The first thing that comes to mind when you think of Elvis Presley is probably his music. A close second could be his signature dance moves, or maybe his good looks. He is “The King of Rock n’ Roll” after all, so why did he drop a record that didn’t have a single song on it?
Well, it was his manager’s fault. In 1974, Colonel Tom Parker had an idea. Per TV Tropes, Parker had done a deal with RCA Records that gave them the rights to Presley’s entire music catalog. Forced to license all the music through the record label, Parker needed to find a way to make some royalties.
Elvis Presley’s Manager Got Creative
Talented a musician as he was, Elvis Presley was known to be an entertaining guy on stage between songs. So Tom Parker thought, why not? Let’s cut together a record full of jokes and funny moments from his concerts and put it out on our own label.
RCA only owns the music, right?
Per RareRecords.net, “Having Fun with Elvis on Stage” is the only LP “released in his lifetime that was issued on a label other than RCA.” Tom Parker released the LP under the name Boxcar Records and it was sold exclusively at Presley’s concerts.
The plan was clever. Though RCA lawyers quickly nipped it in the bud and “insisted that the label had the rights to this record, too.” They wasted no time in pressing their own version and selling it wide, with it eventually making a run onto the Billboard charts.
Beyond the financials, however, Elvis himself was deeply unhappy with Parker’s decision to release the “talking only” album. The lack of music is one thing, the choppy quality of the banter is another. The album doesn’t really have any organization to it and without any context, the whole thing falls flat.
According to TVTropes.com, it is considered Elvis Presley’s worst record ever. It was so bad that apparently, Elvis himself made sure that it was taken off the market. Despite this, plenty of copies survived.
Elvis Presley’s talking only album is available on YouTube and you can listen below.