StaxRecords Memphis 1200

were elvis’ double-sided hits of the ’70s two hits or one?

FROM ELVIS PRESLEY’S FIRST RECORD in 1954 through 1968, the major na­tional pop charts were tal­lied in such a way that both sides of a single could make the chart as in­di­vidual hits in­de­pen­dent of one an­other. This greatly ben­e­fited Elvis, as his sin­gles usu­ally car­ried two strong sides, each ca­pable of being an A-side. This was def­i­nitely not a uni­versal prac­tice in the music busi­ness at the time.

Of the pub­li­ca­tions in America that doc­u­mented the hit pa­rade via a weekly chart, the Bill­board Hot 100 was a strange brew that com­bined three very dif­ferent fac­tors:

•  the number of records sold in re­tail out­lets,
•  the number of plays on juke­boxes, and
•  the number of spins on the radio.

The exact weight each factor was given is not known, but B-sides of hot artists fared no­tice­ably better on Bill­board than on the sales-based charts of com­peting pub­li­ca­tions such as Cash Box and Record World. This would seem to imply that jukebox plays and air­play had a pro­nounced ef­fect on the ranking.

Be­cause of Pres­ley’s un­prece­dented pop­u­larity, he ben­e­fitted by this system and wound up with a lot of sec­ondary hits during his ca­reer. It also as­sisted sev­eral tracks from Pres­ley’s extended-play EP al­bums to make the Bill­board sin­gle’s survey while not showing up else­where.

At this point, in­ter­ested readers should click on over to  “Elvis Was The King Of The Double-Sided Hit” and read that ar­ticle for more in­for­ma­tion on Elvis’s double-sided hits of 1956 through 1968.

 

Elvis 1956 photo Wertheimer SteveAllen 600 crop

Elvis with Steve Allen meeting the spe­cial guest star to whom he would be singing his new single Hound Dog. De­spite the brouhaha that his per­forming the song had cre­ated on the Milton Berle Show, the new sin­gle’s flip-side was Don’t Be Cruel, which would sur­pass its A-side out in sales to be­come the biggest double-sided hit in his­tory.

Stop, look, and listen

In 1969, Bill­board stopped listing both sides of sin­gles sep­a­rately as in­di­vidual hits. For those few records where both sides re­ceived at­ten­tion from radio sta­tion pro­gram­mers, disc-jockeys, and record buyers, there was a new ranking system: Both sides were listed but they oc­cu­pied the same po­si­tion on the chart. That is, they were no longer listed sep­a­rately as in­di­vidual hits.

(This system is not the same system used by some weekly charts in the UK where some sin­gles were rec­og­nized as double A-sided sin­gles. There, both sides would oc­cupy the same chart po­si­tion due to the fact that each side was per­ceived as being equal in terms of pop­u­larity and sales. But that’s an­other story for an­other ar­ticle.)

The first Elvis record af­fected by this new ranking system was Don’t Cry, Daddy / Rub­ber­neckin’, re­leased in late ’69. Both sides were listed on the Hot 100 but both sides oc­cu­pied the same po­si­tion on the chart each week the record was on the chart. On the other na­tional weekly pop charts, only “Don’t Cry Daddy” was listed with no men­tion of “Rub­ber­neckin’.”

Be­cause the record reached #6, both Don’t Cry, Daddy and Rub­ber­neckin’ can be claimed by RCA and Elvis fans to have been le­git­i­mate Top 10 hits, even though few people ever heard the B-side on the radio in 1969.

I never heard it on the radio in North­eastern Penn­syl­vania in 1969 and it was a pleasant sur­prise when I got the record home and flipped it over and dis­cov­ered a cred­ible rocker in­stead of an­other lame movie recording.

 

Elvis Speedway photo NancySinatra 600 crop

In June 1968, Speedway with Elvis and Nancy Sinatra was re­leased to movie the­aters in the US. The single from the movie, Your Time Hasn’t Come Yet Baby / Let Your­self Go, was one of his best sound­track sin­gles in years. It was a double-sided hit on Bill­board, with both sides making the Hot 100 in­de­pen­dent of one an­other. But it wasn’t much of a double-sided hit as the two sides peaked at #72 and #71, re­spec­tively.

