Okay, he’s outselling every one of his contemporaries from the ’50s, the ’60s, and the ’70s but the Fab Four

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This image was cropped from the cover of the UK version of the 2015 album IF I CAN DREAM. It’s okay if you think it’s a little cheesy — I do, too. Especially compared to the really cool cover on the US version, which is posted below. (Image: personal collection)

SALES OF PHYSICAL COPIES OF ALBUMS, both compact discs (CD) and good ol’ long-playing records (LP) certainly ain’t what they used to be. MRC Data recently tallied up those sales and provided the media with a Top 10 best-selling album artists of the first two decades of the 21st century. And Elvis was still among the them!

For the list, MRC Data — formerly Nielson SoundScan and Nielsen Music — includes CDs and LPs (sales of which are still growing year by year). …


A look at a pair of egregious errors about Elvis’ biggest hit on 1973 on Wikipedia

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This is the picture sleeve to RCA Victor 74–0910, “Steamroller Blues,” released in the US in March 1973. While it’s definitely a break from the usual photo of Elvis on stage, it’s probably not the ideal image if you’re a record company trying to sell 45s to youthful consumers in the early ’70s. (Image: personal collection)

TAKING WIKIPEDIA TO TASK for the seemingly endless number of mistakes in their pop music entries is like shooting the proverbial moose in a barrel. I could even make it a daily endeavor and turn this blog into a non-stop rant about Wikipedian boners. Fortunately, that does not interest me — at least, at this time. But there are some boners that do attract my attention.

But first, there may be a few younger readers wondering about the title of this article. Aside from its slang reference to a part (or a condition) of the male anatomy, Merriam-Webster defines a boner as “a foolish or careless mistake.” …


How Elvis talked me into writing an article about the Mac Davis songs that he recorded in 1968–1969

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Looking at Mount Rainier from the Cowlitz Divide Trail, a 10-mile out-and-back trail that features a river and is rated as a difficult hike. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, and backpacking and is best used from July until October. (Use of this lovely photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.)

EACH YEAR I HIKE MOUNT RAINIER. I use the Carbon Glacier trail and I don’t ascend the whole mountain — that takes days and a team of other hikers. And I have to go it alone. This is just a vigorous day-hike that gets me up to about 7,000 feet where I can look down into the massive glacier.

I love the hike as it’s a rigorous outing through an often gloriously beautiful environment. But I have a specific reason to be on Ranier, on a specific date, alone. …


It is not uncommon for the rejection rate of autographs as fake to exceed 50 percent!

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“John Hancock was president of Congress when the Declaration of Independence was adopted and signed. He is primarily remembered by Americans for his large, flamboyant signature on the Declaration, so much so that ‘John Hancock’ became an informal synonym for ‘signature’.” (Quote and image courtesy of Wikipedia) Of course, this has nothing to do with the article below but younger readers should know what it means the next time they hear a man refer to his “John Hancock” and not get the wrong image in their heads.

TWO THINGS: First, this is a follow-up to the article “Fake Rock & Roll Autographs May Outnumber the Real Ones!” previously published here on Tell It Like It Was. Second, like that article, this one was originally published several years ago on my Rather Rare Records blog. The issue of “authentically” singed items is as big a problem in 2020 as it was in 2015.

Now, onward . . .

FAKE AUTOGRAPHS were back in the news in 2106, this time featuring a mother-son combo forging signatures on thousands of sports items. They allegedly sold more than 27,000 fake items on eBay to thousands of victims who spent over $2 million.! This caught my attention because of the recent and unexpected deaths of two beloved superstars, David Bowie and Prince. So I though I would sound an alert to collectors of these two superstars and warn them to tread cautiously when buying autographed items as this is when fans are ripest for a rip-off. …


Unusual “new” picture sleeve pops up for sale on the internet

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The two sides of the Touch Of Marble picture sleeve feature different photos. Supposedly, the side with Elvis from the 1965 movie Girl Happy in the upper left corner is the front of the sleeve. (Image: personal collection)

FINDING A NEW ITEM TO COLLECT in the world of Elvis records is a rather rare occurrence. After all, the man has been dead for more than forty years and RCA stopped mass-producing vinyl records more than twenty years ago. Nonetheless, “new” things do appear, such as a stash of unusual picture sleeves that recently turned up for sale on the internet.

