During Elvis Presley’s stint in the United States Army, 1958-1960, his RCA label kept him in the limelight by releasing a series of singles and four compilation albums. Elvis’ Golden Records Volume 2: 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong was the last of the four to be issued. Released during November of 1959, it sold over a million copies.
The album cover, with Elvis in a gold suit, was one of his most memorable. Phil Ochs, Bon Jovi, and Rod Stewart, among others, would parody the cover on albums of their own. Bon Jovi released 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong as a Box Set during 2004. The title came from the number of singles Elvis had sold worldwide. “Fifty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong” was the title of a 1927 song which became a hit for Sophie Tucker.
It is a short album with 10 tracks clocking in at around the 24 minute mark. It was comprised of the A and B sides of his 1958 and 1959 single releases except for “Hard Headed Woman.”
The album catches his music at an early crossroads of his career. Before his entrance into the Army, Elvis was in full rock mode. When he returned from the service he began to move in a more pop direction. The tracks contained here cover both his rock and pop sides.
“Don’t” and “Wear My Ring Around Your Neck” were issued as back to back singles during the first half of 1958 and were the first to reflect a more pop oriented sound. It was the second of the two which featured the smooth type vocal that would be a constant presence on many of his future releases.
On the rock side of the coin was “”I Got Stung” which featured one of the more frenetic vocals of Elvis’ career plus his number one hit “A Big Hunk O’ Love,” which was recorded while he was on leave .
Straddling the middle ground was the old Hank Snow hit “(Now And Then There’s) A Fool Such As I” and “One Night,” which would be re-released in The U.K. during 2005 and become their National Singles Chart’s 1000th number one.
Elvis Presley was the first artist to use compilation albums, and especially Greatest Hits albums, to their fullest effect. Many of his early singles were separate entities and not contained on his studio releases. When they were gathered together onto one album, they became instant commercial successes.
Today Elvis’ Golden Records Volume 2: 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong has been superseded and made obsolete by dozens of releases which have re-packaged the music. In its day, however, it was an essential album and, if you want to travel back to the Elvis of the late 1950s, it is still a good listen.
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