IN 1961, RCA Victor released four Elvis singles in the US: Surrender, I Feel So Bad, Little Sister, and Can’t Help Falling In Love. These overlapped with RCA Victor’s experimenting with 7-inch singles that played in mono but at 33⅓ rpm instead of the usual 45. Five of Elvis Presley’s new singles were also issued as Compact 33 Singles in the US.
These are all really rather rare records and each has its own chapter on this website! This something that cannot be said about almost any other commercially released Elvis titles.
In the rest of the world, another single was issued during the same time: due to popular demand, Wooden Heart was issued as a single in West Germany coupled with Tonight’s All Right For Love. According to some sources, it sold a million copies in that country alone. It was also a huge hit throughout Europe, where it is also rumored to have sold another million.
So it seems likely to me that the idea to release Wooden Heart at both speeds simply went nowhere.
During a twelve-month period from February 1961 to February 1962, RCA Victor issued five of Elvis Presley’s new singles as Compact 33 Singles in the US. These are all really rather rare records and each has its own chapter on this website!
This something that cannot be said about almost any other commercially released Elvis titles. Yet there have been rumors of a scheduled sixth such single for either here or Canada. Given the record’s popularity in Canada (#2 on the CHUM chart) and the Compact 33 phase that RCA was in at the time, such speculation is not unwarranted.
In West Germany, RCA 47-9340 (above) was issued with a picture sleeve with the song titles in German. “Muss I denn” appears to be a dialectic idiom and can mean several things. But the flip-side, G’schichten Aus Dem Wiener Wald, translates as “Tales from the Vienna Woods”!
In the UK, it was issued as RCA 1226 (above) and was another #1 for Elvis and sold more than 600,000 copies.
In the colonies, it was not issued in the States but was issued in Canada with a different flip-side as 47-7865, Wooden Heart / Shoppin’ Around (above).
Wooden Heart was released as a Compact 33 in Spain (RCA 37-2076, above), where it was also popular. The B-side was What’s She Really Like.
First it was a hit in Germany
The existence of a Compact 33 Single numbered 37-7865 has been rumored to exist for a long time. If that record does exist, it would probably have been manufactured in the US but exclusively for export to the Canadian market.
“As you know, Wooden Heart was one of the most popular selections from the movie G.I. Blues. As expected, the record was a hit in Germany in February 1961, where it was first released as a single. That led to it being released in other markets. In March, RCA Victor of Canada pulled that song and another one from the film as a single.
According to the March 13, 1961, issue of Billboard, the release was requested by CHUM radio and RCA Victor obliged by releasing the single at the 45 rpm speed. The song jumped to #2 on the CHUM chart (April 10) and stayed in the Top 10 through May 1st.
No compact 33 singles were ever issued in Canada; only the Compact 33 Doubles were released there. Supposedly was going to be released in Canada, but to date no copies of a Canadian 37-7865 have surfaced. So it seems likely to me that the idea to release Wooden Heart at both speeds simply went nowhere.” – Frank Daniels
FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page was taken from the 1960 movie G.I. Blues. In that movie, Elvis sang Wooden Heart during a puppet show for children in Germany.
POSTSCRIPTUALLY, as stated above by Mr. Daniels, except for the Spanish record, the Wooden Heart Compact 33 single is the mystery disc in this mix. (And as it was for Canadian release, the existence of an accompanying picture sleeve is not axiomatic.) Like Frank, I am unaware of an actual copy existing anywhere. Should you know of a copy of 37-7865 in existence somewhere, please contact me with that information.