On This Day: Elvis Presley Releases His Self-Titled Debut Album in 1956

by Madison Miller

Today is a very important milestone in Elvis Presley history.

On March 23, 1956, the future King of Rock ‘n’ Roll released his very first self-titled debut album. The album would immediately help launch Presley into fame that would soon turn into unprecedented popularity.

In fact, he is still the best-selling solo artist of all time. He is estimated to have close to 1 billion sales worldwide.

Elvis Presley First Album

Elvis Presley’s first released record shows him holding a large acoustic guitar, open-mouthed, with pink and green lettering.

Now, 65 years later, the album remains a staple in helping Presley change the face of rock ‘n’ roll music.

RCA Victor released the album. He recorded the music for the album on January 10 and January 11 in Nashville, Tennessee. Then he recorded even more in the New York studio in late January. Finally, the album also includes sessions originating from his earlier recording sessions with Sun Studio in Memphis.

The debut album soared to No.1 and stayed there for 10 weeks. It made history for being the first rock ‘n’ roll album to place at the top of the charts and to sell over a million.

It continues to be regarded as one of the 500 greatest albums of all time, according to Rolling Stone magazine.

The album features hits like “Blue Suede Shoes,” “One-Sided Love Affair,” “Just Because,” and “Tryin’ to Get to You.”

Story Behind Album Art

The Elvis debut album was an interesting mix of country and blues in a way that was intensely unique. The massive hit, “Heartbreak Hotel,” actually wasn’t included on the album and was released as a single.

According to the Graceland site, the album cover remains one of his most popular. The photo was taken while Elvis Presley was performing with his band in Tampa, Florida on July 31, 1955.

The same style would pop up in later album covers. For example, The Clash released an album in 1979 called London Calling. The cover photo is of Paul Simonon rocking out on his bass with pink and green lettering on the cover.

Telegraph reports that William “Red” Robertson took the photo. Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis’ manager, hired him for the job. William S. Randolph took four portraits for the back sleeve and got the credit. Robertson remained anonymous.

The first album only included 12 different tracks, six on side one and six on side two.