Elvis' #1 Pop Singles on Cashbox, USA:
Heartbreak Hotel (1956)
Don't Be Cruel (1956)
Hound Dog (1956)
Love Me Tender (1956)
Too Much (1957)
All Shook Up (1957)
Teddy Bear (1957)
Jailhouse Rock (1957)
Stuck On You (1960)
It's Now Or Never (1960)
Are You Lonesome Tonight? (1960)
Good Luck Charm (1962)
Return To Sender (1962)
In The Ghetto (1969)
Suspicious Minds (1969)
Burning Love (1972)
(The Cashbox chart is now defunct)
Elvis was 5' 11" tall
Elvis' natural hair color was dark blond
Elvis' blood type was O Positive
Elvis' shoe size was 11D
One of Elvis'( maternal) ancestors, Morning White Dove (born 1800, died 1835), was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian
Elvis' uncle, Noah Presley, became Mayor of East Tupelo on January 7, 1936
The Presley family moved to Memphis on November 6, 1948
Elvis was issued a Social Security card in September 1950 with the # 409-52-2002
In 1954 some of the shows played by Elvis & The Blue Moon Boys were at the Overton Park Shell; the Bel-Air Club; Sleepy-Eyed John's Eagle's Nest Club and the Louisiana Hayride
Elvis' first manager was Scotty Moore, then Bob Neal, before signing with Colonel Tom Parker
The first DJ to play an Elvis record was Fred Cook (WREC), not Dewey Phillips (WHBQ). However, Dewey had the distinction of being the first DJ to play an Elvis record in its entirety
Elvis once dated famous stripper, Tempest Storm
Elvis was filmed from the waist up only during his 3rd and final appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show
In the 50s Elvis was friendly with rising stars, Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner and Ty (Bronco Lane) Hardin
Gladys Presley was 46 years old when she died, not 42, as many books suggest
The Roustabout album sold 450,000 copies on its initial release, 150,000 copies more than any of the preceding three soundtrack LPs. It was Elvis' last "soundtrack" album to reach #1 on the major album charts in the US
Elvis received $1m for filming Harum Scarum (aka Harum Holiday). The film grossed around $2m in the US
Elvis and Priscilla married on May 1, 1967
They were officially divorced on October 9, 1973
Elvis earns nearly $3.5m in 1968 and pays just over $1.4m in income tax
Elvis' return to live performing in Las Vegas on July 31, 1969 was in front of an "by invitation only" audience. Stars in attendance included Wayne Newton, Petula Clark, Shirley Bassey, Burt Bacharach and Angie Dickinson
On January 9, 1971, the national Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) announced Elvis as one of "The Top Ten Young Men of the Year". Elvis spoke at the official awards ceremony on January 16
"Elvis: Aloha From Hawai" made entertainment history on January 14, 1973, when it was beamed around the world by satellite. In the Philippines it drew 91% of the audience, in Hong Kong 70%. The viewing audience was estimated at more than 1 billion
For his 4 week Hilton Vegas season in August 1973 Elvis received $610,000
Sales of Elvis' 1973 album, Raised On Rock, were less than 200,000 units on its initial release
Elvis paid $2,959,000 in income tax in 1973
In December 1976 Elvis was sworn in as a special deputy sheriff of Shelby County (Memphis) by Sheriff Gene Barksdale
Elvis' final live concert was in Indianapolis on June 26, 1977
When Elvis died, he and his father Vernon, were embroiled in an FBI investigation called Operation Fountain Pen
More than 1,500 books have been published about The King in more than 30 languages
At Dec 2005 Elvis' biggest selling album in the US is the budget priced, Elvis' Christmas Album, with accredited sales of 9 million units (fingers crossed it reaches 10 million to give Elvis his first "Diamond" award)
By early2006, Sony BMG's "collectors label", Follow That Dream, had released more than 50 Elvis CDs
During the 1980s, tour guides at Graceland stated that Elvis' biggest selling album (globally) was Moody Blue, with sales exceeding 14 million
While Sony BMG estimates Elvis' global sales exceed 1 billion, the company is unable to substantiate this figure. Accredited sales worldwide are estimated to be less than 400 million
BMG's "Mr Elvis", Ernst Jorgensen kindly took time out of his busy schedule to talk with EIN's Nigel Patterson
EIN has, on our site, regularly commended BMG for its great effort over many years in tracking down "lost" sales and we have also acknowledged that a lack of computerised (or other) records by RCA from the 1950s to 1970s has seriously undermined this effort.
