there is a special export-only pressing of “my boy” (rca 2458EX)

A SPECIAL EXPORT-ONLY pressing of the “My Boy” single was man­u­fac­tured in the US ex­pressly for sale in the UK. RCA Victor 2458EX was shipped to Eng­land in late 1974, ap­par­ently be­cause British plants were un­able to meet the de­mand for new product on their own. Aside from filling a need, RCA cre­ated a col­lectible whose im­por­tance is still dis­cussed decades later.

Elvis had added My Boy to his reper­toire during his month-long stay at the Las Vegas Hilton in August-September 1973. The song was orig­i­nally written in French as “Parce Que Je T’aime Mon En­fant” (trans­lated as “Be­cause I Love You, My Child”) by Jean-Pierre Bour­tayre and Claude Fran­cois. It was first recorded by Fran­cois and re­leased in France in 1970. 1

2458EX has at­tracted at­ten­tion since it first ap­peared in a price guide years ago with an ab­surdly in­flated value.

The lyrics were sub­se­quently trans­lated into Eng­lish by Phil Coulter and Bill Martin. Ac­cording to Martin: “The demo was just Phil playing and me singing. We gave it to Richard Harris, who thought it was phe­nom­enal. We took My Boy and Richard Harris to the Radio Lux­em­bourg Grand Prix music con­test in 1971 and we won. My Boy wasn’t a UK hit but it did well in America and that is prob­ably how Elvis Presley heard it.”

Harris re­leased My Boy as a single in De­cember 1971. His ver­sion fea­tured a rather re­strained and sen­si­tive lead vocal and a rel­a­tively sub­dued arrange­ment (as hard as ei­ther may be to be­lieve for those who lived through MacArthur Park). The record only reached #41 on the Bill­board Hot 100 and #46 on Cash Box but was a siz­able hit with Easy Lis­tening audiences.

After per­forming the song sev­eral times in Vegas, Elvis fi­nally recorded My Boy in De­cember 1973 at the Stax Studio in Mem­phis. Pres­ley’s arrange­ment stays fairly close to the Harris recording and Elvis sings it beau­ti­fully, al­though without the re­straint that marked Har­ris’s ver­sion. This recording was first re­leased on the GOOD TIMES album (RCA Victor CPL1-0475) in March 1974.

 

Export Only: photo of advertisement for "My Boy" in Febrruary 1, 1975, issue of Cash Box magazine.
This full-page ad­ver­tise­ment for the US re­lease of My Boy ap­peared in the Feb­ruary 1, 1975, issue of Cash Box mag­a­zine. It was not normal prac­tice to pull a single from a modest-selling album that was al­most a year old.

“My Boy” the hit record

In the UK, My Boy was a fill-in for British fans as the pre­vious single, If You Talk In Your Sleep, had been re­leased way back in June. Rather than wait for the next of­fi­cial Elvis single, RCA pulled My Boy from the re­cent GOOD TIMES album and is­sued it as a single in the UK in Oc­tober 1974. Backed with Loving Arms, it was re­leased as RCA 2458 in Oc­tober 1974.

While 2458EX is unique among Elvis records, its col­lectibility does not af­fect every Elvis collector.

De­spite it being an over­wrought bit of melo­drama (and a less-than-spectacular choice as a single during the height of the Glam Years and the dawning of the Disco Era), it be­came Pres­ley’s first Top 5 hit in the UK since Until It’s Time For You To Go in 1972. 2

The suc­cess of My Boy in Eng­land ne­ces­si­tated a re­lease in America in Jan­uary 1975 (PB-10191). There it was cou­pled with Thinking About You, a nice if minor track from the just-released PROMISED LAND album (APL1-0873).

The single was also a suc­cess in America, with My Boy peaking at #17 on the Cash Box Top 100 and reaching the Top 20 on both Bill­board’s pop and country charts.

 

Export Only Record: photo of a-side of full record of RCA 2458EX, "My Boy."
This is the grey label pressing of RCA Victor 2458EX, My Boy / Loving Arm. It was man­u­fac­tured in the US ex­pressly for ex­porting to the UK. The usual color for a reg­ular RCA single or album in 1974 was orange.

