Elvis Presley’s physical singles sales

Sales per year

Figures above refer to sales based on the release date of a single, independently of when the single was actually sold. For example, 1954’s Sun singles have been mostly sold through the years rather than on their first year.

The true start of Presley‘s career has been insane. His singles from 1956 moved a combined 16,35 million units. Amazingly, his singles cumulatively topped 5 million during 10 consecutive years. He never dropped below 1 million until his passing, registering 22 years in a row over that barrier.

We can notice that the US represented more than 75% of his sales during the initial hype. That share dropped year after year until hitting a low of 39% – and a high of 61% abroad – in 1960 thanks to It’s Now Or Never and You Are Lonesome Tonight? which remain his only two 2-million sellers outside of the US. His large sales outside of the US and the UK lasted from 1960 to 1964. After that period, the gospel tune Crying In The Chapel and Pot Luck singles maintained his popularity stateside while it went down elsewhere, proportionally speaking.

During the later part of his career the promotion was focused on his largest markets, arguably the US and the UK. The only exception came in 1969/1970 when In the Ghetto, Suspicious Minds and The Wonder of You were global hits.

This table is fundamental. I already pointed out that his big hits are by far his main assets to sell compilations globally nowadays, while in the US it is possible to sell relevant amounts of various kind of recordings. The root cause appears on this page. If it was possible to make money from moderate sellers in the US, it wasn’t profitable to promote tracks that weren’t so strong in many markets. Thus, RCA focused on Presley‘s main markets for his weakest material while giving him a stronger push elsewhere for singles with higher potential.

The total of 135 million puts him nearly 20 million ahead of the Beatles in physical singles sales. Now, has he sold more units in this format than Bing Crosby? That’s a real question!

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Robert

Did you include Hound Dog with Don’t be Cruel?

Colin Bratkovich

Robert /IF you are noting MY review of Presley physical singles (using original RCA record catalogs) ,I used CHARTMASTERS own list to (155).It will be up to CHARTMASTERS to further check & confirm .Hopefully ,when time permits ,they will find my research useful, as well as a needed update of missing sales data.

Colin Bratkovich

MORE of the end of Presley physical SINGLES up to 1968/CHARTMASTERS (no.64) finds PUPPET ON A STRING /TELL ME WHY.As TELL ME WHY is already at (no.58),it should be dropped./CHARTMASTERS (no.76). INDESCRIBABLY BLUE is noted at 460,000,yet the RCA 1967 catalog gives it over half a million./The same for SPINOUT (no.78) ,OVER a half a million. CHARTMASTERS has it at 430,000./As CHARTMASTERS has noted many titles that were ALSO on EP,or originally on EP in the (US),these titles,mostly BRITISH HMV issues,are more than fair to note,as I am noting them as all PHYSICAL releases before 1968./As many other countries issued… Read more »

Colin Bratkovich

MORE at last/CHARTMASTERS (no.47) as I’m YOURS at 940,000.THE RCA BLUE catalog credits ONLY it’s original flip “IT”s A LONG LONELY HIGHWAY as a HALF MILLION SELLER,/I made an error-I SHOULD HAVE noticed no.79 WITH your number 134/OTHERWISE-as far as SINGLE RELEASES ,the Elvis Presley history of sales is given another (early) look?Also keep in mind,people like MJD & AL at CHARTMASTERS,these are OFFICIALLY from RCA-before the recording industry began changing RULES./A GOLD RECORD was over a MILLION COPIES for SINGLES/A GOLD ALBUM was over a MILLION DOLLARS-not copies./RECORD COMPANIES that issued GOLD records THEN,had standards.Looking back,it’s unfortunate that the… Read more »

Colin Bratkovich

MORE& MORE/CHARTMASTERS-already reported but (no.126) is NOT PRESLEY.Get rid of this garbage/CHARTMASTERS (no.134) notes LAWSY MISS CLAWDY /SHAKE RATTLE & ROLL at 50,000./The RCA RED catalog ONLY lists SHAKE RATTLE AND ROLL as a WORLDWIDE HALF MILLION SELLER/Please change/CHARTMASTERS (no.128) notes I DON’T CARE IF THE SUN DON’t SHINE at 80,000.The RCA RED catalog listed it as over HALF A MILLION WORLDWIDE sold.Please change.

