Anything about Elvis
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Fri May 16, 2003 12:49 am

I Need Your Love Tonight"/"A Fool Such As I" full-page Billboard ad March 16, 1959

it reads (and is boldprint capitalized) as follows:

MARCH 10: ELVIS' NEWEST POP SINGLE RELEASE SHIPPED OUT TO DEALERS ALL OVER AMERICA!

MARCH 11: GOLD RECORD AWARD SHIPPED TO ELVIS IN GERMANY FOR THIS MILLION SELLER! """""""""""

This is EXACTLY what I mean by RCA press release hype that muddies the waters looking back.

During this period EVERY Elvis single shipped a million to dealers on a standing order basis - however each dealer after 3 months could return unsold copies for cash credit.

There is no way an audited RIAA award would be given after one day of release and before returns are counted! If pressed RCA would have probably said "oh it wasn't an RIAA award it was our own special one"

A good example is "Stuck On You" - 1,400,000 copies were shipped - but 500,000 returned so that gold disk award by the RIAA had wait for a while.

In the USA this return policy existed, by all labels, to about 1989 when to force dealers to move quickly and completely from vinyl to CD the majors stopped the policy. The result being that dealers orders of vinyl - which they could not return dropped massively. Other countries followed suit.

However to get stock out on display the policy has crept in again on a limited basis. In NZ ELV1S is a classic example - upon release the stores were flooded but a month later, overnight , stocks dropped to the usual minimums. A dealer confirmed my suspicions - they were on a sale or return basis - as he said the first Elvis one for over 20 years.

If you read RCA releases on ELV1S carefully - they invariably use the word "shipped" as in - "ELV1S has shipped 16 million worldwide" - but they never mention "sales".

When Shania Twain's Up was released here a few months ago - the mom and pop stores had hundreds of copies on display - the album bombed - one month later the stores were back to one or two copies. Three months later the CD pops up in a discount chain, nationally advertised, at half price each store having a tremendous number of units. Now Mercury/Universal are not stupid enough to make untold thousands of extra copies to flog them off at half price. No. The discount copies were the returns from first release.

This happens time and time again - currently Madonna's new release could have the same fate as the Dixie Chicks and Elton John.

Even The Beatles #1 was heavily discounted after a few months.

The upshot is that with all the games the companies play it is very difficult to get a handle on sales truth which is unfortunate as no real comparisons can be made.

We all know that Elvis has outsold everyone else - the Beatles should come in second. As for Garth, apart from Great Britain and othe small exceptions he is a poor seller in the rest of the world.

It would be great to have sold confirmation proof.

It would also be great to compare Elvis against Elvis - like where does JXL rank against other singles?

Has ELV1S beaten Blue Hawaii in sales - I doubt it.

Fri May 16, 2003 1:27 am

I agree with you 100% Kiwialan, but that does not explain the double album theory or the Camden albums not being counted. I think it is foolish to base sales on playing time rather then the standards of the time! Aloha was a double album and it was considered that way at the time. Elvis In Concert Is another example. The camden releases are full length albums. They should be counted!!!

Again, what you say is accurate, but at the same time nothing is going to convince me that Elvis Presley or Elvis should be just gold or platinum status. I can't believe some of these albums haven't sold more in over 50 years!!!

Same goes for Elvis Christmas Album.