CAN’T HELP FALLING IN LOVE was Elvis’ seventh single of the new decade, and was a worldwide smash—or at least one side of this record was a hit somewhere. At this time (1961–1962), RCA Victor was issuing Presley’s new singles in the US as both standard 45s and as 33⅓ rpm records. The latter was a new format that the company dubbed Compact 33 Singles. Can’t Help Falling In Love / Rock-A-Hula Baby was one of those.
All five of these Compact 33 Singles are rather rare records and their picture sleeves are even rarer! This is not something that can be said about many Presley records that were commercially released by RCA. These records are also very poorly understood as collectables by most buyers and sellers.
The Compact 33s are an important part of any Elvis Presley collection and the Can’t Help Falling In Love / Rock-A-Hula Baby single and picture sleeve should be on every Elvis collectors want-list.
Despite the fact that the market for Presley platters is considered “dead” by many (unenlightened? cynical?) wheelers and dealers, collectors should keep in mind a few points:
• Compact-33 records command prices up to several hundred times as much as their 45 rpm counterparts!
• Compact-33 picture sleeves are even rarer and more valuable than the records!
In fact, the Compact-33 picture sleeves are among the most valuable of all Elvis Presley record-related collectables! The rarest sleeves sell for thousands of dollars even in less than NM condition.
In fact, should one want to buy a copy of the record and picture sleeve to Can’t Help Falling In Love / Rock-A-Hula Baby in NM condition today, one might find the values listed here rather conservative compared to what a seller of such collectables would demand.
(Actually, in England, the record was flipped and Rock-A-Hula Baby reached #1 on all of the weekly surveys there! On some charts, the record was listed as a double-A-sided hit.)
Suggested Near Mint value for the record is $1,000-2,000.
Can’t Help Falling In Love compact 33 single
Released in October 1961, RCA Victor 37-7968, Can’t Help Falling In Love / Rock-A-Hula Baby, was the fourth Presley title released as a compact 33 single and picture sleeve. RCA was realizing that the Compact-33 was not long for this world or its marketplace. The press run was dramatically lower and this record is considerably rarer and more valuable the preceding three above.
The record and the picture sleeve are listed and valued separately. All values represent copies of the record and the sleeve in Near Mint (NM) condition. The values that I have assigned are estimates based on recent sales reported on the Popsike and Collectors Frenzy websites combined with forty years of experience. 1
Variations for this label exist: each RCA pressing plant used local printers for their labels. Therefore, each plant’s records can usually be identified by the peculiarities of each plant’s label. Most of the differences are in type-face and the sizing of that type.
There are other differences: copies can be found with or without RCA Victor’s “New Orthophonic High Fidelity” motto. At this time, there is no established difference in the value between the two pressings. 2
Suggested Near Mint value for the picture sleeve is $3,000-6,000.
Later orders for the record may have been shipped in a sleeve like the one above. Sleeves of this nature—uncoated paper with a die-cut hole and the record company’s name or logo—are often referred to as ‘factory sleeves.’ They have only nominal value to most collectors.
Both the record and the picture sleeve for the Can’t Help Falling In Love / Rock-A-Hula Baby Compact 33 Single are considerably rarer and consequently considerably more valuable than the previous, His Latest Flame / Little Sister.
FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is a publicity shot for the 1961 movie Blue Hawaii.
POSTSCRIPTUALLY, many Elvis collectors shunt these records to the side, considering them extras as they are not part of Presley’s standard catalog of 78 and 45 rpm singles and EPs and 33⅓ rpm LPs. But that is a mistake: these were commercially released and apparently sold tens of thousands of copies.
They are an important part of any basic Elvis Presley collection. The Rock-A-Hula Baby / Can’t Help Falling In Love compact 33 single and picture sleeve should be on every Elvis collectors want-list . . .
1 Should you do some research on Popsike or Collectors Frenzy, you will see that regardless of the grades given the items, the photos indicate that few if any of the sleeves are truly NM. I have to assume that many of the records are also over-graded, hence the relatively modest prices fetched for these items on eBay and elsewhere on the Internet.
2 This can be also be done by looking at the identifying code of each plant that is etched into the trail-off vinyl (or ‘dead wax’ among older, aging, decrepit collectors like myself) of each record.