Elvis VINYL in the uk 1956 - 2002:
a brief timeline of major changes
1956 - March
The first ever Elvis record was released in the United Kingdom. It came in two formats: A 7" 45rpm single: (7M 385) or a 10" 78 rpm single: (POP 182)
It was released on the 'His Master's Voice' (HMV) record label. HMV was part of the larger EMI company, who had a "pressing" and "distribution" agreement with RCA.
The 45 rpm single came in a pale yellow company sleeve with red printing. The HMV logo (Nipper) was located top centre. The record label, plum in colour, used gold lettering and had a 'knockout' type centre. It used the EMI matrix number 7XAV.
The 78 rpm single was housed in a black and white company sleeve with black printing. The HMV logo was located slightly to the left at the bottom. The rear of the sleeve promoted other HMV artists. The record label was a light blue colour with white lettering. It used the RCA matrix number G2WB.
All 78's used the RCA system.
1956 - October
Elvis' debut album titled "Rock 'n' Roll" (HMV CLP 1093) was released on the HMV label in the United Kingdom. It came as a 12" 33 rpm long play (LP) record.
The album's front cover was the same as the US version and used a black and white action shot of Elvis from 1955. It had the artist's first name in pink lettering along the left, with his surname in green across the bottom. The HMV logo was located top right.
The record label, plum in colour, used gold lettering and had the HMV logo across the top centre. It used the EMI matrix number 2XAV.
1957 - February
HMV released the first Elvis '(EP) extended play: (HMV 7EG 8199). This was also the soundtrack to his first motion picture 'Love Me Tender'. An extended play record was also 7" in size and played at 45 rpm.
The picture sleeve had a front cover that was completely different to the US version. They used a black and white action shot of Elvis singing "We're Gonna Move" from the movie. It had the album title with the artist's name underneath in black lettering across the bottom. The HMV logo was located top right.
The 'knockout' turquoise record label used silver lettering and had the HMV logo located middle right of centre. It used the RCA matrix number G2WH.
1957 - June?
HMV released a new design and layout for their singles. The front cover for both the 78 and 45 sleeves were very similar. Red and white in colour with 'His Master's Voice' across the top. The slogan underneath read: 'For The Tops in Pops' The HMV logo was located bottom centre. The main design consisted of a group of young people dancing to rock 'n' roll music.
The rear of the 78 sleeve promoted other HMV artists.
1957 - July
End of an era
Note: In 1957, RCA's collaboration with EMI ended, so from this point on new Presley product was released on the RCA label using their new distribution partnership with Decca. EMI through the HMV label continued to issue older Presley material for another eighteen months. This meant it was possible to buy Elvis records on two different labels simultaneously.
The first release was the new single from his second movie titled 'Loving You'. The tracks chosen were 'Teddy Bear'/'Loving You' (RCA 1013). As before it was released on both 45 rpm and 78 rpm formats. No tax codes were used.
The 45 rpm single was housed in a red and white sleeve with the RCA logo located top left. The revolution speed was located bottom right.
The 78 rpm records were housed in brown plain paper sleeves with no reference to the artist or record label.
The record label of both were black in colour and used the large RCA 'lightning bolt' logo. The 45 rpm single had a 'triangular' centre while the 78 had a solid centre. It used the RCA matrix number H2WW.
Around the same time RCA also released their first Elvis extended play record titled 'Peace in the Valley' (RCX 101). It came in a Decca picture sleeve that was identical to the US release and used a beautiful publicity shot of Elvis from 'Love Me Tender'.
The record label followed the same design as the UK RCA 45 rpm single and also had a 'triangular' centre. It used the RCA matrix number H2WH.
1957 - August
RCA, having already issued their first Elvis single and EP, released their first Presley LP which was the soundtrack to his second movie of the same name 'Loving You' (RC 24001).
The front cover had a publicity shot from the movie and was the exact same as the american version but the albums were completely different.
The US release was a standard 12" LP containing fourteen tracks. The UK version was slightly unique 10 inches in size. The album had a total of eight tracks.
The record label again was black in colour using the same large 'RCA' logo. It had no tax code and used the RCA matrix number H2WL.
1957 - October
HMV released their latest Elvis single: 'Trying To Get To You'/'Lawdy, Miss Clawdy' (POP 408). It was pressed using silver lettering instead of gold as printed previously. It used the RCA matrix number F2WW & G2WW.
Older product was re-pressed using the silver print lettering.
The 78 rpm single stayed the same.
1957 - October
HMV released their last ever Elvis single: 'I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone'/'How Do You Think I Feel' (POP 428). It was pressed using silver lettering. It used both the RCA and EMI matrix numbers F2WW & 7XAV.
The 78 rpm single stayed the same.
End of an era (cont'd)
Note: In September 1958 the HMV Elvis catalogue was deleted.
1960 - April
RCA released the first single since Elvis was discharged from the US army. 'Stuck On You'/'Fame and Fortune' (RCA 1187). The 45 rpm sleeve was now red and brown with boxes that could be used to write in catalogue numbers. The single's centre type had now changed from 'triangular' to 'knockout'. It had no tax code and used the RCA matrix number L2WW.