Which double-sided hits

The records below were double-sided hits on the Bill­board Hot 100 pop chart. The two songs from each record are fol­lowed by the peak po­si­tion they reached on that survey. Records that were double-sided hits on that mag­a­zine’s country & western sin­gles chart or in the UK but not on the Bill­board pop charts are not in­cluded.

I as­signed each of the record­ings a rating of A, B, or C. This rating is not for the overall quality of the recording but for its ap­pro­pri­ate­ness as the A-side of a single—its “hit-ness.” For ex­ample, I Re­ally Don’t Want To Know is an amazing recording and one of my fa­vorite Elvis sides, but I thought it was a ter­rible choice as a single in 1970.

Here are the rat­ings:

A  Ap­pro­priate for use as the A-side of a single
Ap­pro­priate for use as the flip-side of a single
C  Ap­pro­priate for use as an album track

The do­mestic sales fig­ures for each title are taken from Peter Gu­ral­nick and Ernst Jor­gensen’s Elvis – Day By Day: The De­fin­i­tive Record Of His Life And Musc. The es­ti­mates that follow them are mine.

For each record, I asked also two ques­tions:

Were both sides hits?

I want to know if Bill­board was jus­ti­fied in listing both sides in the same po­si­tion on the Hot 100. For most of the records below, they were not. With few ex­cep­tions, the A-side re­ceived 90 per­cent or more of the air­play and sales re­quests.

I noted how each side fared on the Bill­board country & western sin­gles chart, the Cash Box Top 100, and its peak po­si­tion on the im­por­tant week­lies in the UK (I re­ferred to Elvis UK for chart po­si­tions).

Was the right side the hit side?

I want to know if Elvis, Parker, or RCA Victor were cor­rect or off-the-wall with their se­lec­tion of which side of the record to pro­mote as the hit side. Usu­ally, the recording most likely to at­tract air­play and turn lis­teners into record buyers was se­lected as the A-side. Some­times, it was not. 

 

Elvis NBC 1968 standup 600

At the same time that Speedway was playing in the­aters in June 1968, Elvis was taping his first tele­vi­sion spe­cial for NBC. When it was broad­cast in De­cember, the spe­cial re­stored his artistic cred­i­bility and his com­mer­cial vi­a­bility. The spe­cial’s single, If I Can Dream / Edge Of Re­ality, was a dif­ferent kind of double-sided hit: the A-side was a major hit in many coun­tries but the B-side was an even bigger hit in a few coun­tries, no­tably Aus­tralia.

Picture sleeves

I se­lected a few pic­ture sleeves from var­ious coun­tries for each entry. I placed the Amer­ican pic­ture sleeve first fol­lowed by what­ever in­ter­esting vari­a­tions I could find. I only re­peated the Amer­ican de­sign if there was an al­ter­ation that caught my eye. I as­signed grades to each sleeve by its ef­fec­tive­ness as a medium for catching a po­ten­tial cus­tomer’s eye.

Here are the grades:

3  Ex­cel­lent de­sign and art
2  Ef­fec­tive if unin­spired de­sign or art
1   Hire a new art di­rector

 

Elvis DontCryDaddy PS 600

Elvis DontCryDaddy PS b 600

Elvis DontCryDaddy PS Italy

Elvis DontCryDaddy PS Turkey 600

Elvis DontCryDaddy PS Netherlands 600

Elvis DontCryDaddy PS Yugoslavia 600

Elvis DontCryDaddy PS Japan 600

The pic­ture sleeves above are from the United States (top two: 2 and 2), Italy (2), Turkey (1), Nether­lands (2), Yu­goslavia (1), and Japan (2). The Turkish sleeve looks like it was done as an as­sign­ment for a tenth-grade art class but I kinda like it for its sheer am­a­teur­ish­ness!

Don’t Cry Daddy / Rub­ber­neckin’                                                  # 6

Re­leased: No­vember 1969

Don’t Cry Daddy: A
Rub­ber­neckin’: A

Do­mestic sales: 1,200,000

Both Don’t Cry Daddy and Rub­ber­neckin’ were the kind of recording that could have been a big hit on its own.

