Elvis's Incredible Record Sales Documented in February 1957 Article
"Memphis' Elvis Outdoes Caruso in Record Sales" was the headline of an article in the Memphis Commercial Appeal on February 6, 1957. The article reminded readers that the concept of "golden disks" began when operatic star Enrico Caruso's recording of "Vesta la giubba" was the first to sell more than a million copies. Caruso later received another "golden disk" for "O sole mio," a tune from which Elvis's 1960 gold record "It's Now or Never" was adapted.
The article explained that in a single year Elvis completely eclipsed Caruso's record sales. In 1956 Elvis had five recordings reach million-seller status. They were "Don't Be Cruel"/"Hound Dog" (3,200,000), "Love Me Tender" (2,300,000), "Heartbreak Hotel" (1,600,000), and "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" (1,200,000). "These and other records pushed his sales to 11 million singles in his first year in the big time, plus two albums," the Commercial-Appeal reported.
It also noted, however, that Elvis was still a long way away from topping the all-time top-selling single. That was Tommy Dorsey's "Boogie Woogie," which sold 4,500,000 copies back in 1938.
The newspaper also reported that Elvis had been chosen by Photoplay magazine as a recipient of its "Stars of 1957" award. Photoplay's award banquet was broadcast live by NBC-TV from the Beverly Hills Hotel the evening of February 7, 1957. On hand were other award winners, among them Rock Hudson and Kim Novak. Elvis, who was filming Loving You in Hollywood at the time, did not attend the banquet.