Colin Bratkovich

MORE/MORE/CHARTMASTERS (no.84) as MYSTERY TRAIN/I FORGOT TO REMEMBER TO FORGET is noted at 380,000.First of all DROP MYSTERY TRAIN -as it’s titled on your no.141.-More so,it also charted without it’s original US flip.THE RCA RED catalog credits I FORGOT TO REMEMBER TO FORGET as an official WORLDWIDE HALF MILLION SELLER.Change your low figure on this./CHARTMASTERS no.85 as YOURE A HEARTBREAKER at 380,000./THE RCA RED catalog only noted it;s original flip side MILKCOW BLUES BOOGIE at WORLDWIDE HALF A MILLION -add this one/CHARTMASTERS no.101 notes MONEY HONEY at 220,000./The RCA RED catalog notes it as WORLDWIDE HALF A MILLION copies/Change it/

Colin Bratkovich

MORE OF singles info/CHARTMASTERS (no.70) as BABY LETS PLAY HOUSE/I’M LEFT YOUR RIGHT SHES GONE should be broken up.Perhaps with CHARTMASTERS (no.133) ?/CHARTMASTERS no.61 GUITAR MAN has got to be low? /CHARTMASTERS (no,75) US MALE is low.A later RCA catalog gave credit to it’s (low) charted flip STAY AWAY at HALF A MILLION-a dumb mistake-It’s really US MALE /CHARTMASTERS (no.83) credits BLUE MOON at 380,000.RCA RED listed it at over HALF A MILLION sales.Change it/

Colin Bratkovich

CHARTMASTERS (no.37) credits VIVA LAS VEGAS/WHAT’D I SAY at 1,370,000.The RCA RED catalog notes ONLY VIVA LAS VEGAS as a WORLDWIDE MILLION SELLER.As the flip side did chart slightly over it in the (US),the rest of the world found Viva Las Vegas the charted item.I would DROP What’d I Say on this one./CHARTMASTERS (no.41) notes I FEEL SO BAD at 1,050.000.It is also a RCA RED catalog entity as a WORLDWIDE MILLION SELLER.However,it;s original flip side ,a minor charted entity in the US,was a huge seller elsewhere in the world.Indeed WILD IN THE COUNTRY got a silver DISC award for… Read more »

Colin Bratkovich

MORE/MORE/& info again/CHARTMASTERS (no.26) lists ONE NIGHT at 1,770,000.Later than 1964 sales perhaps made this title a million seller,although original charted positions were high in top ten.This included R&B success & worldwide top ten charted placings The RCA RED catalog DOES NOT list it at all/It DOES list it’s original ‘flip’ I GOT STUNG as a WORLDWIDE MILLION SELLER & a DOMESTIC (US) MILLION seller.Look at this,as well as (later) sales-& add I GOT STUNG.Perhaps RCA’s bean counters messed up? CHARTMASTERS (no.29) TOO MUCH/TOO MUCH is listed as 1,660,000.As BOTH titles are given the nod as WORLDWIDE MILLION SELLERS &… Read more »

Colin Bratkovich

MORE /MORE. plus/CHARTMASTERS no.16) CAN’t HELP FALLING IN LOVE is noted at 2,470,000.IT was noted by RCA RED as a MILLION SELLER as well as a DOMESTIC (US) MILLION SELLER.Somehow,& unlike regular policy,it’s sales were presented to the RIAA (1961-62)-which is THE DOMESTIC (US) MILLION “GOLD”.Or perhaps another was issued by RCA as well?In any case,your figure is too low.The original flip “ROCK A HULA BABY is also noted by the RCA RED catalog as a WORLDWIDE MILLION SELLER .Another title that needs to be added. CHARTMASTERS (no.22) has WOODEN HEART at 1,960,000.The RCA RED catalog also introduced this title… Read more »

Colin Bratkovich

MORE of MORE or MORE info/CHARTMASTERS (no.9) notes TEDDY BEAR at 3,030,000>The RCA RED catalog also has it as a WORLDWIDE MILLION SELLER & Also lists it’s original flip LOVING YOU as a WORLDWIDE MILLION SELLER & a DOMESTIC (US) MILLION SELLER as well.As a charted B side,it needs to be added as a verified title. CHARTMASTER (no.11) has GOOD LUCK CHARM at 2,840,000 .AS a RED RCA catalog entity,it is noted as a WORLDWIDE MILLION SELLER & a DOMESTIC (US) MILLION SELLER.BUT where is the flip-ANYTHING THAT’s Part OF YOU?The RCA RED catalog notes it as a WORLDWIDE MILLION… Read more »

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