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Elvis in HMV Record Catalogues and Flyers (1956 – ’58)

 

By Alan White

HMV pamphlets top2 (Alan White)
 
It was (and still is) very common for Record Companies to promote their latest releases through in-store posters, flyers and record catalogues. Most of the major companies in the 1950′s published regular (monthly) editions of their catalogue and these would then be sent to Record Stores and/or be made available to the record buying public. These publications were often only printed in small quantities and they would usually be thrown away as soon as the latest (and more up to date) catalogue had presented itself, making them nice collectibles 60 years into the future.
 
In this article we take a chronological look at how Elvis’ records (78 and 45 RPM singles, EP’s, LP’s) on the HIS MASTER’S VOICE label in the United Kingdom were presented in their flyers and catalogues between March ’56 – January ’58.
 
We will start our journey in March 1956 when Elvis’ first HMV record was released!
 
The “HIS MASTER’S VOICE” Records catalogues measure 10 by 21.3 cm.
The YOUR GUIDE to the BEST SELLERS are 19 by 9 cm closed, and 19 by 26.6 when fully opened.

 
 
 

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HMV pamphlet 1956-03 (Alan White) 02 HMV pamphlet 1956-03 (Alan White) 01

MARCH 1956 |
“HIS MASTER’S VOICE” Records

 
The first time Elvis’ name appears in the monthly His Master’s Voice Records catalog, is in March of 1956 when Heartbreak Hotel / I Was The One became his premiere single on the British label.
 
Elvis is being formally introduced in the THIS MONTH’S NEW HIS MASTER’S VOICE RECORDS section as: “Presenting on H.M.V. ELVIS PRESLEY”.
 
In February, Elvis had performed Heartbreak Hotel (his first single on the RCA Victor label) during his third appearance on Stage Show and by the time HMV released the song in the UK it was already skyrocketing up the charts in the USA, eventually becoming the biggest seller of 1956.
 
Hearbreak Hotel reached the number 1 position on Billboard and number 2 in the UK. Elvis Presley had arrived (with a big bang!) on two major record labels, on both sides of the ocean!

 
 
 

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HMV pamphlet 1956-06 (Alan White) 01 HMV pamphlet 1956-06 (Alan White) 02

JUNE 1956 |
“HIS MASTER’S VOICE” Records

 
In the June 1956 catalog we encounter Elvis’ second single on HMV, Blue Suede Shoes / Tutti Frutti. This record was actually released to the public the previous month.
 
The release of this Elvis single gets a more prominent mention when compared to the first time he appeared in the HMV catalog: Elvis shares the bottom half of a text-box with major recording star Perry Como.
 
Blue Suede Shoes had been a number one hit for Carl Perkins, and during 1956 it was covered by many singers, including Elvis Presley who also used it as the opening song of his debut album that same year.
 
Blue Suede Shoes reached the number 20 position on Billboard, while it climbed up to the number 9 spot in the UK.

 
 
 

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JUNE 1956 | YOUR GUIDE To The BEST SELLERS

 
Here we have a rare pamphlet from June, 1956. Four major record companies in the UK (HMV, Columbia, Parlophone and MGM) had
joined forces to publish a monthly “YOUR GUIDE to the BEST SELLERS” in order to encourage record shops to stack their products.
 
By this time Elvis only had two records out, but both are mentioned on this alphabetical list:
- Blue Suede Shoes
- Heartbreak Hotel
 
HMV Your Guide To Best Sellers 1956-06 (Alan White) 01

 

HMV Your Guide To Best Sellers 1956-06 (Alan White) 02

 
 
 

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HMV pamphlet 1956-07 (Alan White) 01

JULY 1956 | “HIS MASTER’S VOICE” Records

 
Only four months after his debut single, Elvis graced the cover of the HMV Records catalog. Next to that he had not one, but two text-boxes all to himself and both were displayed on top of their respective pages. Plenty of proof that it had taken Elvis Presley only two records to become a major player among the big guns in the British record industry.
 
On the page below to the left, we have a short A to Z listing of new songs released in July.
I Want You, I Need You, I Love / My Baby Left Me was Elvis’ third single on HMV.
 
