Friday, May 7, 2021

The Swedish RCA LP's

Examples of Elvis LP titles manufactured in Sweden in the late 1970's.
Photo: The "RCA Elvis" Facebook page.

This week I started collecting Swedish RCA LP's in earnest. But the fact is I have done this unknowingly since I bought my first Elvis album Blue Christmas back in the late 1970's. That one was manufactured in Sweden, as stated on the back cover which also included some text in Swedish. And although in time I came to realize that other Swedish pressings existed, I never really gave it any serious thought. Until 2016.

That's when I bought How RCA brought Elvis To Europe, released through FTD the same year and written by the Norwegians Sigbjørn Stabursvik and Hans Otto Engvold. It's a fantastic book, and a treat especially for fans living in the Nordic countries, as it, among other things, includes a full history and discography for Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. 

I spent a lot of time with it the following weeks, reading how RCA Victor launched Elvis and the RCA label globally in 1956. For a Swede like me, it was fascinating to learn how Electra Grammofon AB, one of Sweden's largest record companies, engineered most of the early Elvis activity in Northern Europe. In fact, Sweden was one of the first countries worldwide to release an Elvis Presley record. 

Cover of How RCA brought Elvis To Europe. It's a great book.

How RCA brought Elvis To Europe is one of those Elvis books I found myself revisiting from time to time. One such occasion took place early in 2019, when I once again read the introduction to the pages dealing with the Swedish RCA LP's: 

Original stock of Moody Blue sold out immediately after the tragic death message on 16 August 1977. This prompted a Swedish Moody Blue pressing, the first of many LP titles manufactured in Sweden that fall. [...] Eleven titles were probably made in 1977, and two in 1980.

It was while studying the list of Swedish RCA LP's that I noticed that Elvis' Golden Records Volume 3 wasn't among them. As I stated earlier, I was aware of other titles manufactured in Sweden. And now I suddenly remembered that I had owned a worn copy of one of them, namely the third volume in the Golden Record series, later exchanging it for a copy in far better condition (a German pressing). Apparently a dumb move.

I decided to pay a visit to a store not far from where I live that sells used records. Grabbing my jacket, I went out the door, and in a couple of minutes stood leafing through all the Elvis albums for sale. Suddenly I spotted Elvis' Golden Records Volume 3. Holding it in my hands, I turned it over, and there on the back cover, in small print, it said, "Manufactured by Grammofon AB Electra, Solna Sweden."

Proof it's a Swedish pressing.

Feeling like a true detective, I took a couple of pictures of it and then wrote to the authors via their "RCA Elvis" Facebook page that they had listed at the end of the book:

Thomas: "Hi! Today I found Elvis' Golden Records Vol 3 manufactured in Sweden."

RCA Elvis: "Excellent find. Thank you Thomas. We'll inform our Swedish contacts about this one and hear their opinion about how rare it is."

About two weeks later the authors posted this on their Facebook page:


Not long ago Thomas Melin alerted us to the existence of a Swedish Elvis' Golden Records Vol. 3. So ... could there possibly be a Swedish Elvis' Gold Records Volume 4 out there as well? That was the question we needed to ask ourselves. And the answer turned out to be, oh yes indeed, there is a Vol. 4 also. And as if that isn't enough, Elvis In Hollywood turns out to have been made in Sweden as well!

All three seem to have been made at approximately the same time, during late 1977 or 1978. Labels are orange, with n©b, and the second type of label.

Covers are similar to late 70's German issues, although with "Manufactured by Grammofon AB Electra, Solna Sweden" at the back, plus SIB Tryck Tumba in the lower right corner. SIB Tryck was (and still is) a printing company located at Tumba on the outskirts of Stockholm.

Thank you's to Thomas Melin, Paul Dowling and Jarle Jensen.

It felt really cool reading that I had contributed in a small part to new findings when it came to Swedish Elvis LP's on the RCA label. But for some reason it would take another two years before I felt the time was right to start collecting those pressings from Sweden. Just a few weeks ago I spotted a Swedish copy of Pure Gold (with the Take Off! cover) on the online marketplace Tradera. So I placed a bid and won the auction for a ridiculous small sum of money.  

Pure Gold with Take-Off! cover and two extra songs.

The album arrived just the other day, in excellent condition. I noticed that it featured Frankie And Johnny and Clean Up Your Own Back Yard, which are not on US editions. (I wonder what is the story behind that one?)

Then another thought hit me, Maybe some of my other LP's were Swedish pressings as well? A little while later I had the answer. No less than five of them (not counting Blue Christmas, Elvis´Golden Records Volume 3 and Pure Gold) were manufactured in Sweden: Blue Hawaii, Moody Blue (one of my first LP's as well), Burning Love And Hits From His Movies, Elvis In Concert and Elvis Forever Volume 2

Maybe this should come as no surprise as I live in Sweden and started to buy Elvis records in the late 70's and early 80's. Nevertheless, half of my collection of Swedish pressings is now completed, with a minimum of effort from my side. I wonder how hard it will be to find the other eight? 

This is the complete list (so far) of Swedish RCA LP's (Maybe there are others out there?):

  • Burning Love And Hits From His Movies
  • Elvis' Golden Records Volume 1
  • Elvis' Gold Records Volume 2
  • G.I. Blues
  • Blue Hawaii
  • Elvis In Concert
  • Elvis' Golden Records Volume 3
  • Elvis' Gold Records Volume 4
  • Elvis - NBC-TV Special
  • Pure Gold (Take Off! cover)
  • Elvis In Hollywood
  • Welcome To My World
  • Moody Blue
  • Blue Christmas
  • Elvis Forever Volume 2
  • The Las Vegas Years (Same content as record 6 on the Elvis Aron Presley box set, with liner notes in Swedish)

This post is dedicated to Sigbjørn Stabursvik & Hans Otto Engvold, authors of the book How RCA brought Elvis To Europe.

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