THIS IS A FOLLOW-UP TO MY ARTICLE “50,000,000 Wikipedia Contributors Can’t Be Wrong (Hah!)” posted earlier here on A Touch Of Gold. That piece addressed Wikipedia’s poorly written entry titled “50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong” and its many errors and misconceptions. (The start of my Wiki woes.) If this topic interests you, then you should certainly read that article before reading this.
Here I present the article (i.e., my rewrite of the original Wikipedia article) as it briefly appeared with all of my corrections, additions, and rewrites.
I use the term “briefly” because, after only a few days things changed.
Hello and welcome to Wikipedia! Always remember to provide a reliable source for any material that is likely to be challenged, or it may be removed.
Several of my corrections have already been un-corrected!
Several of my additions have already been subtracted!
Several of the incorrect entries have already been restored!
And not just by one Wiki contributor or editor, but by several! 1
As someone once famous once said, “So it goes . . .”
The first known use of one of the gold suit photos in a commercial capacity was this photo from Elvis Presley Enterprise, the authorized purveyors of Elvis novelties. This was issued in early 1957 and came with two different borders, pink and blue. Nonetheless, the gold suit remains associated with the release of ELVIS’ GOLD RECORDS VOL. 2 in 1959. 2
I’m playing for keeps (wiki woes)
But first things first: after my editing was completed, a message was posted on my Talk Page (a Wiki contributor user site) on Wikipedia:
“Hello, Nealumphred, and welcome to Wikipedia!
Thank you for your contributions.
I hope you like the place and decide to stay.
Unfortunately, one or more of your recent edits has not conformed to Wikipedia’s verifiability policy, and has been or will be removed.”
That’s the first four sentences; there is more, which I address below. But first, here is the (former) new entry for ELVIS’ GOLD RECORDS, VOL. 2 as it existed on April 15, 2016, and shall forever exist here on A Touch Of Gold.
The second use of the gold suit photos was for the first volume of the A TOUCH OF GOLD extended-play albums. Volume 1 was issued in April 1959, number two followed in September, and the third and final volume was released in February 1960. Note that the sales of each volume diminished, with the third volume selling less than half of the first. Consequently, Volume 3 is always the most valuable of the three regardless of the label variation. 3
My Wikipedia entry (wiki woes 2)
For those readers familiar with the look of Wikipedia entries, note that I use to my own stylistic choices in certain typesetting (e.g., italicizing song titles instead of placing them between quotation marks) and punctuation. I did use a san serif typeface for readability.
Also, as I appreciate continuity, I left as much of the original article intact as I could—so this is not how I would have written this article for A Touch Of Gold!
50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong
ELVIS’ GOLD RECORDS, VOL. 2 is the ninth album by Elvis Presley, issued by RCA Victor in November 1959. It is a compilation of hit singles released in 1958 and 1959 by Presley, from recording sessions going back as far as February 1957.
The title of this album is ELVIS’ GOLD RECORDS VOLUME 2, but it appears on the original record’s labels as ELVIS’ GOLD RECORDS, VOL. 2 with a comma and an abbreviation of “Volume.” But on the jacket, it appears as ELVIS’ GOLD RECORDS – VOLUME 2 with an en-dash and the full spelling of “Volume.”
But “50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong” does not appear on the labels of any of the original records, and it is the title of the records—not the jacket—that is usually given preference when conflicting titles appear on albums.
Therefore, the phrase “50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong” on the front cover of was not part of the original title of the album: it was a bit of boasting—a form of advertising.
Or it was from 1959 through 1961: beginning no later than 1962, RCA Victor added “50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong” to the labels of the mono records and to the newly released “electronically reprocessed stereo” records.
It remained there for several years, but by 1968, “50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong” was removed from the labels and was not found on any records for years.
And then it was added (again), this time to the CD releases of this album, where it has stayed.
This is the cover for the album as it was originally issued in Uruguay probably in 1960. The text in the upper left corner reads, “The Gold Records of Presley.” Strictly translated, the test in the center reads, “100,000,000 of Admirers They Cannot Be Wrong,” but colloquially it’s “100,000,000 Fans Can’t Be Wrong.” The amount of fans has doubled and “Elvis” is not a part of the phrase, bolstering the argument that the statement is a blurb, not the title!
ELVIS’ GOLD RECORDS, VOL. 2 peaked at number 31 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart. It was certified by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for a Gold Record Award (based on $1,000,000 in wholesale sales) on November 1, 1966. It was certified for a Platinum Record Award for sales of one million copies in the US on March 27, 1992.
The album consists of both sides of five singles released during 1958 and 1959. Two sides made number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and six others reached the Top 10. In the 1950s, a Gold Record awarded to a single required certified sales of one million copies in the United States. This is different from the definition in use since the 1990s when a Gold Record for a single was reduced to sales of 500,000 units.
