a new kind of hit re-run with elvis presley

Es­ti­mated reading time is 7 minutes.

AFTER AC­QUIRING ELVIS in No­vember 1955, RCA Victor set about reis­suing the five sin­gles that Presley had re­leased on Sun Records. Reis­suing the then-current hit re-run “I Forgot To Re­member To Forget” / “Mys­tery Train” was the company’s top pri­ority. Exactly when those four records were is­sued has long been a matter of debate.

The exact dates for the re­lease of the records are un­known. Two pieces of RCA Victor pa­per­work from that time have been found. The first is an RCA Victor Record Bul­letin sent to com­pany rep­re­sen­ta­tives and dated De­cember 19, 1955. This memo ap­prises the reps of the “ex­cel­lent re­ac­tion” to the first Victor Presley single and alerts them to the im­mi­nent re­lease of four more Presley platters. 

This ar­ticle is one in a se­ries about col­lecting Elvis records from late 1955 and early ’56.

But it does not tell us ex­actly when those four records would be man­u­fac­tured let alone shipped. That 6357, I Forgot To Re­member To Forget / Mys­tery Train, had been re­leased prior to De­cember 19, 1955, was known; that the four other sin­gles hadn’t been re­leased by then was not known for a long time.

The second is an RCA Victor in-house ship­ping no­tice for these four records. Ac­cording to it, they were not shipped to the reps until late Jan­uary 1956. I also checked all the is­sues of Bill­board and Cash Box for in­for­ma­tion about these four sin­gles. As for these records on the charts, only one of the eight sides made an appearance.

All of these things are ad­dressed below.

 

hit re-run: RCA Victor Record Bulletin from December 19, 1955, titled "New Kind of Hit Re-Run!"
This is the RCA Victor Record Bul­letin from De­cember 19, 1955, ti­tled “New Kind of Hit Re-Run!” It ad­dresses RCA Vic­tor’s reis­sues of the Elvis Presley Sun singles.

New kind of hit re-run!

The RCA Victor Record Bul­letin dated De­cember 19, 1955, was sent to com­pany rep­re­sen­ta­tives. The memo’s title was “New Kind Of Hit Re-Run!” and ad­dressed their ac­qui­si­tion of the “most talked-about new record per­son­ality” and the com­pa­ny’s im­me­diate plans.

The memo was signed by John Y. Burgess, Jr., Manager/Sales and Promotion/Single Record De­part­ment. Here is the full text of that memo with a few styl­istic al­ter­ations for this blog:

“Fol­lowing the ex­cel­lent re­ac­tion to our first Elvis Presley re­lease, I Forgot To Re­member To Forget and Mys­tery Train, we are im­me­di­ately making avail­able four other Presley re­leases from Sun label. They are . . .

That’s All Right                                                                           20-6380
Blue Moon Of Ken­tucky                                                            47-6380

Good Rockin’ Tonight                                                                20-6381
I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine                                        47-6381

Milkcow Blues Boogie                                                               20-6382
You’re A Heart­breaker                                                              47-6382

Baby Let’s Play House                                                              20-6383
I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone                                          47-6383

Re­member these top per­for­mances by the ‘Most talked-about new record per­son­ality’ had only spotty dis­tri­b­u­tion on Sun. With the cur­rent ex­cite­ment about Presley you should be able to pick up plenty of plus-business—if you stock and sell these sides.

Use the Hit Rerun Order Form to order, and don’t un­der­es­ti­mate on quan­tity! If Elvis Presley has any per­for­mance or sales his­tory in your ter­ri­tory, you have the promise of sure turnover on these four bonus hits!”

So, as of De­cember 19, 1955, I Forgot To Re­member To Forget / Mys­tery Train was doing well and RCA’s in­ten­tion was to make avail­able the four other Presley Sun sin­gles avail­able as Victor sin­gles “im­me­di­ately.”