However, EIN has also been critical of the 1 billion sales claim, considering it to be, in the absence of accredited data, more rhetoric than substance.
Recently a posting by Christopher Tyler on the Elvis Number One's Bulletin Board claimed Ernst Jorgensen had made statements regarding Elvis’ sales in a “private” letter (see posting following Ernst's interview).
With the issue being close to EIN’s heart we contacted Ernst for his comments. In the following interview, he addresses the claimed “private” letter, Elvis vs. The Beatles and how BMG is trying to appeal to particular market segments thru its “genre” releases.
EJ: The claim was historically made by somebody else, before I was involved. I have only a vague, and not supportive idea of how they reached that number. It wasn’t by doing the above multiplication – if so, the number would be staggering (for both Beatles and Elvis)
EIN: The figure of 1 billion has been around for a long time now. What is BMG's official position in 2006 on how many records & CDs Elvis has sold worldwide?
EJ: I don’t know if BMG wants to have an official position on this, but I believe that 1 billion is quite likely.
EIN: What percentage of these sales relate to North America ?
EJ: On a normal release (“30 Number 1 Hits” as an example), total sales are 1/3 from the U.S. and 2/3 from the rest of the world.
EIN: Official RIAA accreditations in the US put Elvis' sales well behind the 600 million or so units claimed for North America . A huge jump in accredited figures will be needed to bridge the 400 million sales difference. Do you think that this is likely to happen or will we continue to see incremental gains in Elvis' overall accredited sales position?
EJ: I’m not sure I understand the question! However, there are many factors contributing to the issue. For example:
EJ: England , certainly.
EIN: What about Japan ? How do sales there compare to those in England ?
EJ : I have no idea, if we are speaking about historical sales. It would be an interesting analysis.
EIN: And how popular is Elvis in South America ?
EJ: Elvis has been very popular in South American countries. Historically however, his sales are certainly less than in Europe. It is one of Elvis' great qualilities how he appeals to people in all countries.
EIN: Are there any countries where sales have been disappointing and fan clubs need to more actively promote Elvis product?
EJ: I don’t think you can look at it that way. There are historical reasons for different sales in different countries. A factor in the U.S. is that it does not have the fan club structure that many other countries have.
EIN: Global sales: Elvis vs. The Beatles. What is your view on the relative sales achievement of the two artists?
EJ : I don’t know much about Beatles sales, but I assume that they could have some of the same problems we have in documenting sales.
EIN: Ernst, It appears Elvis' sales come from numerous "smaller" sales of individual releases compared to The Beatles. Does this mean The Beatles have more record buying fans?
EJ: Great question. In the U.S. records/tapes/CD’s of a song like LOVE ME TENDER (counting all releases) can be documented at about 40 million – that’s only documented sales, not counting any element of speculation.
EIN: BMG and recycled/repackaged Elvis product. Some people (including EIN) are critical that BMG treats the Elvis catalog as a commodity rather than an artistic body of work. Is it fair to say that, as happened by the early 1990s, sales of recycled Elvis product are generally declining?
EJ: Over 12 million sold of “Elvis 30 Number 1 Hits”! If you talk about sales of original albums, they were never the best selling records.
EIN: Elvis was a major seller of albums in the 1950s –early 1960s but his album appeal declined due to the string of soundtrack albums, some good, some poor. Even though things improved from the late 1960s, Elvis was never a seller of albums on the scale of The Beatles, The Eagles, Garth Brooks or Michael Jackson (at his peak). Doesn’t this suggest there are more record buying fans of these artists than Elvis?
EJ: Firstly, see my comment about LOVE ME TENDER. Secondly, the sales potential of music definitely has obviously escalated in recent decades. Elvis’ first album became RCA’s all-time bestseller in 1956 by selling 300, 000 copies. We have had an album selling 10-12 million from from just a few years ago to now. Elvis easily sold 1-2 million copies of his singles back then, and today you hardly sell any. It is a different world, and it becomes fairly meaningless to compare achievements only by sales figures.
EIN: The last “official” figure we saw had global sales of 30 #1’s around 10 million. So it is now globally 12 million?
EJ: I haven’t checked the number recently.
