I FEEL SO BAD was Elvis’ fifth single of the new decade, and was a worldwide smash—or at least it or the flip-side was a smash somewhere. At this time (1961–62), RCA Victor was issuing Presley’s new singles in the US as both standard 45 rpm records and also as 33⅓ rpm records. The latter was a new format that the company dubbed Compact 33 Singles. I Feel So Bad / Wild In The Country was one of these.
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.
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!
The Compact 33s are an important part of any Elvis Presley collection and the I Feel So Bad / Wild In The Country single and picture sleeve should be on every Elvis collectors want-list.
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 I Feel So Bad / Wild In The Country in NM condition today, one might find the values listed here rather conservative compared to what a seller of such collectables would demand.
Suggested NM value for the record is $300-400.
Suggested NM value for the picture sleeve is $1,000-1,500.
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.
Compact 33 single
Released in May 1961, RCA Victor 37-7880, I Feel So Bad / Wild In The Country, was the second Presley title released as a compact 33 single and picture sleeve and RCA’s expectations were till so this still had a relative good-sized press run, if not as confident a pressing as Surrender / Lonely Man.
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 record exist: As each RCA pressing plant used local printers for their labels, 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
Both the record and the picture sleeve for the I Feel So Bad / Wild In The Country Compact 33 Single are considerably rarer and consequently considerably more valuable than the first Surrender / Lonely Man.
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 and the I Feel So Bad / Wild In The Country compact 33 single and picture sleeve should be on every Elvis collectors want-list.
Finally, Wild In The Country is a soundtrack record, being the title of his current movie in early 1961. It is an excellent side, although one that one would hardly think of as A-side material. Yet that didn’t stop the British: for some inexplicable reason, in England, the record was flipped and Wild In The Country became the featured side. It reached #1 on at least one of the weekly UK charts .
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.