Were both sides hits? No.

  On Bill­board’s country & western sin­gles chart, Don’t Cry Daddy / Rub­ber­neckin’ was also a double-sided hit, reaching #17.

  On Cash Box, only Don’t Cry Daddy was a hit, reaching #6.

  In the UK, only Don’t Cry Daddy was a hit, reaching #8.

Don’t Cry Daddy was a big hit in sev­eral other coun­tries but Rub­ber­neckin’ was not.

So Don’t Cry Daddy was prob­ably the only side most fans heard until they bought the record and played the flip-side on their turntable.

Was the right side the hit side? Not necessarily.

Don’t Cry Daddy was an ex­cel­lent recording done in a country-weeper vein about a fa­ther thinking about a con­ver­sa­tion with his chil­dren about their re­cently de­ceased mother (“Daddy, you’ve still got me and little Tommy, to­gether we’ll find a brand new mommy”). It could not have been more beau­ti­fully sung!

Still, it was a rel­a­tively weak follow-up to the ex­tra­or­di­nary In The Ghetto and Sus­pi­cious Minds from ear­lier in the year. It was a world­wide hit but it may have caused some rock fans to look the other way when it came to fu­ture Presley records.

On the other hand, Rub­ber­neckin’ was a bouncy rocker with a catchy re­frain (“Stop, look, and listen, that’s my phi­los­ophy. It’s called rub­ber­neckin’ and that’s all right with me”). I al­ways heard it as being about girl-watching (“First thing in the morning, last thing at night, I look, stare every­where, and see every­thing in sight”). Elvis’s singing is bois­terous and sexy and the back-up singers sound like they are on the verge of climax.

Rub­ber­neckin’ was used in the movie Change Of Habit, but as few people both­ered to see that movie, it pro­vided little ex­po­sure for the B-side. It would have much more in­ter­esting and lots more fun to have the rol­licking Rub­ber­neckin’ on the radio during the Christmas season of 1969 than the fu­ne­real Don’t Cry Daddy.

 

Elvis IveLostYou PS 600

Elvis IveLostYou PS b 600

Elvis IveLostYou PS Israel 600

Elvis IveLostYou PS France 600

Elvis IveLostYou PS Australia 600 dark

Elvis IveLostYou PS Germany 600 1

Elvis IveLostYou PS Yugoslavia 600 1

The pic­ture sleeves above are from the United States (top two: 2 and 2), Is­rael (3 and my fave of the bunch), France (3), Aus­tralia (1), Ger­many (2), and Yu­goslavia (3 and more pow­erful than the sim­ilar Is­raeli sleeve but not as at­trac­tive as it makes Elvis look like the star of an early George Romero movie).

I’ve Lost You / The Next Step Is Love                                         # 32

Re­leased: Au­gust 1970

I’ve Lost You: B
The Next Step Is Love
: B

Do­mestic sales: 500,000

Nei­ther I’ve Lost You nor The Next Step Is Love was the kind of recording that was nor­mally a big hit.

Were both sides hits? Yes.

  On Bill­board’s country & western sin­gles chart, I’ve Lost You / The Next Step Is Love was also a double-sided entry, but it pooped out at #57.

  On Cash Box, this record was also a double-sided hit: I’ve Lost You reached #18 while The Next Step Is Love peaked at #30.

  In the UK, only I’ve Lost You was a hit, making it to #9.

I’ve Lost You was a big hit in sev­eral other coun­tries but The Next Step Is Love was not.

The Next Step Is Love ap­par­ently did re­ceive radio play and re­quests at re­tail out­lets and is a le­git­i­mate Top 40 hit! Still, it’s prob­ably fair to say that I’ve Lost You was prob­ably the only side most fans heard until they bought the record and played the flip-side on their turntable.

Was the right side the hit side? Not necessarily.

I loved I’ve Lost You the first time I heard it in 1970 but re­member thinking, “Great record but a lousy choice as the follow-up to The Wonder Of You.” An up­tempo track from the June 1970 Nashville ses­sions would have been a better move than an­other Big Ballad.

