elvis talks to his many fans (epa-4325, elvis sails)

Es­ti­mated reading time is 8 minutes.

ELVIS EN­TERED THE ARMY as a buck pri­vate on March 24, 1958, at the draft board in Mem­phis, Ten­nessee. Pri­vate Presley took a bus to Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, tem­porarily halting his ca­reer as a recording artist and movie actor for the next two years. And what was RCA Victor to do during that time?

Be­fore heading off, Elvis com­pleted filming King Creole and recording twelve tracks for the movie’s sound­track. During Jan­uary and Feb­ruary 1958, he also cut four tracks for pos­sible use on sin­gles or an album. On a brief leave from the Army in June, he fin­ished five more mas­ters for RCA Vic­tor’s use while he was off in Deutsch­land pro­tecting the Free World from the scourge of in­ter­na­tional communism.

“Elvis talks to his many fans on his one and only in­ter­view recording!”

This was not a lot of ma­te­rial for RCA Victor to work with: in 1956 and ’57, Presley had recorded more than sev­enty mas­ters for his record com­pany. There was little they could do so, while Elvis was in the ser­vice, they re­leased five new sin­gles using sides recorded in 1957-1958 along with one LP album of new ma­te­rial, the sound­track for King Creole.

RCA Victor also re­leased two EP al­bums and two LP al­bums,  that com­piled record­ings from 1954 through 1958.

But there was one other album of all new “ma­te­rial” ap­pro­pri­ately ti­tled ELVIS SAILS.

NOTE: Up­dates to the orig­inal ar­ticle are in rusty brown print below.

 

Front cover of first US pressing of RCA Victor EPA-4325, Elvis Sails, an EP album of snippets of Elvis interviews from 1958.

Back cover of first US pressing of RCA Victor EPA-4325, Elvis Sails, an EP album of snippets of Elvis interviews from 1958.
RCA Victor EPA-4325, Elvis Sails, had a nice photo of Pri­vate Presley on the front cover and a 1959 cal­endar on the back cover that noted im­por­tant days in Pres­ley’s ca­reer. All au­thentic jackets have a die-cut hole at the top so the owner can hang it on the wall and see the calendar.

Original version of Elvis Sails

On Sep­tember 22, 1958, Elvis was sched­uled to board the USS Ran­dall and de­part for Ger­many. Be­fore leaving, he held a forty-minute press con­fer­ence aboard the ship. It was taped. During the third week of No­vember 1958, RCA Victor began ship­ping the newest Elvis album to whole­salers and retailers. 

EPA-4325, ELVIS SAILS, fea­tured 5:26 from that press con­fer­ence on side 1 and two shorter pieces from in­ter­views that Presley did with News­reel and with Pat Hernon in the li­brary on side 2. The album sold well, spending twelve weeks on the Bill­board Best Selling Pop EPs survey.

ELVIS SAILS had a nice photo of Pri­vate Presley on the front cover and a 1959 cal­endar on the back cover that noted im­por­tant days in Pres­ley’s career.

Elvis’ 1959 Calendar

The back cover of early press­ings of EPA-4325 fea­tures “Elvis’ 1959 Cal­endar.” On it are noted sev­eral mile­stones in Pres­ley’s ca­reer, including:

•  On July 2, 1956, Presley’s biggest seller, Don’t Be Cruel / Hound Dog was recorded (es­ti­mated US sales were 5,000,000 be­fore the end of 1956).

•  In No­vember 1957, his com­bined do­mestic EP album sales passed the then-unprecedented total of 5,000,000 copies. 

What about the hole?

Orig­inal jackets for EPA-4325 had a small die-cut hole in the top. This al­lowed the al­bum’s owner to hang it on the wall and see the Elvis cal­endar every day.

There are no known le­git­i­mate copies of EPA-4325 without the hole. (Refer to the sub­sec­tion “Bootleg ver­sion of Elvis Sails” below.)

Avid Record Collector’s price guide

Prices re­al­ized for copies of the US pressing of EPA-4325 in VG+ and better con­di­tion on eBay are all over the map but a re­al­istic cur­rent market value for a NM record win a NM jacket is $75-100.