EIN: Ernst, wouldn't it serve Elvis' legacy better if BMG started strategically marketing "genres" of his vast catalog (eg, soul and blues) to those particular market segments? This would build up Elvis' credibility as a serious recording artist and not just a recyclable pop artist.
EJ: That is what we are doing with the 3 new February "genre" releases, Rock , Country and Inspirational (Gospel).
EIN: Critics will say the “genre” albums are just more of the same old recycled product. There have been many Elvis other rock, inspirational and country albums released over the years. Why not promote Elvis’ little known and under appreciated “soul” catalog and open up his appeal to a new market which will grow his legacy rather than just appealing to the same record buying demographic?
EJ: I’m not sure what you mean. We try and market as much of the catalog as possible, but there are recordings that have more sales appeal than others.
EIN: Do we really need a plethora of greatest hits collections, eg. Elvis 30 #1 Hits, Elvis Golden Records Vols 1-5, Presley All-Time Greatest Hits, rather than just concentrating on one or two important releases as happens with artists such as The Beatles?
EJ: Yes we do. That’s how the record business works. We are not deleting titles that our retailers want.
EIN: Yet, for the greatest hits of The Beatles you really only have the Red & Blue albums and The Beatles 1. There is a similar situation with other major artists like Jimi Hendrix, Marc Bolan and The Doors.
EJ: I have certainly seen a lot of Doors compilations, but the point is that Elvis music was developed in the “singles” area, where the others launched their careers when albums had become the main product. We can’t change the past.
EIN: Ernst, thank you very much for taking time to talk to us today. It’s very much appreciated!
Christopher Tyler's posting on ElvisNumberOnes.com (22 Feb 2006)
Hey you all, I had a chance to read an interesting letter today from Ernst Jorgenson to a friend of mine in the music business and Ernst has little doubt in his mind that Elvis not only has sold over a billion records, but has outsold the Beatles (who would be second) by a great deal.
"Elvis Presley is the supreme socio-cultural icon in the history of pop culture"
(Dr. Gary Enders)
"Elvis is the 'glue' which holds our society together....which subconciously gives our world meaning"
"Eventually everybody has to die, except Elvis"
(humorist Dave Barry)
Quote:"He is the "Big Bang", and the universe he detonated is still expanding, the pieces are still flying"
(Greil Marcus, "Dead Elvis")
"I think Elvis Presley will never be solved"
"He was the most popular man that ever walked on this planet since Christ himself was here"
"When I first heard Elvis' voice I just knew I wasn't going to work for anybody...hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail"
"When we were kids growing up in Liverpool, all we ever wanted was to be Elvis Presley"
(Sir Paul McCartney)
Quote:"You can't say enough good things about Elvis. He was one of a kind"
"And don't think for one moment he's just a passing fancy....he's got enough of it to keep him on top for a long time"
(R. Fred Arnold, Fury magazine, Aug 1957)
"It isn't enough to say that Elvis is kind to his parents, sends money home, and is the same unspoiled kid he was before all the commotion began. That still isn't a free ticket to behave like a sex maniac in public"
(Eddie Condon, Cosmopolitan)
Elvis records reaching #2 & #3 on the Cashbox Pop Singles chart:
#2: A Fool Such As I (1959)
#2: A Big Hunk Of Love (1959)
#3: Hard Headed Woman (1958)
#3: One Night (1958)
#3: (You're The Devil) In Disguise (1963)
Tickets for Elvis' show on March 29, 1957 in St. Louis cost $2.00 to $2.50
While in Germany Elvis was hospitalised with tonsillitis in October 1959
Despite being an illegal immigrant, photographic evidence shows Colonel Tom Parker traveled to Canada with Elvis in 1957
Elvis strongly believed there weren't enough good songs in King Creole to justify releasing a soundtrack album. RCA initially agreed, releasing two very successful EPs from the movie. A soundtrack LP eventually followed
During the 1960s Elvis had his own football team, Elvis Presley Enterprises, which played in the Menphis touch football league. In the 1962 final, EPE narrowlt lost to Delta Automatic Transmission. 6-13
In Clambake, (Elvis) Scott Hayward's driving licence shows February 23, 1940...taking 5 years off Elvis' real age
In the 1970s Elvis was ofered $5m to stage a concert in front of the Pyramids in Egypt. When the Colonel declined the offer, Saudi billionaires raised the offer to $10m