The Big Ballad (big pro­duc­tions backing big emo­tions, often melo­dra­mat­i­cally sung) would dom­i­nate Pres­ley’s re­leases through the rest of his life. They would also ef­fec­tively alienate the younger lis­teners, the ones who make up the main­stream of record buyers in most of the world.

De­spite The Next Step Is Love having a some­what warmed-over Jimmy Webb-type lyric (“We’ve yet to taste the icing on the cake that we’ve been baking with the past”), it was more con­tem­po­rary than an­other ballad about lost love. And Pres­ley’s vocal is de­li­cious, al­most making the awk­ward lyrics sound graceful in places! It might have made for a stronger A-side than its ac­tual A-side.

The fact that Cash Box ranked The Next Step Is Love separately—something they rarely did by 1970—indicates that some­thing was hap­pening with this side be­yond merely being the flip-side to a hit side. It might have made a stronger A-side than I’ve Lost You.

 

Elvis YouDontHaveToSay PS 600

Elvis YouDontHaveToSay PS b 600

Elvis YouDontHaveToSayYouLoveMe PS Germany 600

Elvis YouDontHaveToSayYouLoveMe PS Japan 600

Elvis YouDontHaveToSayYouLoveMe PS Italy 600

Elvis YouDontHaveToSayYouLoveMe PS Yugoslavia 600

Elvis YouDontHaveToSayYouLoveMe PS Spain 600

The pic­ture sleeves above are from the United States (top two: 2 and 2), Ger­many (2), Japan (2), Italy (2), Yu­goslavia (2 be­cause the type is way too big but my fave of the bunch anyway), and Spain (2).

You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me / Patch It Up              # 11

Re­leased: Oc­tober 1970

You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me: A
Patch It Up:
B

Do­mestic sales: 800,000

While You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me was the kind of recording that was nor­mally a big hit, Patch It Up was not.

Were both sides hits? No.

  On Bill­board’s country & western sin­gles chart, only You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me was the only entry, reaching #57.

  On Cash Box, only You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me was a hit, reaching #10.

  In the UK, only You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me was a hit, making it to #9.

You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me was a big hit in sev­eral other coun­tries but Patch It Up was not.

So You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me was prob­ably the only side most fans heard until they bought the record and played the flip-side on their turntable.

Was the right side the hit side? Yes.

De­spite being an­other Big Ballad, You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me was a strong A-side with in­ter­na­tional ap­peal. Ac­cording to Joseph Mur­rells’s Mil­lion Selling Records from 19o0 to 1980, this record sold al­most a mil­lion copies in Japan. If that is ac­cu­rate, then You Don’t Have To Say You Love was one of Pres­ley’s biggest-selling sin­gles of the ’70s!

 

Elvis IReallyDontWantToKnow PS 600

Elvis IReallyDontWantToKnow PS b 600

Elvis IReallyDontWantToKnow PS Yugoslavia 600

Elvis IReallyDontWantToKnow PS UK 600

The pic­ture sleeves above are from the United States (top two: 2 and 2), Yu­goslavia (1 nice idea but poorly ex­e­cuted), and Eng­land (1).

I Re­ally Don’t Want To Know /
There Goes My Every­thing                                                              # 21

Re­leased: De­cember 1970

I Re­ally Don’t Want To Know: C
There Goes My Every­thing: A

Do­mestic sales: 700,000

While There Goes My Every­thing was the kind of recording that was nor­mally a big hit, I Re­ally Don’t Want To Know was not.

Were both sides hits? Yes and no.

  On Bill­board’s country & western sin­gles chart, I Re­ally Don’t Want To Know / There Goes My Every­thing was also a double-sided hit. On some weeks, the sides were re­versed and “There Goes My Every­thing” was the fea­tured side. (This was the first Presley record to reach the Top 10 on this chart since Hard Headed Woman in 1958.)

  On Cash Box, this record was also a double-sided hit: I Re­ally Don’t Want To Know reached #13 while There Goes My Every­thing stopped at #57.

  In the UK, only There Goes My Every­thing was a hit, reaching #6.

In sev­eral other coun­tries, I Really Don’t Want To Know was a big hit while in others, There Goes My Every­thing was a modest hit.

