AROUND THE WORLD, Elvis records were issued as Compact 33 Singles that were not issued domestically. Oddly, far more Compact 33 Doubles were issued, many offering either unique cover art or content. The Japanese especially embraced this format and kept issuing them into 1967.
The singles are listed by year of release. The doubles are listed by country and then the year of release, and where I can’t understand the language nor the dates, they are in order of the earliest photo of Elvis.
I have located more than twenty different singles issued as Compact 33 Singles with pictures sleeves, and more than seventy EPs issued as Compact 33 Doubles. From these, I selected twenty-one as an introduction to this interesting and collectable format.
As I am clueless about the importance and value of most Elvis records from outside of the US, there is no price guide with these entries. I am just presenting a gallery of images here in Elvis Compact 33s Around the World.
Compact 33 singles
Spain: Surrender / Lonely Man (1961)
Why RCA of Spain reached back to 1957 for a photo of Elvis for a 1961 recording is curious. Ho-hum design overall.
Argentina: Such A Night / Never Ending (1964)
RCA of Argentina was so impressed with the heavily made-up Elvis image that Uruguay found that they recycled it six months later. “Una noche asi” translates literally as “One night so” while “de nunca terminab” means … “never ending.”
Brazil: Viva Las Vegas / What’d I Say (1964)
Easily one of my favorite Presley picture sleeves! It could be the nice black and white photo without the clunky borders that RCA of America seemed obliged to include on every Elvis release.
Or perhaps it’s the clean, uncluttered look. or the way the yellow and blue print moves against the neutral background.
Or maybe it’s Ann-Margret.
Argentina: Crying In The Chapel / I Believe In The Man In The Sky (1965)
Let’s see: RCA of Argentina received the masters for Elvis’s new a pair of gospel sides. So they thought, “What ‘look’ would be the most appropriate for this record?”
And then they decided on a publicity photo for Jailhouse Rock, where Elvis’s character does some serious time for killing another man.
Then gets out and is a mean sumbish to everyone around him.
Then sees the Light and finds the Way.
Makes sense …
Spain: Blue Moon / I Need You So (196?)
While Blue Moon was a substantial hit for Elvis in England when issued by HMV in late ’56 (it was Top 10 on at least one weekly’s survey), its being released on this format in the early ’60s seems rather odd, no? Was there a tie-in with this song and something else happening in Spain at this time? Will we ever know or will its release forever be a mystery for the ages?
Uruguay: Love Letters / Come What May (1966)
Elvis in the studio in New York in July ’56 recording Hound Dog and Don’t Be Cruel and Any Way You Wa-ah-ah-ah-ant Me seems like the perfect photo for a picture sleeve for Presley’s best single of newly recorded material in, what, three years? Since Devil In Disguise?
Compact 33 doubles
Brazil: Elvis Presley (1962)
This is a reissue of the first American EP album ELVIS PRESLEY (EPA-747) from 1956. What sets this off from the pack is the blue and yellow letters stand out and complement the black and white photo much more than the American pink and green letters ever did!
Japan: Elvis Is Back (1961)
RCA of Japan lifted the unattractive photo of Elvis from the ELVIS IS BACKalbum 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 (double, 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.
Spain: King Creole, Volume 1 (double, 1962)
This is a reissue of the American EP album KING CREOLE VOLUME 2 (EPA-4321) from 1959. It features unique cover art taken from the movie poster.
Japan: Such A Night (double, 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.
Spain: The Rhythm Of Elvis Presley (double, 196?)
Wonderful, colorful design using a photo of Elvis from the Dorsey Show in 1956. The multi-color graphics against the black and white photo gives the whole such a great Fifties feel. Easily one of my favorite Presley sleeves of the ’50s!
Japan: New Screen Theme Hit Album (double, 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.
Uruguay: Viva Las Vegas (1964)
Same photo (the bland Elvis of the mid-’60s) and layout as the US release, but the color selection completely alters the effect! Compare this bold contrast of red and white with the orange and blue of most versions.
This is a stand-out Elvis jacket for the time and it’s a shame it wasn’t used here in the States. And “Amor en Las Vegas” translates as “Love in Las Vegas,” the title that the movie was known by in much of the world in 1964.
Japan: Long Tall Sally (double, 1964)
This is a reissue of the American EP album STRICTLY ELVIS(EPA-994) from 1956. Same photo (the bland Elvis of the mid-’60s, except he looks pretty damn good here) and layout as the US Gold Standard 45 release of Hound Dog / Don’t Be Cruel of 1964.
Japan: Tickle Me (double, 1965)
This cover design was lifted from the US poster for the movie. 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.
Japan: I Need You So (double, 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 SOMETHING FOR EVERYBODY LP album (LSP-2370) of 1961.
Japan: Mean Woman Blues (double, 1965)
Part of the Presley Golden Compact Series, this is a reissue of the American EP albumLOVING YOU VOLUME 2 (EPA-1515-2) from 1957.
Japan: Jailhouse Rock (double, 1965)
Part of the Presley Golden Compact Series, this is a reissue of CP-1001 from 1961.
Japan: King Creole (double, 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.
FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is from the 1958 movie King Creole. “There’s a kind of lethargic effortlessness, a sleepy way of glancing that makes Presley such a magnetic screen presence. He has a way of moving in slow motion, as though throwing his head back takes all the effort in the world. Whether he’s singing, kissing, dancing or thinking, every move he makes is deliberate. Everyone else jitters, he languishes, and like the consummate dancer he is, each action glides seamlessly into the next.” (From the article “Why King Creole is Elvis Presley’s best movie” on the Little White Lies website)
POSTSCRIPTUALLY, I don’t have a lot to say about Elvis compact 33s from around the world. I appreciate input from dealers and collectors of these records and sleeves on their values so that I could transform this into a useful price guide for other collectors. Most of the images above were provided by Frank Daniels.