All re-pressings of the older 50's singles from this point on would also have 'knockout' centres.
The 78 rpm design was pretty much the same as before.
1960 - June
RCA released the follow up to 'Elvis' Golden Records'.
In the US, the album was called '50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong, Elvis' Golden Records Vol. 2'.
In the UK it was simply 'Elvis' Golden Records, Vol. 2'. The sleeve had a small modification to the RCA logo. All previous RCA albums up until now had used the same style of logo: Large RCA 'lightning' bolt with the catalogue number and record speed to the right. Underneath it stated: 'A New Orthophonic High Fidelity Recording'. The new look had a smaller RCA logo boxed with the words: 'A New Orthophonic Recording'
The record label was the same but this compilation of previously released material LP used the RCA matrix number LFPP.
1960 - July
RCA released their first LP since Elvis was discharged from the US army. 'Elvis Is Back!' (RD 27171). The album was also issued in stereo (SF 5060). Both sleeves were identical. An impressive gate-fold, where the inner sleeve contained a selection of bonus photos of Elvis in the service. The front cover had a publicity shot from early 1960, the rear sleeve used a smiling shot from March 1958 around the time of his induction.
The record labels still used the large RCA logo, but the stereo labels have the words: 'Living Stereo' either side of the logo and used the E/T tax code. Both formats used the RCA matrix number L2WP.
Note: Around this time RCA issued their last ever Elvis 78 rpm record: 'A Mess of Blues'/'The Girl of My Best Friend' (RCA 1194). Elvis singles going forward were only pressed as a 7" 45 rpm.
1960 - November
Elvis' latest EP: 'Such A Night' (RCX 190) had the same logo changes to the sleeve as were made to the albums. The front cover was exactly the same as the one used for the LP: 'Elvis is Back!'.
The centre type of the record also changed from 'triangular' to 'knockout'. It used the E/T tax code and RCA matrix number L2PH.
All re-pressings of the older 50's EPs from this point on would also have 'knockout' centres.
1961 - January
RCA released Elvis' latest single 'Are You Lonesome Tonight?'/'I Gotta Know' (RCA 1216) in January 1961. The red and brown company sleeve stayed pretty much the same in layout design but the colour had now changed to red and white.
The release of the soundtrack EP 'Follow That Dream' (RCX 211) saw another change to the RCA logo. The sleeve now read: 'RCA VICTOR' and to the right had a smaller RCA 'lightning' logo.
The record was still pressed using the same layout as before, possibly using up old stock. It was also issued with the new RCA Victor small silver dot logo. It used the Z/T tax code and RCA matrix number N2PH.
1962 - December
RCA released 'Rock 'n' Roll No. 2' which was originally released in mono by HMV back in April 1957. This LP was issued in both mono (RD 7528) and electronic stereo (SF 7528). The front cover was completely different to the HMV version. It used an old publicity shot from 'Love Me Tender' and the RCA logo changed once again. It now showed 'RCA Victor'. First issues of the stereo sleeve had 'Stereo - electronically processed' under the logo. This was removed on later copies.
The record label design was also updated and stated the 'RCA VICTOR' change located on top of a smaller 'silver dot' lightning logo. It used the Z/T tax code and RCA matrix numbers G2WP mono and M2PY stereo. The G2 represents previous mono recordings from 1956. The M2 possibly relates to the "Electronic" work done in 1961 on the stereo LP.
Re-issues of older albums were pressed using this label.
1963 - February
Elvis' latest single 'One Broken Heart For Sale'/'They Remind Me Too Much Of You' (RCA 1337) taken from his latest movie: 'It Happened At The World's Fair' was the first new single to use the new label. The previous single 'Return To Sender' /'Where Do You Come From' (RCA 1320) released in November 1962 had used both the new and older labels. This was probably done to use up old stock. It used the M/T tax code and RCA matrix number PPKM.
Older singles were re-pressed using this new label.
1964 - April
The first EP to be pressed only using the new 'RCA VICTOR' label was 'Love in Las Vegas' (RCX 7141) released in April 1964. The label though was first seen on the previous EP: 'Kid Galahad' (RCX 7106). This was also pressed using the older labels again to use up old stock. It used the M/T tax code and RCA matrix number RPKB.
Older EP's were re-issued using the new label.
The release of the album 'Elvis' Golden Records, Vol. 3' (RCA RD/SF 7630) saw yet another modification to RCA's logo. This time, the small 'silver dot' was changed in colour to red.
NOTE: This alteration did not affect singles or EP's.
The front cover used a publicity shot from the movie "It Happened At The World's Fair" The rear sleeve had a publicity shot from the movie "Fun In Acapulco".
The record label used the M/T tax code and RCA matrix number PPRM (mono) and PPRS (stereo).
1967 - June
This was the last ever Elvis extended play released in the UK. 'Easy Come, Easy Go' (RCX 7187) released in June 1967. This now left Lp's and singles as the ongoing vinyl format. The front cover used a publicity shot from the movie "Girl Happy". This EP had no tax code and used the RCA matrix number T2PH.