So, while There Goes My Every­thing ap­par­ently did re­ceive radio play and re­quests at re­tail out­lets, it’s prob­ably fair to say that I Re­ally Don’t Want To Know was prob­ably the only side most fans who lis­tened to Top 40 radio heard until they bought the record and played the flip-side on their turntable. Fans who lis­tened to country radio al­most cer­tainly heard both sides.

Was the right side the hit side? No.

I Re­ally Don’t Want To Know is one of my fa­vorite Elvis record­ings of the ’70s but it was too slow to be a good radio song. There Goes My Every­thing was a much better choice as the A-side and its reaching the Top 10 in the UK sup­ports that opinion.

 

Elvis WhereDidTheyGoLord PS 600

Elvis WhereDidTheyGoLord PS b 600

Elvis WhereDidTheyGoLord PS UK 500

Elvis WhereDidTheyGoLord PS Japan 600

The pic­ture sleeves above are from the United States (top two: 2 and 2), Eng­land (1), and Japan (2).

Where Did They Go, Lord / Rags To Riches                            # 33

Re­leased: March 1971

Where Did They Go, Lord: C
Rags To Riches: B

Do­mestic sales: 400,000

Nei­ther Where Did They Go Lord nor Rags To Riches was the kind of recording that was nor­mally a big hit.

Were both sides hits? No.

  On Bill­board’s country & western sin­gles chart, Where Did They Go, Lord / Rags To Riches was also a double-sided hit, al­though it only made it to #55.

  On Cash Box, this record was also a double-sided hit: Where Did They Go, Lord reached #34 but Rags To Riches only got to #45

  In the UK, only Rags To Riches was a hit, making it to #9.

Both Where Did They Go, Lord and Rags To Riches were modest hits in sev­eral other coun­tries.

So, while Rags To Riches ap­par­ently did re­ceive radio play and re­quests at re­tail out­lets, it’s prob­ably fair to say that Where Did They Go, Lord was prob­ably the only side most fans heard until they bought the record and played the flip-side on their turntable.

Was the right side the hit side? No.

Given that both sides were weak choices for re­lease as a single, Where Did They Go, Lord sounded like a gospel record (the title didn’t help that per­cep­tion) and gospel rarely makes for a big hit. Rags To Riches proved to be a much bigger hit in other coun­tries, meaning it prob­ably should have been pro­moted as the A-side in the US. 

This was the first Presley single to sell fewer than 500,000 copies do­mes­ti­cally since Mem­o­ries in early 1969. This can be ar­gued to be the end of the pe­riod of suc­cess that Elvis en­joyed fol­lowing his 1968 “come­back” and the be­gin­ning of his de­cline as both a mu­si­cian and as an artist who con­sis­tently de­liv­ered com­mer­cially vi­able “product” that could be counted on the move large num­bers.

 

Elvis Life PS 600b

Elvis Life PS b 600

Elvis Life PS Turkey 600

Elvis Life PS Italy 600

The pic­ture sleeves above are from the United States (top two: 2 and 2), Turkey (1 and looks like bad cover art for a bad Elvis bootleg album from the early ’70s), and Italy (1).

Life / Only Be­lieve                                                                               # 53

Re­leased: May 1971

Life: C
Only Be­lieve: C

Do­mestic sales: 275,000

Nei­ther Life nor Only Be­lieve was the kind of recording that was nor­mally a big hit.

Were both sides hits? No.

  On Bill­board’s country & western sin­gles chart, only Life was a hit, reaching #34. Aside from Bill­board, the B-side wasn’t a hit any­where else.

  On Cash Box, only Life was a hit, making it to #40.

•  In the UK, Life / Only Be­lieve was not is­sued as a single in 1971.

Nei­ther Life nor Only Be­lieve was a big hit in any other country.

So Life was prob­ably the only side most fans heard until they bought the record and played the flip-side on their turntable.

Was the right side the hit side? Yes.

Only Be­lieve was a gospel record and gospel rarely makes for a big hit so RCA  should have pro­moted it as the A-side.

That said, if Elvis se­lected Life as a single, he must have been having taken some very in­ter­esting drugs that day. (Maybe he has lied about how many times he tripped in his life?) Has anyone ever fig­ured out ex­actly what the philo­soph­ical or re­li­gious point of view is ex­pressed in the lyrics?

