Elvis SunEra 800X600

all the elvis sun EPs are bootleg EPs

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.

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.

 

These three Sun Records extended-play EP al­bums are bootlegs that were ap­par­ently man­u­fac­tured no ear­lier than 1978.

 

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.)

 

Elvis_Sun_EP100_c1

Elvis_Sun_EP100_c2

Elvis_Sun_EP100_r1

Elvis_Sun_EP100_r2

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.)

 

Elvis_Sun_EP101_c1

Elvis_Sun_EP101_c2

Elvis_Sun_EP101_r1

Elvis_Sun_EP101_r2

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.)

 

Elvis_Sun_EP102_c1

Elvis_Sun_EP102_c2

Elvis_Sun_EP102_r1

Elvis_Sun_EP102_r2

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.)

The real deal

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

 

Elvis_Sun_EP_JLL_107

Elvis_Sun EP_JLL_c1

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

 

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 1957 goldsuit standup 1000

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 what 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 …

 

Subscribe
Notify of
Rate this article:
Please rate this article with your comment.
3 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

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.

Thanks for the info. I’ll try to track down the ELVIS CATALOG book. Sounds in­ter­esting.

This is my footer.