The sleeve has four different photos of Elvis (see below) with one in the upper left and lower-right quarter of each side. The rest of the sleeve is a blue field with the titles of the songs on both sides of what appear to be thirty singles. …


There are two “correct” answers to this question

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The cover of the second LP in the UK (His Master’s Voice CLP-1105) looked nothing like that of the US album (RCA Victor LPM-1382). On the cover, the title appears to be ELVIS PRESLEY NO. 2 but on the record’s labels, the title is “ROCK ’N’ ROLL” (NO. 2). There were quotation marks around the first three words of the title, two apostrophes around the N, and №2 was in parentheses. (Photo: personal collection)

BACK IN JANUARY, I was asked to answer a question on Quora: What was the first British #1 hit for Elvis Presley? My answer was short although not necessarily simple: I noted that some UK charts listed Heartbreak Hotel as reaching #1 while others only placed it at #2. The first single to reach #1 on all the major charts was All Shook Up.

My answer was derived from Elvis UK — The Ultimate Guide To Elvis Presley’s British Record Releases 1956–1985. Authored by John Townson, Gordon Minto, and George Richardson, it is an extraordinarily detailed look at every known variation of every known Elvis record released in the UK through 1986. …


An introduction to artist/designer John Yates’ Punk Note ideations (in which he pays tribute to Francis Wolff and Reid Miles)

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This image was cropped from John Yates’s ideation of the Plasmatics’ New Hope for the Wretched album. (Image used with permission of the artist.)

I WAS NOT A FAN OF PUNK ROCK in the 1970s and ’80s. I admired the political aspect of the punk movement in the UK and the anybody-can-be-in-a-band spirit, but I didn’t connect with most of the music. (I still don’t care for most of it but have loosened up a bit with age.) I also didn’t care for the artwork that adorned the sleeves and jackets of punk records, although I did admire the anybody-can-be-an-artist spirit. (Please give a look-see at my article, “Did Sid Vicious, Elvis, and Sinatra Really Do It Their Way?”)

“Punk was just so different to me and seemed to give me a voice I lacked but didn’t know I lacked!” …


50,000,000 Wikipedia contributors can’t be wrong (hah!)

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This is the logo of Wikipedia, which is the world’s largest free online encyclopedia, created and edited by volunteers around the world and hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation. (Image courtesy of Wikipedia.)

I don’t spend a lot of time on Quora but I will chime in every now and then, usually with the hope of directing a reader or two to one of my blogs. A question asked the other day was “What are some facts about Elvis that you won’t find on Wikipedia?” My answer was short and probably not what the questioner was looking for:

One fact that you will probably never learn on Wikipedia is that so, so many of the “facts” on Wikipedia — especially those that address popular music — just ain’t so. The articles addressing popular music — especially older rock & roll — are rife with errors and general misunderstandings of such things as the history of the genre and the criteria for RIAA Gold and Platinum Record Awards.


There are a lot more titles than you think and they sold a lot more copies than you believe

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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 (below). (Photo: personal collection)

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. …


If you have looked up the ELVIS album (RCA Victor LPM-1382) on Wikipedia, you might want to read this next.

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WIKIPEDIA’S ENTRIES ON ELVIS and other music-related matters are not the most trustworthy sources for accurate information. In fact, visiting the site to look up anything about Presley can be a bit of an adventure. While adventures can be fun and even rewarding, some writers might not enjoy being made fools of when they discover that the Wiki-derived information on their blog is outrageously incorrect!

I have written about this before and don’t necessarily want to keep beating that poor proverbial dead horse, but it’s hard to turn down an opportunity like the one below. …

About

Neal Umphred

Mystical Virgo and pragmatic liberal likes long walks alone in the rain at night with an umbrella and flask of 10-year-old Laphroaig.

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