September 1956 was a record month for Elvis
In his 23-year recording career, Elvis Presley released a steady stream of single, EP, and LP records. Along the way he accumulated a record number of record sales, gold records, and #1 records. When it came to releasing and selling records, however, September 1956 was a record month for Elvis.
He entered that month as the hottest entertainment personality in the world. He already had three million-selling singles in "Heartbreak Hotel," "Hound Dog," and "Don't Be Cruel." His personal appearances were drawing record crowds around the country, and he was about to make his first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. But the best indication of his phenomenal success came in the record business that month.
Early in the month RCA released seven more single records available before only on Elvis LPs. They included some of his early Sun Records recordings, like "Tryin' to Get to You" and "Just Because," and recent RCA album cuts, such as "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Lawdy, Miss Clawdy." By September 5 these reissue singles were all selling at the rate of 12,000 a day. By the end of the month, all six singles had gone over 100,000 in sales.
And then, after Elvis sang "Love Me Tender" on the September 9 Sullivan show, dealers all over the country were swamped with orders for the single the next day. Despite already having eight Presley singles on the market, RCA rushed to get Elvis's new song out. An RCA ad in Billboard on September 29, 1956, proclaimed, "856,327 orders on 'Love Me Tender' a week before release." A footnote added, "by the time you read this, orders will be well over 1,000,000."
An article in Variety on September 5, 1956, reported that Elvis was due to sell around 10,000,000 records during his first year with RCA Victor. From those sales he earned about $400,000 in royalties, a record payoff for any recording artist at that time. September 1956 was indeed a special month for Elvis Presley.