 

hit re-run: photo of Austin Butler as Elvis Presley concert in Baz Luhrmann's 2022 biopic ELVIS.
Yes, Baz Luhrmann played fast and loose with facts and chronology in his movie. Most of the changes he made were un­nec­es­sary to telling Presley’s story. A plainly fac­tual ver­sion of the movie would have main­tained the same level of ex­cite­ment and en­gage­ment as the BS ver­sion we all saw.

Other RCA records

I checked all the is­sues of Bill­board and Cash Box for the last three weeks of De­cember 1955 and all of Jan­uary 1956 but found no men­tion of the re­lease of these records. I did find re­views of sev­eral other RCA Victor records with cat­alog num­bers just be­fore and after the Presley num­bers (6380 through 6383):

RCA Victor 6378, Joel Grey’s Slow And Easy / Lies, Honey, Lies, was re­viewed on Jan­uary 14, 1956.

RCA Victor 6379, Hank Snow’s These Hands / I’m Moving In, was re­viewed on Jan­uary 7, 1956.

RCA Victor 6385, Sophia Loren’s Woman Of The River / Nyves, was re­viewed on Jan­uary 21, 1956.

RCA Victor 6386, the Wild­cats’ Keep Talkin’ / Beatin’ On A Rug, was re­viewed on Jan­uary 14, 1956.

These dates in­di­cate one of two things: that these records were re­leased com­mer­cially during the final week of De­cember 1955 or that copies were sent to Bill­board for re­view pur­poses during the final week of De­cember 1955.

Nor­mally, the seven records with cat­alog num­bers be­tween 6378 and 6385 would have been re­leased at the same time. But, of course, not much was normal about the way RCA Victor han­dled Elvis Presley, then or now.

 

hit re-run: RCA Victor listing notice dated January 23, 1956.
This is the RCA Victor listing no­tice dated Jan­uary 23, 1956. It ad­dresses ship­ping the reis­sues of Presley’s first four Sun singles.

Shipping notices

Elvis col­lector Keith Flynn ac­quired moun­tains of RCA Victor doc­u­men­ta­tion about their Presley re­leases. He has made most of it avail­able on his Elvis Presley Pages site. Ac­cording to the com­pany shop­ping no­tice (below), RCA Victor 6380, 6381, 6382, and 6383 were shipped on Jan­uary 23, 1956.

As this took place more than four weeks after the Burgess bul­letin from De­cember 19 (above), I don’t think Jan­uary 23 qual­i­fies as “im­me­di­ately.” Nonethe­less, I be­lieve we can safely as­sume that these records ar­rived in stores for sale to record buyers during the final days of Jan­uary 1956.

 
 

hit re-run: photo of female fans at Elvis Presley concert in Baz Luhrmann's 2022 biopic ELVIS.
For ex­ample, Elvis’ first ap­pear­ance on the Louisiana Hayride on Oc­tober 16, 1954, re­ceived a luke­warm but pos­i­tive re­sponse from the au­di­ence. In Luhrmann’s ver­sion of his­tory, Elvis causes every­thing from epipha­nies to or­gasms among the au­di­ence! Of course, I didn’t give a hoot be­cause Austin Butler’s ver­sion of the young singer “dis­cov­ering” him­self on stage was re­mark­able acting and looked real!

Hot as a pistol!

But the story is not over! I men­tioned that one of the eight sides from the four Elvis records made the pop charts. On March 12, 1956, Baby Let’s Play House de­buted at #12 on the Bill­board C&W Best Sellers In Stores survey. It dropped off that chart only to re­turn for three more weeks in the Top 20 during April and May 1956.

This hap­pened after the ar­ticle “A Winnah—Presley Hot As $1 Pistol On Victor” ap­peared in the March 3, 1956, issue of Bill­board. It ad­dressed the amazing suc­cess that RCA Victor was having in selling all six Presley platters:

“The hottest artist on the RCA Victor label this week has been none other than the amazin’, young country war­bler, Elvis Presley, who has been on the label for only about two months.