This was the first Presley single to sell fewer than 300,000 copies do­mes­ti­cally since A Little Less Con­ver­sa­tion in late 1968. If anyone had any doubts about where Elvis was heading after Where Did They Go Lord / Rags To Riches, this should have put them to rest.

 

Elvis SteamrollerBlues PS US b 600

Elvis SteamrollerBlues PS US a 600

Elvis SteamrollerBlues PS Spain 600

Elvis SteamrollerBlues PS Japan 600

Elvis SteamrollerBlues PS Yugoslavia 600

Elvis SteamrollerBlues PS Portugal 600

The pic­ture sleeves above are from the United States (top two: 2 and 1), Spain (2), Japan (2), Yu­goslavia (3), and Por­tugal (1).

Steam­roller Blues / Fool                                                                   # 17

Re­leased: March 1973

Steam­roller Blues: A
Fool
: A

Do­mestic sales: 400,000

Both Steam­roller Blues and Fool were the kind of recording that could have been a big hit on its own.

Were both sides hits? No.

  On Bill­board’s country & western sin­gles chart, Steam­roller Blues / Fool was also a double-sided hit, but with the ti­tles re­versed: Fool / Steam­roller Blues reached #31.

  On Cash Box, this was also a double-sided hit: Steam­roller Blues reached #10 but Fool pooped out at #79

  In the UK, only Fool was a hit, reaching #15.

Both Steam­roller Blues and Fool were modest hits in sev­eral other coun­tries.

So, while Fool ap­par­ently did re­ceive radio play and re­quests at re­tail out­lets, it’s prob­ably fair to say that Steam­roller Blues was prob­ably the only side most fans who lis­tened to Top 40 radio heard until they bought the record and played the flip-side on their turntable. Fans who lis­tened to country radio al­most cer­tainly heard both sides.

Was the right side the hit side? Not necessarily.

This is one of the few sin­gles listed where the two record­ings should have been re­leased as the A-side to two dif­ferent sin­gles. The suc­cess of Fool on the country chart and in the UK, in­di­cate that it would have been a strong con­tender on its own.

 

Elvis RaisedOnRock PS US 600

Elvis RaisedOnRock PS b 600

Elvis RaisedOnRock PS Japan 600

The pic­ture sleeves above are from the United States (top two: 2 and 2) and Japan (2).

Raised On Rock / For Ol’ Times Sake                                          # 41

Re­leased: Sep­tember 1973

Raised On Rock: C
For Ol’ Times Sake
: C

Do­mestic sales: 250,000

Nei­ther Raised On Rock nor For Ol’ Times Sake was the kind of recording that was nor­mally a big hit.

Were both sides hits? No.

  On Bill­board’s country & western sin­gles chart, only For Ol’ Times Sake was a hit, but it peaked at a dis­ap­pointing #42.

  On Cash Box, only Raised On Rock was a hit, reaching #27.

  In the UK, only Raised On Rock was a hit, making it to #36.

Raised On Rock was also a modest hit in sev­eral other coun­tries but For Ol’ Times Sake was not.

So, while For Ol’ Times Sake may have re­ceived some radio play and re­quests at re­tail out­lets, it’s prob­ably fair to say that Raised On Rock was prob­ably the only side most fans who lis­tened to Top 40 radio heard until they bought the record and played the flip-side on their turntable. Fans who lis­tened to country radio al­most cer­tainly heard For Ol’ Times Sake more than they did the A-side.

Was the right side the hit side? No.

While Raised On Rock sounded pretty good on the radio the first few times I hear it in 1973, it started sounding lame quickly after that. On the other hand, the starkly simple pro­duc­tion be­hind Elvis’s heart­felt singing makes For Ol’ Times Sake creep up on you. While nei­ther side was strong for the radio, the B-side may have made a better A-side. 

