just how many elvis albums have been released?

Es­ti­mated reading time is 5 min­utes.

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. 

This ar­ticle is being up­dated in April 2021. Data from 2019 is struck through with the up­dated data fol­lowing one line below the old data.

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 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.)

     The total number of all-Elvis alums is­sued in the US be­tween 1956 and 2020 is over 400 and may ap­proach 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.

     Of those 400–500 al­bums, only 84 have been cer­ti­fied by the RIAA for in­di­vidual sales of more than 500,000 units. It is these 84 ti­tles that ac­count for the RIAA fig­ures that you read in most 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.

      The RIAA’s figure of 139,000,000 only mea­sures the sales that RCA can doc­u­ment of those 84 ti­tles, so millions—maybe tens of millions—of sales for the “of­fi­cial” tally for those 84 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 facts listed above.

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, someone in Heaven has been keeping track of Elvis’s ca­reer sales and has copies of the pa­per­work that RCA lost and wishes to bless we hu­mans with that data.

Alas, 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



6 thoughts on “just how many elvis albums have been released?”

  1. 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.

    • DG

      The LP sales charts have baf­fled me for decades. In the wake of Elvis’s death in 1977, I read ar­ticle after ar­ticle about RCA having pressing plants man­u­fac­turing the Moody Blue album 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, month-after-month. Moody Blue ap­pears to have been the biggest selling album in the world but it never made it to #1 on Bill­board.

      Elvis has al­bums that made the Top 10 but have never been cer­ti­fied Gold yet he has al­bums that failed to make the Top 100 yet are cer­ti­fied Plat­inum. Go figger . . .

      Rock­ahula, baby!


  2. The Moody Blue LP did get to no.1 on Bill­board’s Country Album Chart for ten weeks.

    The next LP, Elvis In Con­cert (double LP), while get­ting into Bill­board’s Top 10 on the reg­ular Top 200, also got to #1 on Country Album Chart (five weeks).

    So, for the year 1977, Presley had fif­teen weeks at #1 in that Country Chart.

    • COLIN

      Thanks for the comment!

      Ac­cording to RCA, the In­di­anapolis plant was pressing 250,000 copies of the Moody Blue album seven days a week for months. Ac­cording to many sources at the time—and I paid at­ten­tion to news re­leases in Bill­board, Cash Box, Record World, and Va­riety at the time—every record was selling out of every store on a daily basis for months.

      So Moody Blue should have been #1 on the pop LP charts and #1 on the country LP chart for weeks and weeks!

      Also, if In­di­anapolis was pressing 1,750,000 copies per week for months, why has it only been cer­ti­fied by the RIAA for 2,000,000 sales? It ap­par­ently sold that many copies in a few weeks and then kept on selling for months and months!

      Alas, we will prob­ably never know the an­swer to these questions ...

      Rock­ahula, baby!



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