian-ish(sic) al­ter­na­tive take of Summer Kisses. A very nice, six-track album with one easily un­der­stood title could have been as­sem­bled and more easily and ef­fec­tively mar­keted. Alas, they did not …

 

C33_Request_Holly

C33_Request_Indy

Sug­gested Near Mint value: as this is an album, the record is al­most al­ways sold still housed in the jacket. So refer to the jacket below for a value for the album.

Compact 33 double

From the front cover, there is no ques­tioning one thing: Flaming Star is the fea­tured track on the record. It is at the top, first in line, and in type sev­eral times larger than that of the other three song ti­tles. Be­cause of this, this album is often re­ferred to as Flaming Star.

From the la­bels, there is no ques­tioning one thing: the title. No matter how many times this album is er­ro­neously re­ferred to as Flaming Star or Elvis by Re­quest – Flaming Star, it does not make it cor­rect. The record has one title and it has nothing to do with the movie: the title of the record is ELVIS BY REQUEST.

Vari­a­tions for this label exist: RCA Victor’s pressing plants used dif­ferent com­pa­nies to print their la­bels. Each plant’s records can usu­ally be iden­ti­fied by the pe­cu­liar­i­ties of each plant’s printer. Most of the dif­fer­ences are in the choice of type­face and the sizing of that type, as wit­ness the Hol­ly­wood press­ing’s smaller, thicker print (top image above) and the In­di­anapolis press­ing’s taller, thinner print (bottom image above).

This can be also be done by looking at the iden­ti­fying code of each plant that is etched into the trail-off vinyl (or ‘dead wax’ among older, aging, de­crepit col­lec­tors like my­self) of each record. At this time, there is no es­tab­lished dif­fer­ence in the value be­tween the two press­ings.

 

Elvis_C33_Request

Sug­gested Near Mint value: as this is an album, the jacket is al­most al­ways sold with the record still housed within. So a sug­gested Near Mint value for the album (the jacket with the record) is $40-60. 2

The values as­signed are es­ti­mates based on reg­is­tered sales re­ported on the Pop­sike and Col­lec­tors Frenzy web­sites. Should you do some re­search on ei­ther site, you will see that re­gard­less of the grades given the items, the photos in­di­cate that few if any of the items are truly NM, hence the rel­a­tively modest prices fetched for these items on eBay and else­where on the In­ternet.

Fi­nally, the image I chose for the top of this page is the Brazilian ver­sion of the album. The or­ange border and print are so much more at­trac­tive and ef­fec­tive than the blue …

 

Elvis 1957 goldsuit standup 1000

POSTSCRIPTUALLY, what­ever you choose to call this album, it sold well enough that the fea­tured track Flaming Star reached #14 on Billboard—and it cer­tainly re­quired six-figure sales to reach that po­si­tion (al­though it failed to even reach the Cash Box Top 100)—and is easily the eas­iest Com­pact 33 title to ac­quire.

While only five more Elvis com­pact 33 records would follow in the US, the format would last into the final years of the decade in other coun­tries.

 


FOOTNOTES:

1   There is a non-Elvis movie al­lu­sion in this para­graph. One used but still de­sir­able 1966 Marvel No-Prize to everyone who gets it im­me­di­ately!  

2   The value as­signed to ELVIS BY REQUEST is based on sales from the past few years when supply has been high. It is dif­fi­cult to gauge de­mand, but it is not low: 31 copies of this album have sold in 2013-14. Still, at one time, this was a hun­dred dollar record …  

 

 

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Great write up! Thank you!!!

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