THE release of a new Elvis Presley record is an event anxiously awaited by fans throughout the country. The discs have no time to collect dust on the dealers’ shelves before they are whisked away to grace the turntables of the eager record-buyers.

It is hardly a question now of whether or not the song will be a hit. The query raised is “What position will it reach in the NME charts? Viewers to AR-TV’s “Cool For Cats” last Friday caught the first airing of the latest Presley issue. “One Night” backed with “I Got Stung.”

It mY have been the first exposure of this record in Britain, but it certainly won’t be the last! In the weeks to come, disc-jockeys will doubtless be bombarded with requests from all corners of the British Isles.

Sales too are in a very healthy state, and it looks as if one of those sides – or possibly both – will give Elvis his twenty-seventh British hit parade entry.

t all started back in May, 1956, when “Heartbreak Hotel” made its debut in the best sellers. The name Elvis Presley meant little to British fans then, but he was to become one of the biggest show business phenomena of the century!

“Heartbreak Hotel” stayed in the charts right through till October and reached second place.

But only one week after it first appeared, Elvis scored again with “Blue Suede Shoes,” which rose to No.9 and was with us for more than two months.


ore that song had time to get out of the lists, though he did it again. This time “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You” was the title. It did not reach as high a place as the previous releases, but nevertheless got to No.14, eventually departing the same week as “Heartbreak Hotel.”

His next disc equalled the success of his first. “Hound Dog” first came into our charts in the September of 1956, and did not drop out until March of the following year. Between those dates it reached No.2 position.

During the time “Hound Dog” was in the best-selling lists, no less than three other Presley discs came and went. “Blue Moon,” “Love Me Tender,” then “I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine” reached Nos. 9, 11 and 23 respectively.

Then two minor representatives – “Mystery Train” entered the Top Thirty in the middle of February, 1957, reached 25th place, and dropped out just over a month later. Against the strong opposition from Bill Haley and Little Richard, Elvis’ version of “Rip It Up” reached on No.27 in two weeks.

If every cloud has a silver lining (which is doubtful) Presley’s share of silver was very large indeed for such a small cloud!

“Too Much” was his next release, and though it only remained in the charts for six weeks, it shot up to sixth place.

A No.1 hit in Britain still eluded Elvis, though, and this was remedied with his next record. “All Shook Up” first appeared on June 28, 1957, and it stayed in the Top Thirty right up until November 15 – holding top place for seven weeks.

To follow came three notable discs, all of which made the Top Ten. First came, “Teddy Bear” which reached third place, finally falling from grace one week after “All Shook Up.”

“Paralysed” came in on August 30 (seven weeks after “Teddy Bear”) but left the sellers the same week as “All Shook Up.” This reached a peak position of No.8.

On October 4, 1957, “Party” reached the chart, and it saw the New Year in, falling out on January 15. It turned out to be the third Presley record to reach second place.

Here, a rather strange thing happened. While “Party” was in the Top Thirty – a period of something over three months – five Elvis Presley recordings went in and out of the best sellers.

“Got A Lot O’ Livin’ to Do” attained 19th position between October and November, 1957. “Loving You” stopped only three weeks in November and got no higher than No.24.

“Lawdy Miss Clawdy” came next, and between November 8 and December 13, secured a strong position in the chart – No.15.

Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me” was a Top Ten entrant, and within the period November 15 to January 10, it made eighth place.

“Trying To Get To You” figured in the top sellers for the whole of November, and did only half as well as “Santa” for it reached No.16.


From the middle to the end of January last year “I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone” fluctuated around the bottom of the chart, its best spot being No.21.

However, January 24 saw the start of yet another great run for Elvis. On that date the title song of his film “Jailhouse Rock” made its bow. This proved to be his second No.1 seller here, for it shot straight to the top, the first record ever to do so in Britain.

The remarkable fact about this disc is that it was selling against its own competition! That’s not as silly as it sounds for the EP of “Jailhouse Rock,” was in the Top Thirty from January 31 to March 7.

It reached 18th place – quite a feat for an EP, which costs twice as much as the ordinary 78, and even more of an achievement when you consider that in effect Presley had the same record twice in the hit parade at one time.

Certainly, if sales for the EP had not been so high the single disc would have had a much longer run at the top.

Since then, Elvis has gone from strength to strength. He has had four further releases (excluding the current one) all of which have got into the top three.

Between February and May last year, “Don’t” made second place. Before that was out of the lists, “Wear My Ring” was in. It was a “regular” until July 11, and reached No.3.

One place higher was the fate of “Hard Headed Woman” and it did just that coming in on July 25 and making its exit the first week in October.

That same week saw the entry of “King Creole.” Presley seems to have the happy knack of scoring with the title songs of his films. This was no exception; it attained No.2 spot during a seven-week stay in the Top Ten, and made its final appearance in the chart only last week.

Whether Elvis will score his third No.1 success with “One Night”/”I Got Stung remains to be seen, but if the law of averages is anything to go by, he is about due for one.

At least, his stint in the U.S. army made no difference to his British fans. As long as he keeps on making records they will buy them.

David Sampson, New Musical Express, 16 January 1959