Elvis BlueHawaii Publicity photo girls 1 1000

Can’t Help Falling In Love compact 33 single and picture sleeve

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.)

 

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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

 

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Sug­gested Near Mint value for the pic­ture sleeve is $3,000-6,000.

 

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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.

 

Elvis BlueHawaii Publicity photo girls 1 1000

FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is a pub­licity shot for the 1961 movie Blue Hawaii.

 

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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 …

 


FOOTNOTES:

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.

 

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