A sale in 2023 of a copy graded Ex­cel­lent in­cluded three photos that made the jacket and record look like new sold for $400 while a copy in a sealed baggy-like wrapper sold for $300 in 2019.

 

Front cover of the bootleg reproduction of RCA Victor EPA-5157, Elvis Sails.

Back cover of the bootleg reproduction of RCA Victor EPA-5157, Elvis Sails.
The unau­tho­rized re­pro­duc­tions of RCA Victor EPA-4325 are very be­liev­able but do not have a die-cut hold at the top near the end of “The Press In­ter­views Elvis.”

Bootleg version of Elvis Sails

Someone man­u­fac­tured unau­tho­rized reis­sues of EPA-4325 that were good enough that they fooled many col­lec­tors. The record was also du­pli­cated al­though the printing and the logo are slightly off com­pared to gen­uine RCA Victor records and the data in the trail-off area is hand-etched in­stead of stamped like the au­thentic record.

Ac­cording to the Bootleg Elvis book, this bootleg was made in 1978. If this date is ac­cu­rate, this is one of the ear­liest Elvis bootlegs.

The big giveaway

The man­u­fac­turer made it easy to dif­fer­en­tiate an au­thentic EPA-4326 from a fake with a big give­away. How can you tell? The bootlegs do not have the die-cut hole in the jacket! 

Be­cause the re­pros were made so that one could tell them from real copies, I refer to them as bootlegs rather than counterfeits.

Avid Record Collector’s price guide

A rea­son­able value for an NM record in a NM jacket is $15-30 but many col­lec­tors mis­take this for the real thing and pay con­sid­er­ably more.

 

Back cover of the picture sleeve for RCA Victor 47-7506 from 1959 advertising Elvis Sails.

Back cover of the picture sleeve for RCA Victor 47-7600 from 1959 advertising Elvis Sails.
To pro­mote the Elvis Sails album, RCA Victor in­cluded ad­ver­tise­ments for it on the back covers of two pic­ture sleeves in 1969. They were 47-7506 (I Need Your Love Tonight  A Fool Such As I) and 47-7600 (A Big Hunk O’ Love / My Wish Came True).

Promoting Elvis Sails

To pro­mote the ELVIS SAILS album in the US, RCA Victor in­cluded ad­ver­tise­ments for the album (“Elvis ‘talks’ to his many fans on his one and only in­ter­view recording”) on the back of the pic­ture sleeves for the two new Elvis sin­gles re­leased in 1959. 

This was not busi­ness as usual as most Elvis pic­ture sleeves at the time fea­tured a photo of Presley on both sides. These were 47-7506, I Need Your Love Tonight / (Now And Then There’s) A Fool Such As I, and 47-7600, A Big Hunk O’ Love / My Wish Came True.

In the UK, the music weekly mag­a­zine Disc de­voted the front cover to ELVIS SAILS. This was not busi­ness as usual as most Elvis pic­ture sleeves at the time fea­tured a photo of Presley on both sides.

 

Front cover of RCA Victor EPA-5157, the Gold Standard Series reissue of Elvis Sails from 1965.

Back cover of RCA Victor EPA-5157, the Gold Standard Series reissue of Elvis Sails from 1965.
The jacket for RCA Victor EPA-5157, the Gold Stan­dard Se­ries reissue of EPA-4325, had a slightly mod­i­fied front cover and a com­pletely dif­ferent back cover. (And no hole.)

Gold Standard Series reissue of Elvis Sails

In April 1965, RCA Victor reis­sued ELVIS SAILS as part of their Gold Stan­dard Se­ries. Its new cat­alog number was EPA-5157. It kept the orig­inal art on the front cover and a new back cover that ad­ver­tised the Elvis EP cat­alog along with his new single, Crying In The Chapel.

Oh, and there was no hole at the top.

Avid Record Collector’s price guide

Prices re­al­ized for copies of EPA-5157 with a black label with “RCA Victor” and Nipper on top (man­u­fac­tured in 1965) in NM/NM con­di­tion are usu­ally only $40-50.

Copies with NM jackets and a NM record with or­ange la­bels (prob­ably pressed in 1968-1969 and which are rather rare records) cur­rently go for $150-200.