Presley has six sin­gles in the com­pany’s list of top 25 best sellers, five of which had been is­sued pre­vi­ously on the Sun label where they en­joyed excellent mileage be­fore being taken over by Victor. The cou­pling of Heart­break Hotel and I Was the One, cut by Victor, is the la­bel’s #2 seller, right be­hind Perry Co­mo’s Juke Box Baby. Ac­tion ap­pears to be about equal on the two sides.

Next for Presley, #9 seller on the label, is an­other two-sider orig­i­nally on Sun, of Mys­tery Train and I Forgot to Remember. #14 is Good Rockin Tonight. #15 is Baby, Let’s Play House. #21 is That’s All Right, which was Pres­ley’s very first re­lease on Sun. Vic­tor’s #23 is Milk Cow Blue Boogie.”

So, de­spite Baby Let’s Play House being out­sold by Good Rockin’ Tonight, it was the only one of the eight sides that found its way onto a na­tional chart.

This ar­ticle about ‘A New Kind of Hit Re-run’ is one in a se­ries about col­lecting Elvis records from late 1955 and early ’56. Click To Tweet

hit re-run: photo of Austin Butler as Elvis Presley concert in Baz Luhrmann's 2022 biopic ELVIS.

FEA­TURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page was cropped from this photo of Austin Butler por­traying Elvis Presley per­forming Baby Let’s Play House in the 2022 movie Elvis.

Elvis GoldSuitPostscriptually

The first four­teen ar­ti­cles in this se­ries are al­most com­pleted and listed below with links to each. Should you ac­cess one of these ar­ti­cles and re­ceive an Error Page, try back a week later.

01  RCA Vic­tor’s “SPDSeries of Spe­cialty Records
02  What Was the First Elvis Record That RCA Victor Released?
03  The Biggest Country & Western Record News of 1955
04  The First RCA Elvis Record Was “I Forgot to Re­member to Forget”
05  The RCA Victor Car­toon Pic­ture Sleeves of the ’50s
06  The Elvis “This Is His Life” Car­toon Pic­ture Sleeve
07  RCA Victor 47-6357 Bootleg Pic­ture Sleeves
08  The “Record Bul­letin” Pic­ture Sleeve for RCA’s First Elvis Record Is a Fake
09  Did RCA Re­lease Other Ver­sions of Elvis’ Songs to Com­pete With Elvis’ Records?
10  A New Kind of Hit Re-run With Elvis Presley
11  Was “E-Z Pop Pro­gram­ming 5” the First LP to Fea­ture an Elvis Track?
12  Was “E-Z Country Pro­gram­ming 2” the First LP to Fea­ture an Elvis Track?
13  Was SPD-15 the First EP to Fea­ture an Elvis Track?
14  Is the Country & Western Jukebox Pro­mo­tion Kit a Fake?

More ar­ti­cles ad­dressing the early RCA Victor re­leases are planned. Each will con­tain the block­quote, “This ar­ticle is one in a se­ries about col­lecting Elvis records from late 1955 and early ’56,” like the one at the be­gin­ning of this article.

To find all the ar­ti­cles in the se­ries, copy the block­quote, paste it into the Find op­tion (the mag­ni­fying glass in the nav­i­ga­tion bar at the top of each page), and then press Re­turn or Enter on your keyboard.

Fi­nally, thanks to Paul Combs (Elvis Records), Frank Daniels (Frik­tech), Dave Reynolds (Elvis Rare Records), and Joe Spera (Elvis Presley Tapes) for their input in some or all of these articles.

 


 

1 thought on “a new kind of hit re-run with elvis presley”

  1. I would ADD the fol­lowing single re­leases to com­plete sin­gles that cov­ered Elvis be­tween 1954-1955./
    Thats All Right-Marty Rob­bins Columbia-4-21351 (1954)
    I Forgot To Re­member To Forget-Jack Daniels Gateway-1146 (1955)
    I Forgot To Re­member To Forget-Toni Arden RCA Victor-6346 (1955)
    Mys­tery Train -the Tur­tles RCA Victor-6356
    Thank you

    Reply

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