The original compact disc was issued as PCD1-2075 in “electronically reprocessed” (or “fake”) stereo and “50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong” was again part of the title! This disc was quickly withdrawn; it is now very rare and very valuable.
In 1985, it was reissued on compact disc as PCD1-5197, this time in “digitally restored” monophonic. That is, the mono sound was achieved by a complicated system of eliminating extraneous “noise” from the fake stereo master tapes. This was necessary, as RCA had “mislaid” the mono tapes. Eventually, clean mono tapes were located and the original mono sound was restored to later CDs.
The Follow That Dream version of ELVIS’ GOLD RECORDS, VOL. 2 from 2007 is a double-CD that has the original ten tracks from the LP plus forty-one bonus tracks! These are mostly alternative takes but it also includes the entire contents of the spoken-word EP album ELVIS SAILS from 1958. 4
The July 15, 1997 reissue doubles the number of tracks to 20, adding one A-side (Hard Headed Woman) and one B-side (Playing For Keeps), along with tracks from top-selling EPs (e.g., Peace In The Valley). Several of those EP tracks were hit singles in other countries, notably the UK (i.e., Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me). The bonus tracks are interspersed within the original tracks, with the running order to the album substantially altered.
The CD was later reissued without the bonus tracks and the original running order restored.
The unified Billboard Hot 100 singles chart was not created until August 1958. Chart positions for records (below) prior to this date were taken from the magazine’s Best Sellers in Stores chart. In some cases, the early measurement of success of rock and roll records also came from the Most Played on Jukeboxes chart. Chart positions (below) for the bonus tracks on the CDs were taken from the peak position that the EP album achieved on Billboard’s then extant EP chart (1957-1960).
That is how the introductory portion and the Content section looked (past tense) after my changes. I did nothing to the Homage section, and I didn’t even attempt to address the confusing Track Listing section!
The gold suit photos were pulled out again in 1961 to call attention to Elvis’s first live on-stage performance in almost four years! This was in Hawaii to raise money to raise the USS Arizona from the floor of Pearl Harbor, where it had been lying since December 7, 1941.
50 Neal fans can’t be wrong
Um, here I mention that I am the author of two books and dozens of articles about Elvis Presley records and that most people who know anything about collecting Elvis records would consider me a “reliable source” . . .
I had intended to end this article with a final section of a 300 words and thereby bring to a conclusion my addressing the Wikipedia issue regarding ELVIS’ GOLD RECORDS, VOL. 2 but then I received the latest email from The Round Place In The Middle called “Diamonds in the Shade” and that sent me to YouTube to listen to the Spinners’ We’ll Have It Made and It’s A Shame while I went to Wikipedia to look up Stevie Wonder where I came across another fallacious statement and after a few more Spinners’ songs I was listening to Barry McGuire and I don’t get the progression from one to the other either and that sent me back to Wikipedia to look up Eve Of Destruction where there was yet another factual boner and so I decided to stretch this thing out to three articles built around the one Elvis album and so here I will say, “To be continued.”
FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is from a performance early in 1957, when Elvis wore the full gold suit on stage. Frankly, it looks rather clownish. He quickly replaced the pants with a pair of sleek black slacks, which set off the gold jacket in a more elegant manner.
POSTSCRIPTUALLY, I want to point out that many of the images of Elvis in his gold suit in this article and others can be found on the amazing Elvis – Echoes Of The Past website in an article titled “A Touch of Gold Lamé (Elvis and Nudie Cohn)” by Bob Pakes. The folks at the site are working on a gallery of images of Elvis in the suit on the road and on stage in 1957!
1 But each incorrect statement is properly sourced—even if the source was incorrect or the Wiki contributor didn’t understand the data in the source.
2 Many of the illustrations in this article are of items regarded as memorabilia, of which I am not an expert. So not only do I not have any “suggested NM values” for these items, I have to say they are very difficult to research. Unless such items are associated with an RCA Victor record, there is little documentation of sales online.
3 For more on these EPs, refer to “The Avid Record Collector’s Price Guide To A Touch Of Gold Albums.”
4 Keep in mind that the text in san serif type and in justified paragraphs represent the article as I write i. It appeared on Wikipedia for a few days this way but then the alterations began. So both this text and the images used as illustrations will not be found on Wikipedia at this time.
I thought I’d end this on an upbeat note: here is a wonderful caricature of Elvis in his gold suit by Tonio. It is from “Elvis’ Golden Caricatures Volume 3 (Rockin’ the ’50s),” a collection of caricatures of Mr. Presley here on A Touch Of Gold.