“My Boy” the export-only record

But RCA 2458 had been re­leased at an in­op­por­tune time in the UK. Ac­cording to sev­eral web­sites, this was due to labor is­sues in Eng­land, RCA there was un­able to keep up with the de­mands for man­u­fac­turing records. But ac­cording to the au­thors of Elvis UK it wasn’t labor at all:

“It has been sug­gested that the reason RCA im­ported [these records] was that RCA’s UK plant in Wash­ington, Tyne and Wear was on strike at the time, or that it was be­cause of the world­wide shortage of vinyl which forced com­pa­nies to ra­tio­nalise pro­duc­tion. How­ever, we have it on good au­thority that it was pro­duc­tion prob­lems at Wash­ington which mainly ac­counted for the fact that most copies avail­able in the UK were pressed in America.” 3

What­ever the reason, RCA UK had to use other com­pa­nies to man­u­fac­ture a por­tion of its product for its market. RCA US man­u­fac­tured sev­eral records es­pe­cially for ex­port to the UK. One of these records was 2458EX. This spe­cial record used the same cat­alog number as the UK record but with an “EX” suffix, the “EX” standing for ex­port. It also fea­tured gray la­bels in­stead of or­ange. 4

What is known about this record?

Decades later and con­fu­sion still sur­rounds 2458EX, some of which I ad­dress in this ar­ticle. It has at­tracted at­ten­tion from col­lec­tors since it first ap­peared in a price guide years ago, where it was listed with an ab­surdly in­flated value at­tached to it. Here is what we know for certain:

•  All copies were pressed in Indianapolis
•  All copies have grey labels.

All known copies have “RCA Victor 2458A 1” stamped into the A-side trail-off area and “RCA Victor 2458B 1” stamped into the B-side trail-off area. (Other press­ings with dif­ferent num­bers could exist.)

While the exact number of copies that were made is not known, it is known that it is not a par­tic­u­larly rare record. But it is a bit more dif­fi­cult to find than other Elvis records of that period.

There are two other items as­so­ci­ated with 2458EX:

•  a paper sleeve
•  a paper insert

Col­lec­tors have known about the in­sert for years but the sleeve was only re­cently brought to my at­ten­tion by one of the con­trib­u­tors to this ar­ticle, Dave Reynolds (Sven­gali of Elvis Rare Records).

Both items re­quire an explanation.

 

Export Only Record: photo of a-side of RCA 2458EX, "My Boy," in special US-made company sleeve.

Export Only Record: photo of b-side of RCA 2458EX, "My Boy," in special US-made company sleeve.
This is the grey label 2458EX housed in an RCA com­pany sleeve. Both this record and this sleeve were man­u­fac­tured in the US and ex­ported to the UK. The sleeve has “Ptd. in U.S.A.” printed in the lower right corner on one side and “21-107-1 PT2” in the lower right corner on the other side.

The export sleeve

In the UK, the generic RCA com­pany sleeve of the 1970s had “RCA” in or­ange let­ters against a green back­ground on the top half of both sides with “RCA” in green let­ters against a white back­ground on the bottom half. “Made in Eng­land” was printed on the back.

RCA US man­u­fac­tured a ver­sion of this sleeve that was shipped with copies of 2458EX. It has the same de­sign and color scheme but has “Ptd. in U.S.A.” on one side and “21-107-1 PT2” on the other side.

The latter is a com­pany iden­ti­fi­ca­tion number—a cat­alog number—and is sim­ilar to the num­bers found on the paper inner sleeves used in US-manufactured Elvis LP al­bums in the ’60s and ’70s.

At least one con­trib­utor to this ar­ticle be­lieves that this sleeve was man­u­fac­tured ex­pressly for 24578EX. If that is so, then its im­por­tance to Elvis col­lec­tors is ob­vious. But I have seen ad­ver­tise­ments for other RCA export-only records that in­cluded this sleeve.

I have seen a few, but not many. This could mean that there were many more sleeves man­u­fac­tured than copies of 2458EX. So, while it ap­pears to be dif­fi­cult to find, this sleeve may not be “rare” nor may it be ex­clu­sive to the Elvis record. 5

 

Export Only Record: photo of insert for RCA 2458EX, "My Boy."
This is the one-page in­sert with black and green print on the front and a blank white back­side. It is as­so­ci­ated with 2458EX but its au­then­ticity has been ques­tioned for years.