 

Elvis IveGotAThingAboutYouBaby PS 600 1

Elvis IveGotAThingAboutYouBaby PS b 600

Elvis IveGotAThingAboutYouBaby PS Israel 600

Elvis IveGotAThingAboutYouBaby PS Australia 600

Elvis IveGotAThingAboutYouBaby PS Germany 2 600

Elvis IveGotAThingAboutYouBaby PS Spain 600

Elvis IveGotAThingAboutYouBaby PS Japan 600

The pic­ture sleeves above are from the United States (top two: 2 and 2), Is­rael (2, also looks like the cover of an Elvis bootleg album but from the later ’70s), Aus­tralia (2), Ger­many (2), Spain (1, looks like the cover of a Pick­wick album), and Japan (2).

I’ve Got A Thing About You Baby /
Take Good Care Of Her                                                                     #
39

Re­leased: Feb­ruary 1974

I’ve Got A Thing About You Baby: A
Take Good Care Of Her
: B

Do­mestic sales: 500,000

While I’ve Got A Thing About You Baby was the kind of recording that was nor­mally a big hit, Take Good Care Of Her was not.

Were both sides hits? No.

  On Bill­board’s country & western sin­gles chart, I’ve Got A Thing About You Baby / Take Good Care Of Her was also a double-sided hit, reaching #4. (This was the first Presley record to reach the Top 10 on this chart since I Re­ally Don’t Want To Know / There Goes My Every­thing in 1971.)

  On Cash Box, this was also a double-sided hit: I’ve Got A Thing About You Baby reached #30 but Take Good Care Of Her only got to #63.

  In the UK, only Take Good Care Of Her was a hit, reaching #33.

I’ve Got A Thing About You Baby was also a modest hit in sev­eral other coun­tries but Take Good Care Of Her was not.

So, while Take Good Care Of Her ap­par­ently re­ceived some radio play and re­quests at re­tail out­lets, it’s prob­ably fair to say that I’ve Got A Thing About You Baby was prob­ably the only side most fans heard until they bought the record and played the flip-side on their turntable.

Was the right side the hit side? Yes.

I’ve Got A Thing About You Baby was Elvis’ most ac­ces­sible A-side since Burning Love. Or, at least that’s what I thought.

 

Elvis Hurt PS 600

Elvis Hurt PS b 600

Elvis Hurt PS Belgium 600

Elvis Hurt PS Germany 600

Elvis Hurt PS Japan 600

Elvis Hurt PS Portugal 600

The pic­ture sleeves above are from the United States (top two: 2 and 2), Bel­gium (2), Ger­many (2), Japan (1, I just never liked this photo), and Por­tugal (2).

Hurt / For The Heart                                                                         # 28

Re­leased: March 1976

Hurt: A
For The Heart
: A

Do­mestic sales: 250,000

Both Hurt and For The Heart was the kind of recording that could have been a hit on its own.

Were both sides hits? No.

  On Bill­board’s country & western sin­gles chart, Hurt / For The Heart was also a double-sided hit, reaching #6.

  On Cash Box, only Hurt was a hit, making it to #31.

  In the UK, only Hurt was a hit, reaching #37.

Hurt was also a modest hit in sev­eral other coun­tries but For The Heart was not.

So, while For The Heart ap­par­ently re­ceived some radio play and re­quests at re­tail out­lets, it’s prob­ably fair to say that Hurt was prob­ably the only side most fans heard until they bought the record and played the flip-side on their turntable.

The first time I heard this record in 1976, I was sit­ting in my car. I had vis­ited my mother in the hos­pital (nothing se­rious) and needed a little cheering up. I turned on the radio and the DJ started bab­bling about this new Elvis record, saying it was the best Elvis record in years. He played both Hurt and For The Heart and then went on bab­bling about how great it was and he ex­pected it to be a number one hit. He did cheer me up even if his pre­dic­tion wasn’t even close to the mark.

Was the right side the hit side? No.

Like most Elvis fans, I love Hurt but I think the bouncy For The Heart would have made a much, much stronger A-side. Un­for­tu­nately, that wasn’t what hap­pened. As the pic­ture sleeves above show, RCA’s branches in many coun­tries be­lieved the same thing and dis­played it as the promi­nent title on the front cover of many of them.