The release of the soundtrack album "Speedway" marked the end of the RCA "Red Dot" black label. It had been in use since 1964.
The front and rear cover of this LP used various shots taken from the movie.
The record labels used the J/T tax code and RCA matrix number WPRM.
In February 1969, RCA issued Elvis' latest single 'If I Can Dream'/'Memories' (RCA 1795). The sleeve was totally changed in both colour and design. The original red and white single sleeve was replaced on both sides by using a green top half with an new orange 'RCA' logo and a white bottom half with the same logo in green. On the rear of the sleeve, the words 'Made in England' ran down both sides.
The black label was now changed to orange with a computer style 'RCA' logo running down the left of the spindle hole. The 'knockout' centre type remained. 1969-70 first variations using this label stated 'MANUFACTURED BY RCA LTD'.
NOTE: Later releases or re-issues stated 'MANUFACTURED BY RCA LIMITED'
Older singles and EP's were re-pressed using this label.
The soundtrack album to Elvis' recent hit TV Special was released in mono only using the new record label.
'Elvis' (RD 8011) had a front cover shot of Elvis singing the shows closing number: 'If I Can Dream'. The new computer style 'RCA' logo located top left, with the word 'VICTOR' in the same typeface top right.
The record label colour was now changed to orange and matched the same layout as the 'If I Can Dream'single. The labels size was smaller than the standard size used up until now. Because of this, the label was known affectionately as 'small orange'.
RD 8011 was the only 'new' album issued with this label. The 'small orange' label was primarily used on re-pressings of older albums that had been deleted.
In the United States, as part of the 1968 NBC TV Special, one of the shows sponsors 'Singer' released an album 'Elvis sings Flaming Star'. Later, RCA in the UK released an identical album (INTS 1012) on their new 'INTERNATIONAL (camden)' budget label.
The front cover used a publicity shot from the movie 'Stay Way, Joe', while the rear cover advertised the four albums in the 'Golden Records' series plus Elvis' two gospel albums.
The record label had a lime green colour with the now standard computer stamped RCA logo running down the left hand side. The words 'INTERNATIONAL (camden) ran across the middle right of the spindle hole.
The album 'From Elvis in Memphis' (RD/SF 8029) was the last album to be release in both mono and stereo. All new albums were released in stereo only. The sleeves were identical, and the front cover had a great shot of Elvis from his TV Special in 1968 even though the content on this album had nothing to do with it. The photo on the rear was a publicity still from the movie 'Viva Las Vegas'.
The 'small orange' label had now already been replaced for this album by the standard sized 'large orange' version.
Some older albums were re-pressed using this label.
Note: 1970 - 1981 RCA opened their own production plant in the UK to press and distribute their own records, but still used Decca and CBS pressings to cover the high demand.
The 'orange label' used for single and album releases had been the norm for the last nine years. The release of the album 'Elvis - The '56 Sessions Vol. 1' saw the introduction of a new blue label with a scripted 'elvis' logo across the top.
The single 'Old Shep'/'Paralysed' taken from this album also used the same label.
Some older albums were re-pressed using this label.
The latest LP release from the Camden label saw the 'RCA' logo completely omitted from the sleeve and record label.
Some previous Camden albums were re-released using the same changes to both the sleeve and record.
On the third anniversary of Elvis' death, RCA re-introduced the 'International' (INTS) catalogue. Like before it was a budget label, but this time full-price albums were re-released at a reduced price. There was a slight colour change too. The previous International albums were pressed using a lime colour, the new version used a light green label. Some new albums were also released using this label.
In some cases, older surplus 'PL' or 'SF' stereo sleeves had either an 'INTS''foldover'or standard sticker(s) applied over the old 'SF' catalogue number to change them to the International catalogue. These sleeves would contain various older labels: orange, elvis blue, or new black.
A new colour label was introduced by RCA around this time. It was known simply as 'New Black' and kept the same logo type that had been used up until now. This label was primarily used for re-pressings of previous singles. It would be used later on re-pressings of older albums.
The LP 'Elvis At His Best' (Nov 1981) & single 'Green, Green Grass of Home'/'Release Me'/'Solitaire' (May 1984) were the first 'new' releases that used the 'New Black' label.
1983 - October
The UK catalogue saw records now being manufactured in Germany instead of Britain. These albums were imported to the UK and seemed to be better quality than the previous 'International' ones. As before some of these German albums had an 'INTS' sticker applied to the front and rear to change it to the international catalogue.
Between 1983 and 1985, most of Elvis' original albums were re-released using the German 'NL' catalogue. First issues had GEMA
with BIEM underneath. This was reversed on the later pressings.
1985 - August
In 1983, RCA bought part of the 'Arista' label that was owned by the 'Bertelsmann Group'. Even though this meant they were partners of some sort, they still operated as separate companies.
In 1985, they formed a new company called 'RCA/Ariola'.
1986 - January
RCA were taken over by General Electric, who later in December, sold the music section of RCA to Bertelsmann .
1987 - January
Bertelsmann took complete control of RCA and incorporated it into 'Bertelsmann Music Group' (BMG)