Copies with black la­bels and “RCA Victor” and Nipper on the sides, which would have been man­u­fac­tured in 1965-1968, are not known to exist.

 

Front cover of the first Japanese pressing of Elvis Sails (EP-1348) from 1959.

Front cover of the second Japanese pressing of Elvis Sails (CP-1147) from 1964.
The orig­inal jacket for the 1959 Japanese pressing of Elvis Sails (EP-1348) had a unique front cover. In 1964, the album was reis­sued as part of the Gold Stan­dard Se­ries with a new cat­alog number (CP-1147) and an­other, new and unique front cover.

Japanese versions of Elvis Sails

In most of the world, ELVIS SAILS was is­sued with the same de­sign and photo on the front cover as that of the Amer­ican ver­sion. There were two no­table ex­cep­tions: in West Ger­many, the de­sign was the same but a dif­ferent photo of Elvis was used (refer to “German ver­sion of Elvis Sails” below) while in Japan Victor jet­ti­soned the whole newspaper-against-a-black-background design!

The orig­inal Japanese ver­sion of ELVIS SAILS used a heavily touched-up photo of a smiling Pri­vate Presley and had a dif­ferent cat­alog number, Victor EP-1348. This was kept in print until the album was reis­sued in 1964 as part of the Gold Stan­dard Series. 

The Gold Stan­dard reissue fea­tured an­other cover de­sign and photo as dif­ferent as the orig­inal along with a new cat­alog number, CP-1147. 

Avid Record Collector’s price guide

There have not been any sales of EPA-1348 on Discogs. Only six copies have sold on in eBay in the past twenty years.

In 2014, a copy of EPA-1348 ad­ver­tised as being “ab­solutely per­fect [with] mint cover + un­played disc” that in­cluded the orig­inal in­sert and JVC baggy sold for $2,672.

In 2016, a copy graded mint fetched $1,295.

More re­cent prices re­al­ized for “ex­cel­lent” copies of EP-1348 are $705 in 2021 and $745 in 2018.

The reissue, CP-1147, is much more common and nor­mally goes for $75-150

 

Front cover of the first West German pressing of Elvis Sails (EPA-4325) from 1959.
First print­ings of the jacket for EPA-4325 in West Ger­many in 1959 used a dif­ferent, un­flat­tering photo of Elvis. This ver­sion was quickly pulled from cir­cu­la­tion and re­placed with the stan­dard photo

German version of Elvis Sails

In West Ger­many, it was even more in­ter­esting: EPA-4325 was is­sued with the same cover de­sign as the Amer­ican ver­sion but ini­tially had a dif­ferent photo of Elvis bursting through the news­paper. And then, un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously, it was pulled from cir­cu­la­tion and re­placed with the stan­dard photo.

For more in­for­ma­tion on this rather rare record, see “This German EP Album Is One Of The Rarest Elvis Records In The World!

 

Cropped section from the front cover of EPA-4325, Elvis Sails.

FEA­TURED IMAGE: The image at the top of this page was cropped from EPA-4325, ELVIS SAILS. I tweaked the image—mostly sat­u­ra­tion and contrast—and added a light blue tint to make it a bit more eye-catching.

 

photo of Elvis from early 1957 in his full gold suit by Nudie of Hollywood.

Postscript

Don’t know how I missed this the first time around, but Disc mag­a­zine, one of the more pop­ular British week­lies de­voted to pop music, gave the ELVIS SAILS album its front cover on the De­cember 6, 1958, issue.

 

Elvis EPA 4325 ElvisSails UK Disc 600
Disc mag­a­zine, one of the more pop­ular British week­lies de­voted to pop music, gave the ELVIS SAILS album its front cover on the De­cember 6, 1958, issue.

Thanks to Michael O’Hara for re­minding me of the fact that many col­lec­tors may not know that bootleg re­pro­duc­tions of EPA-4325 are out there. Thanks to Bryan Bradley for proof­reading the final draft.

Fi­nally, the working title for this piece was “The Holiest Elvis Record,” which I thought clever, funny, and a tad bit sac­ri­le­gious but I caved in and went with the safer (if much, much blander) “Elvis Talks To His Many Fans.” 

What can I say? I’m a wuss . . .

 


 

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