The export insert

Col­lecting 2458EX is a Big Deal among some col­lec­tors be­cause of the ex­is­tence of a one-page in­sert as­so­ci­ated with the record. And I say “as­so­ci­ated with” in­stead of “be­longing with” be­cause the au­then­ticity of this item has been dis­puted for decades.

I ad­dress the ar­gu­ments for and against the le­git­i­macy of this item in a sep­a­rate ar­ticle, “Mys­te­rious In­sert As­so­ci­ated With Export-Only ‘My Boy’ (RCA 2458EX Part 2).”

To read that ar­ticle, click here.

 

Export Only Record: photo of RCA UK company sleeve.

Export Only Record: photo of US-manufactured RCA company sleeve for use in UK.
The UK record on top is re­ferred to as a “solid center” record and is housed in a stan­dard com­pany sleeve for the time with “MADE IN ENGLAND” on one side. The UK record on the bottom is re­ferred to as a “knockout center” record but is housed in a com­pany sleeve that was man­u­fac­tured in the US.

Who should collect this record?

RCA Victor in the US man­u­fac­tured sev­eral Elvis records ex­pressly for ex­porting to other coun­tries in the 1950s and ’60s—notably to US mil­i­tary PX stores in West Germany.

While 2458EX is a unique item among Elvis records, its col­lectibility does not af­fect every Elvis collector.

You prob­ably need this record and the com­pany sleeve if:

•  you col­lect Elvis records man­u­fac­tured in the US, or
•  you col­lect Elvis records re­leased in the UK.

You prob­ably do not need this record or the sleeve if:

•  you col­lect Elvis records man­u­fac­tured in the UK, or
•  you col­lect Elvis records re­leased in the US.

 

Export Only Record: photo of RCA 2458EX "My Boy" with grey label.

Export Only Record: photo of RCA PB-10191 "My Boy" with orange label.
The grey label record is the spe­cial pressing of My Boy / Loving Arms man­u­fac­tured in the US for sale in the UK in 1974 (2458EX). The or­ange label is the reg­ular US pressing of My Boy / Thinking About You re­leased in 1975 (PB-10191).

The Avid Record Collector

While 2458EX is hardly a rare record, it is dif­fi­cult to find out­side of the UK. Pop­sike lists a mere three dozen copies as having sold on eBay over the past thir­teen years. That is a mi­nus­cule amount, av­er­aging one sale every four months. On Discogs, ten copies have sold during the past eight months.

Based on those Pop­sike and Discogs list­ings, here are the values I have as­signed each item:

The record

For 2018-2020, I found eleven copies of 2458EX in top con­di­tion but without the in­sert listed on Pop­sike as having sold on eBay. Prices paid ranged from $19 to $145 and all of the sellers were from the UK.

On Discogs, I found five NM copies without the in­sert listed as having sold in the past year. Prices paid ranged from $6.57 to $31.58 and all of the sellers were from the UK.

So, a re­al­istic value for the record without the com­pany sleeve and without the in­sert in the UK is $20-30. As non-UK buyers would need to add ap­prox­i­mately $15 to that price to cover the cost of ship­ping from the UK, the ef­fec­tive price for those col­lec­tors would be $35-50.

There is cur­rently one copy graded Mint with a com­pany sleeve (and it doesn’t say whether it’s the UK or the US sleeve) for sale on Discogs for £24.99. (ap­prox­i­mately $33) plus postage.

The sleeve

A few of the records listed on Pop­sike came with what ap­pears to be the US-made sleeve. As few collectors—and prob­ably even fewer dealers—are aware of the im­por­tance of this sleeve to the 2458EX record, it’s un­likely that many of the sellers have been men­tioning it in their ads. 

So, how valu­able is this generic, RCA company?

Is it worth $1?

Is it worth $10?

