Elvis LotOfAlbums Christmas 1500 crop

just how many elvis albums have been released?

WHILE I CONTINUE TO SLAVE AWAY over the rewriting of the nine pre­vi­ously pub­lished ar­ti­cles (with discogra­phies and price guides) for the Elvis Gold Stan­dard Se­ries cat­alog, I do oc­ca­sion­ally take a break and pay at­ten­tion to other things. Such as Quora. The ques­tion that just ap­peared there is “How many Elvis al­bums are there.” Be­lieve it or not, that is a rather dif­fi­cult ques­tion to an­swer.

The topic was made more dif­fi­cult by the fact that the first person to at­tempt to an­swer the ques­tion dragged sales fig­ures into his an­swer. So, my an­swer ad­dressed the ac­tual ques­tion that the first an­swer’s mis­in­for­ma­tion.

Anyone who was old enough in 1977-1978 and was paying at­ten­tion to the brouhaha on the media con­cerning the de­mand for Elvis Presley records in just about every corner of the world in the wake of the singer’s death in Au­gust 1977 should be as­tounded that RCA has ap­par­ently lost all the proof of those sales. And if they could lose that, be­lieving that they lost pa­per­work from the ’50s and the ’60s is pretty damn easy.

Now here is my an­swer to the Quora ques­tion (and it is nei­ther well-researched nor in­tended to be de­fin­i­tive):

 

Elvis ChristmasAlbum LOC 1035 600

Elvis’ Christmas Album was orig­i­nally is­sued in 1957 as RCA Victor LOC-1035. This was a gor­geous package for a rock & roll album: A gate­fold jacket that opened like a book to a set of pages with full-color photos pro­moting the Jail­house Rock movie. De­spite it’s being the most fa­mous ver­sion of Elvis’ Christmas Album, sales were prob­ably under 500,000 be­fore it was reis­sued in 1959 with a new jacket and a new cat­alog number.

Likely more than 400

Here are a six facts re­garding Elvis Presley al­bums in the US that ad­dress the orig­inal Quora ques­tion “How many Elvis al­bums are there?” and the data given by the first (and thus far) only other an­swer of­fered to that ques­tion:

1.  The total number of all-Elvis alums is­sued in the US be­tween 1956 and 2019 is well over 300 and may likely be over 400. (I have heard others spec­u­late that it tops 500.)

2.  No one knows the exact number of units that all these al­bums have sold, and that in­cludes the RCA, the RIAA, and the Elvis Presley Es­tate.

3.  Of those 300–400 al­bums, only 85 have been cer­ti­fied by the RIAA for in­di­vidual sales of more than 500,000 units. It is these 85 ti­tles that ac­count for the 139,000,000 figure that you read in 99% of the ar­ti­cles on the in­ternet.

4.  RCA has re­put­edly lost thou­sands of pages of doc­u­men­ta­tion of Presley’s sales over the years, going back to 1956. This ap­par­ently in­cludes doc­u­men­ta­tion of the sales of tens of mil­lions of units fol­lowing his death in 1977.

5.  The RIAA’s figure of 139,000,000 only mea­sures the sales that RCA can doc­u­ment of those 85 ti­tles, so millions—maybe tens of millions—of sales for the “of­fi­cial” tally for those 85 ti­tles are un­ac­counted for.

6.  Most of the ar­ti­cles written about Elvis’s album sales that can be found on the in­ternet were written by people who don’t know some or most or all of the six facts listed here.

My boy my boy, but I haven’t a clue as to what kind of re­sponses my an­swer is going to gen­erate if any at all. If you are in­ter­ested in fol­lowing them, click HERE.

 

Elvis ChristmasAlbum LPM 1951 1959 600

Elvis ChristmasAlbum CAL 2428 600

This is the first reissue and repack­aging of the twelve tracks from Elvis’ Christmas Album (RCA Victor LOC-1035, above). This ver­sion was is­sued in 1959 and re­mained in print until 1969. Com­bined with LOC-1037, this ver­sion sold more than 3,000,000 copies in the US. In 1970, it was re­placed by an­other album with the same title but with a slightly dif­ferent track line-up. This was re­leased on their Camden budget im­print (CAL-2428). In 1975, RCA leased this title to the biggest man­u­fac­turer of low-priced budget records in the world, Pick­wick Records. Be­tween the Camden and Pick­wick press­ings, this ver­sion of the album sold more than 10,000,000 copies in the US.

This will probably get sorted out

So, we’re not cer­tain of ex­actly how many Elvis al­bums have been re­leased in the US and we’re not even ex­actly cer­tain what to count. Are LOC-1035 and LPM-1951 the same album or dif­ferent al­bums? This will prob­ably get sorted out as there are a lot of in­ter­ested Elvis fans on the in­ternet and many of them are re­searching the topic.

As for the total number of records that Elvis has sold both do­mes­ti­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally, that will al­most cer­tainly not be known. Un­less, of course, Wholly Grom­mett in Heaven has been keeping track of Elvis’s ca­reer sales and has copies of the pa­per­work that RCA lost.

This is pos­sible as I know He was a big Elvis fan. But un­less He speakeths unto me the Truth, the best we hu­mans can do is keep making our es­ti­mates more ac­cu­rate.

 

Elvis LotOfAlbums Christmas 1000

FEATURED IMAGE: I found the photo at the top of this page as part of the ar­ticle “Ghosts Of Christmas Past” on the Herc’s Hide­away web­site. In his ar­ticle, Herc wrote:

“Like alu­minum trees glazed with shiny tinsel and stock­ings filled with or­anges as well as as­sorted nuts still in their shell, Elvis’s Blue Christmas has been a fix­ture of my Christmas mem­o­ries for much of my life and he’s been a fix­ture in the Christmas Music sec­tion of the record store for much much longer as ELVIS’ CHRISTMAS ALBUM was first re­leased in 1957 and was later fol­lowed by ELVIS SINGS THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF CHRISTMAS in 1971.

And the songs on those al­bums have been repack­aged, re­mas­tered and reis­sued with al­ter­nate ver­sions and up­dated ad­di­tional in­stru­men­ta­tion for going on sixty years now. The gallery of cover art above is just the tip of the ice­berg as far as Elvis Presley Christmas music al­bums that have been re­leased through the years.” 1

He re­views the re­cent ELVIS CHRISTMAS WITH THE ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA album in both its “normal” and its deluxe edi­tions. Edge of cyn­i­cism re­quired by so many re­leases from RCA/Sony. To read the com­plete re­views, click HERE.

 

Elvis goldsuit 600

POSTSCRIPTUALLY, to give you an ex­ample of how clever and re­dun­dant RCA’s re­cy­cling of Presley Product has been, listen to this: Elvis recorded a total of twenty Christmas songs in his ca­reer: eight in 1957, one in 1966, and eleven in 1971. RCA has man­aged to package and repackage and repackage the repack­ages into at least sev­en­teen al­bums in the US. Of those, eleven have been cer­ti­fied for Gold, Plat­inum, or Di­a­mond Record Awards for 27,000,000 sales.

 

The number of all-Elvis LP and CD al­bums is­sued in the US be­tween 1956 and 2019 is well over 300 and may be over 400. Click To Tweet

 

 

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Just a men­tion of Elvis Christmas with the RPO. Last year sales of this album were pretty poor and it did not resur­face in the charts this year which is strange for an Elvis Christmas album. Per­haps with only 21 songs recorded everyone who wants an Elvis Christmas album has got one.

That is why he is in third place to Garth Brooks in the RIAA rankings.Very annoying.Hope you have a great 2020.

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