Album Title : Elvis' Gold Records Volume 4
Catalogue Number : LPM - 3921
Year Release : 22nd January 1968
Side 1 : Love Letters - Witchcraft - It Hurts Me - What'd I Say - Please Don't Drag That String Around - Indescribably Blue
Side 2 : You're The Devil In Disguise - Lonely Man - A Mess Of Blues - Ask Me - Ain't That Loving You Baby - Just Tell Her Jim Said Hello
Brief History :
Elvis' Gold Records Volume 4 is the thirty-first album by Elvis Presley, issued on RCA Victor in mono and stereo, LPM/LSP 3921, in January 1968, with recording sessions taking place over an eight-year span at RCA Studio B in Nashville, Tennessee, and at RCA Studios and Radio Recorders in Hollywood. It is a compilation of hit singles released between 1961 and 1967, peaking at #33 on the Billboard 200. It was certified Gold on 3/27/1992 by the RIAA.
Although he had remained a popular artist since the release of his previous Golden Records volume in 1963, placing eight albums in the Top Ten and 17 singles in the Top 40, Presley's sales had cooled off since his heyday. The compilation album Elvis for Everyone in 1965 was his first to sell under 300,000 copies, and his last five soundtrack albums had all done progressively worse in the marketplace, units shifted dropping to under 200,000. Singles were no longer reaching the Top 40 automatically, and while his recent 45 "Big Boss Man" sold 350,000, that fell short of the needed 500,000 to qualify for gold status in US singles sales. Usually a guaranteed seller, this volume sold only 400,000 copies; better than his recent soundtrack albums, but well off the mark set by its three predecessors. The future of Presley's career was certainly in question.
Gold Records Vol. 4 comprises five Top 40 A-sides along with seven b-sides, five of which also made the Top 40. Three songs had not been written expressly for Presley: "Love Letters" came from the 1945 film of the same name; "Witchcraft" had been a 1956 hit record for The Spiders; and "What'd I Say" was the Ray Charles classic from 1959. Three b-sides, "Lonely Man," "A Mess of Blues," and "Just Tell Her Jim Said Hello" were old enough to have been included on Golden Records Volume 3, and another b-side, "Ain't That Loving You Baby," came from RCA's furlough session of June 10, 1958, set up to augment their stock of Presley product while their star was in the army.
The first three Gold Records volumes covered two to three years of singles releases, but there was a five-year gap between this and the previous volume. This would be the last of the series issued during Presley's lifetime, the fifth and final volume released posthumously in 1984 surveying singles from 1969 to 1977. Volume 5 would fail to chart.
The July 15, 1997 reissue added six tracks and altered the running order. "Rock-A-Hula Baby" dated from the 1961 soundtrack to Blue Hawaii, pulled off that album as the flip to accompany "Can't Help Falling In Love" as a single. Three tracks were the advance singles for their respective soundtracks: "Bossa Nova Baby" for Fun in Acapulco; "Kissin' Cousins" for its album; and the famous "Return to Sender," released a month before Girls! Girls! Girls!. The flipside to "What'd I Say," "Viva Las Vegas" by the team of Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, would prove a more durable Elvis recording, receiving myriad cover versions including those by the Dead Kennedys, Bruce Springsteen, and Nine Inch Nails. The gospel song "Crying in the Chapel" had been recorded during the sessions for His Hand in Mine, this five year-old track going to #3 and selling a million copies as a single in 1965.
By 1968, the practice of releasing LPs in mono was being discontinued. As a result, RCA issued very few mono copies of Gold Records Vol. 4, and mono pressings of this record are considered collector's items.
Original recordings were produced by Steve Sholes, Joseph Lilley, Chet Atkins, Urban Thielmann, George Stoll, and Felton Jarvis.
*NOTE* Rare & hard to find a copy of this original in not so great condition sold on Ebay for $301.02. (19th March 2013)