 

Elvis MoodyBlue PS 600 dark

Elvis MoodyBlue PS b 800

Elvis MoodyBlue PS Belgium 600

Elvis MoodyBlue PS Germany 600 1

Elvis MoodyBlue PS Japan 600

Elvis MoodyBlue PS Netherlands 600

Elvis MoodyBlue PS Portugal 600

The pic­ture sleeves above are from the United States (top two: 1 and 2), Bel­gium (2), Ger­many (3 and one of the most at­trac­tive sleeves on this page), Japan (2), Nether­lands (2 even though I never found this a flat­tering photo of Elvis), and Por­tugal (2).

Moody Blue / She Thinks I Still Care                                          # 31

Re­leased: De­cember 1976

Moody Blue: B
She Thinks I Still Care
: C

Do­mestic sales: 300,000

Nei­ther Moody Blue nor She Thinks I Still Care was the kind of recording that was nor­mally a big hit.

Were both sides hits? No.

  On Bill­board’s country & western sin­gles chart, Moody Blue / She Thinks I Still Care was also a double-sided hit, where it was the #1 record for one week. (This was the first Presley record to top this chart since Jail­house Rock in 1967.)

  On Cash Box, only Moody Blue was a hit, reaching #39.

  In the UK, only Moody Blue was a hit, making it to #6.

Moody Blue was a big hit in sev­eral other coun­tries but She Thinks I Still Care was not.

Moody Blue was prob­ably the only side most fans heard until they bought the record and played the flip-side on their turntable.

So, while She Thinks I Still Care may have re­ceived some radio play and re­quests at re­tail out­lets, it’s prob­ably fair to say that Moody Blue was prob­ably the only side most fans who lis­tened to Top 40 radio heard until they bought the record and played the flip-side on their turntable. Fans who lis­tened to country radio al­most cer­tainly heard both sides fre­quently.

Was the right side the hit side? Yes.

Moody Blue is rather pop­ular with many Elvis fans (my­self in­cluded), de­spite being a bit of a throw­away recording with silly lyrics. (“It’s hard to figure out what she’s all about but she’s woman through and through. She’s a com­pli­cated lady, so color my baby moody blue.”) It sounded good the first few times I heard it on the radio in 1976, but it soon be­came ob­vious that it didn’t have what it took to make it to the upper parts of the pop charts.

That it was the title song of the album on the charts at the time of Pres­ley’s death in 1977  has given it a spe­cial place in the hearts of many fans.

Parting shot

Please look at the sales fig­ures for each record as they make clear that Pres­ley’s judg­ment in the sides to re­lease as sin­gles was clearly not in step with the tastes of the ma­jority of record buyers. Since his death, the country music field has ex­ploded and it’s pos­sible that had he lived and con­tinued recording the same kind of ma­te­rial, sales might have started to rise as more country music fans bought the records that pop fans were turning their noses up at.

 

StaxRecords Memphis 1200

FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is the now leg­endary Stax Studio, housed in a former movie the­ater at 926 East McLemore Av­enue in Mem­phis, Ten­nessee. In this studio, count­less clas­sics of ’60s soul music were con­ceived and recorded. It started out as Satel­lite Records, a country and rock­a­billy label that changed its focus to R&B in 1960. Owners Jim Stewart and Es­telle Axton com­bined their names and Satel­lite Records be­came Stax Records.

In July 1973, Elvis en­tered the Stax Studio to record the RAISED ON ROCK album and the single I’ve Got A Thing About You Baby / Take Good Care Of Her. He re­turned in De­cember and recorded most of the GOOD TIMES and PROMISED LAND, from which there were no double-sided hits.

For more on Stax Records, refer to “Which Stax/Volt Records Should I Buy?

 

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Neal, As I have come to ex­pect, your en­cy­clo­pedic knowl­edge and your al­ways amazing ex­pen­di­ture of time to pro­vide us with de­tailed, in depth re­search is a true gift to Elvis fans. Thanks so much. I’m in Denver, but would re­ally enjoy speaking with you or meeting you some day. That would be some con­ver­sa­tion.

Bob

I find it very hard to com­ment on this ar­ticle ob­jec­tively as I truly love most of Elvis’s single in the 70s right to the bitter end. If I tell that “Rags To Riches,” “Heart Of Rome,” and “Pledging My Love” are some of my fa­vorite tracks you will no doubt know what I mean.

This is my footer.