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.
“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.
“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.
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
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, “Valuable Insert Associated With Elvis Presley’s ‘My Boy’ May Be Bootleg.”
To read that article, click here.
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.
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:
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.
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
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)
This is one of four articles that address the export-only singles of 1974. The other three are:
• “Why Did RCA Have to Export David Bowie Records to England in the ’70s?” addresses the ten records known to have been manufactured in the US exclusively for sale in the UK, focusing on three by David Bowie.
• “Mysterious Insert Associated with Export-Only My Boy” addresses a sheet of paper with “Elvis Presley / My Boy” printed on one side that some collectors believe is associated with RCA 2458EX.
• “British Pressings of Elvis Presley’s My Boy Are Common in the UK” addresses the various versions of RCA 2458 manufactured by or for RCA in England at the same time they were importing copies from the US.
There is some overlapping and redundancy of the information in these articles.
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.
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.”