On the following page we are given a bit more information about Elvis’ latest single as part of the THIS MONTH’S NEW HIS MASTER’S VOICE RECORDS section.
Note that Elvis is hailed as “AMERICA’S WONDER BOY OF SONG”.
 
And on the page below to the right we have the BEST SELLERS ALREADY ISSUED ON HIS MASTER’S VOICE section. Elvis once again has a text-box to himself on top of the page, and both of his earlier records are presented here. Also the “WONDER BOY” message gets another mention.
 
I Want You, I Need You, I Love reached the number 14 position in the UK while it went to number 1 in the USA.

 

HMV pamphlet 1956-07 (Alan White) 02 HMV pamphlet 1956-07 (Alan White) 04 HMV pamphlet 1956-07 (Alan White) 03

 
 
 

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HMP POP HITS 1956-07 (Alan White) 01

JULY 1956 | H.M.V. Pop Hits

 
HMV had coupled some of their latest releases and promoted them as “Pop Hits” through this three panel flyer.
The “Wonderboy Of Song” takes the top spot on the middle page with his most recent single.
 
This H.M.V. Pop Hits (July 1956) pamphlet measures 20.3 by 12.8 cm closed (as seen to the left), and 20.3 by 38.4 cm when fully opened (below).

 

HMP POP HITS 1956-07 (Alan White) 02

 
 
 

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HMV pamphlet 1956-11 (Alan White) 02 HMV pamphlet 1956-11 (Alan White) 01

NOVEMBER 1956 |
“HIS MASTER’S VOICE” Records

 
In the NEW NOVEMBER ISSUES department of this month’s catalogue we see the release of Elvis’ first British LP: Rock ‘N Roll (actually released in October).
 
The cover-artwork of Elvis’ debut album on HMV was identical to his first LP in the USA (‘Elvis Presley’, released in March 1956), but 5 out of the 12 tracks on the album were replaced with different songs.
Around the time Elvis’ first UK album was released (7 months after the US version), his second album (‘Elvis’, released in October 1956) went on sale in the USA. The British fans had to wait another 5 more months before HMV would treat them to the LP that would eventually be re-titled Rock ‘N Roll No. 2 and sport an alternative cover (and one of the coolest ever!).
 
Released in November 1956, two ‘old’ Sun tracks were chosen for Elvis’ fifth single on the HMV label:
Blue Moon / I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine.
 
Both Elvis Presley (in the USA) and Rock ‘N Roll (in the UK) went to number 1.
 
Blue Moon did not chart in the USA, but it reached the number 9 position in the UK.

 
 
 

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NOVEMBER 1956 | Your Guide To The Best Sellers

 
And here we have the November 1956 publication of “YOUR GUIDE to the BEST SELLERS” for which HMV,
Columbia, Parlophone and MGM are now joined by Capitol.
 
With the exception of Blue Suede Shoes, all of Elvis’ records are still on the Best Seller Guide:
- Blue Moon
- Don’t Be Cruel (B-side)
- Heartbreak Hotel
- Hound Dog
- I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
- Love Me Tender (oddly enough on the November Guide, but not released until December)
 
HMV Your Guide To Best Sellers 1956-11 (Alan White) 01

 

HMV Your Guide To Best Sellers 1956-11 (Alan White) 02

 
 
 

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DECEMBER 1956 | “HIS MASTER’S VOICE” Records

 
In the THIS MONTH’S NEW RECORDS section of the December 1956 catalog, we find two new Elvis songs:
Love Me Tender / Anyway You Want Me was Elvis’ sixth single (in just ten months) on the HMV label.
 
Another premiere this month: the back-cover is dedicated to HMV’s complete Presley catalog (six singles and one LP).
 
Love Me Tender went to number 11 in the UK and it reached the number 1 spot in the USA.
 
HMV pamphlet 1956-12 (Alan White) 01 HMV pamphlet 1956-12 (Alan White) 03 HMV pamphlet 1956-12 (Alan White) 02

 
 
 

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DECEMBER 1956 | Your Guide To The Best Sellers

 
Notice how common it was in those years for many different artists to be covering the same song. Quite often a certain
title would be on the chart in three, or four, or even five different versions. And as can be seen on the Best Seller Guides
presented in this article, these were not just strictly different versions released by different record companies either.
 