I don’t know …

The export-only ‘My Boy’ by Elvis Presley (RCA 2458EX) has a hugely in­flated value as­signed to it in some price guides, which also list a spe­cial in­sert that may be a fake. Click To Tweet

Export Only Record: 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)

 

Export Only: photo of Elvis in gold suit in 1957.

POSTSCRIPTUALLY, I want to thank the fol­lowing people for their con­tri­bu­tions to this ar­ticle (listed alphabetically):

Paul Alner (Elvis On Record)
Frank Daniels (Frik­tech)
Paul Dowling (World­wide Elvis)
Felix Gü­beli (Bootleg Elvis)
Craig LaPine (col­lec­taire ex­tra­or­di­naire)
Bernard Roughton (col­lec­taire extraordinaire)

Spe­cial thanks to Dave Reynolds for turning us all onto the weird com­pany sleeve man­u­fac­tured in the US for sale in the UK and for ar­guing with me over just about everything.


FOOTNOTES:

1   Fran­cois has an­other tie with Elvis: In 1967, he and Jacques Re­vaux wrote Comme d’ Habi­tude (trans­lated as “As Usual”). Paul Anka rewrote the lyrics and pub­lished the song as My Way.

2   Yes, you are in­ter­preting that state­ment cor­rectly: Burning Love failed to reach the Top 5 on the major UK sur­veys in 1972.

3   An­other ex­pla­na­tion for RCA UK needing product from RCA US can be found on the Elvis Records site and in­volves “se­vere en­ergy con­ser­va­tion im­posed by the UK gov­ern­ment” starting in De­cember 1973. This was fol­lowed by a na­tional min­er’s strike in Feb­ruary 1974: “This dis­rup­tion in the in­dustry is di­rectly at­trib­uted to the US man­u­fac­turing of this re­lease for dis­tri­b­u­tion in the UK.”

4   The British record RCA Victor 2458 was pressed with both or­ange la­bels (RCA) and tan la­bels (CBS). Both records can be found with small, LP-sized spindle holes and the normal large holes with a knockout center.

5   RCA man­u­fac­tured and shipped other export-only sin­gles to Eng­land during this time. I con­tacted record re­searcher ex­tra­or­di­naire Frank Daniels, prob­ably the only person I know who gets his ya-ya’s off doing record re­search more than I do! This is what he had to say:

“First of all, I have seen on other web­sites the al­le­ga­tion that the British gov­ern­ment im­posed such se­vere aus­terity mea­sures during the oil crisis (which began in Oc­tober 1973) that there was no vinyl pro­duc­tion from De­cember 1973 to March 1974. That is simply false. The De­cember 22, 1973, issue of Bill­board re­ported that vinyl pro­duc­tion was slowed for all pressing plants, but that the record com­pa­nies were ba­si­cally dealing with the problem. In par­tic­ular, the ar­ticle stated that RCA Victor was down to 85% of their usual pro­duc­tion levels, but they were also using other local plants for con­tract press­ings and were importing.

I know of at least three David Bowie sin­gles and two sin­gles from Sweet that ap­pear as US export-only press­ings for the UK. While some of these can be found in the same RCA Victor com­pany sleeve (“Ptd. In U.S.A.”), most of them seem to have come in stan­dard US sleeves. As for the My Boy in­sert, I cannot con­firm its au­then­ticity, but many Elvis col­lec­tors seem to swear by it. Anyway, I don’t know of any such in­serts for the Sweet or Bowie sin­gles. Bowie’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Sui­cide single was quite pop­ular in the UK, so for the in­sert to be used for ID pur­poses, it would seem to me that we’d hear about those, too.”

To read the Bill­board ar­ticle that Frank cites, click here then scroll back to page 1 and read “LP Im­ports Ad­vance Sharply in U.K.”

 

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Ok Big N, here’s three, no make that four, facts. Oh hell, make it five:

1) “Polk Salad Annie” is the greatest ’70s rocker The King ever did.
2) The unedited, 8:44 ver­sion of “Merry Christmas Baby” is the greatest song The King ever recorded.
3) “My Boy” in­sert is legit.
4) You’re crazy as a loon and I love ya!
5) Tom Jones is the second greatest pop/rock singer/entertainer.

Can’t wait till our next argument!

Now, put that in your pipe & smoke it ;)

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