The Elvis titles on this month’s Guide are the same as the previous month:
- Blue Moon
- Don’t Be Cruel (B-side)
- Heartbreak Hotel
- Hound Dog
- I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
- Love Me Tender
 
HMV Your Guide To Best Sellers 1956-12 (Alan White) 01

 

HMV Your Guide To Best Sellers 1956-12 (Alan White) 02

 
 
 

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HMV pamphlet 1957-01 (Alan White) 02 HMV pamphlet 1957-01 (Alan White) 01

JANUARY 1957 |
“HIS MASTER’S VOICE” Records

 
January 1957 saw the release of Elvis’ first Extended Play (of only two) on the HMV label: Love Me Tender.
 
The EP gets a short mention in THIS MONTH’S NEW RECORDS alphabetical listing (to the right), before we are given a bit more information (including the tracklisting) two pages later in the NEW JANUARY ISSUES section (below to the left).
 
On the following page we once again see a complete list of Elvis’ HMV records released up until that point in the PREVIOUSLY ISSUED RECORDS section.
 
And for the second month in a row, Elvis has the back-cover all to himself. This time the Love Me Tender soundtrack EP is brought to full attention of the public.
 
Chart listings for Love Me Tender (EP) can not be given since Billboard did not start an official EP chart until October 1957, while in the UK the first EP chart emerged as late as 1960.

 

HMV pamphlet 1957-01 (Alan White) 03 HMV pamphlet 1957-01 (Alan White) 05 HMV pamphlet 1957-01 (Alan White) 04

 
 
 

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As of March 1957, the format of the HMV Records catalogues changed. The total amount of pages went from 24 to 16, while it’s size went from narrow (10 x 21.3 cm) to wide (12.8 x 20.2 cm).
All of these, plus plenty more rare Elvis-related HMV flyers, coming up in PART TWO.

Stay Tuned!

 
 
 

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Elvis Presley HMV Worldwide DiscographyTHANKS and CREDITS:
 
All catalogues and flyers that are presented in this article are from ALAN WHITE‘s private collection.
My sincere thanks and appreciation to Alan for scanning and sharing these rare pieces of vintage paperwork with the visitors of Echoes!
 
Alan is the author of Elvis Presley HMV Worldwide Discography.
Copies of this essential book are available at: THE ELVIS SHOP LONDON
 
 
For a collection of rare HMV Sheet Music, please check out this kool GER RIJFF article: HMV MEETS RCA VICTOR

 
 
 

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HMV pamphlets TOP (Alan White)

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Josep #

    Excellent article, Alan.

    Thanks a lot for taking the time to scan this stuff for Echoes. It’s such a visual treat !

    March 5, 2015
  2. Jim #

    Great article.
    Thank you Alan.

    March 5, 2015
  3. Excellent to see these finally get a good viewing, many thanks Alan for sharing these, wonderful stuff..

    March 5, 2015
  4. Paul Pearce #

    Wonderful ! Thanks for putting it altogether.

    March 5, 2015
  5. Alan White #

    Thanks guys it really makes it all worthwhile when other fans appreciate my collection, and thanks to Bob for displaying it professionally .

    March 5, 2015
  6. colonel snow #

    Nice pieces of history.

    March 7, 2015
  7. Alan White #

    Thanks Colonel Snow.

    March 8, 2015
  8. Pink&Black #

    Very interesting read, thanks for sharing. ‘America’s Wonder Boy of Song’ that made me smile.

    March 10, 2015
  9. Alan White #

    I still need a couple of Penny Pamphlets, if anyone has any for sale (Elvis era), please let me know, Alan.

    March 12, 2016
  10. Bill Jubb #

    Why were the early records of Elvis issued on HMV in the UK and not on London American like the other Sun artists material was ?
    Was it to do with the timing of the sale of Elvis’ contract to RCA ? Or is there another reason?

    May 27, 2016

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