Earlier this year, the first-ever recording made by Elvis Presley was sold at auction for $300,000 and at the time the winning bidder remained anonymous… Until now. In a new interview for Billboard, Jack White has outed himself as the vinyl’s proud new owner.
According to Billboard, when the first vinyl record Elvis Presley ever cut (featuring covers of the 1930s ballads My Happiness and That’s When Your Heartaches Begin) hit the auction block, the 1953 wax was expected to net about a $100,000 but in January 2015 it was announced that an unknown internet bidder won the single with a staggering $300,000 bid. That mysterious black suitcase that Billboard editor-at-large Joe Levy was waiting with in Memphis, Tennessee contained the sought-after Elvis 10-inch. Upon arriving at the Third Man office in Nashville, he presented it to White.“This is the first recording ever made by Elvis Presley. On Record Store Day,” he told a crowd of his employees,“Third Man Records will issue this on vinyl.”
But White doesn’t listen to vinyl all the time.“Digital in the car, vinyl in the bedroom,” he tells Billboard. (The GATRS do the same thing, Jack.) “Because I like to listen to music in the car really loud and CDs? They’re not so bad, either. It’s portable, it still has the artwork and lyrics and it sounds really good,” White says. “And you can turn it up really loud.”
Third Man Records has officially announced the release of My Happiness b/w That’s When Your Heartaches Begin for Record Store Day, April 18th. The limited release will be as exact a replica as possible, from running ay 78rpm to precise reproductions of the typewritten labels, which were originally “printed on the reverse of extra Prisonaires labels that happened to be laying around Sun Records in July 1953.” Even the sleeves will be era-appropriately plain.
Third Man will also make a 45rpm restored version of the release available on 7-inch vinyl later this year. According to the press release, expert Alan Stoker handled the transfer at the Country Music Hall of Fame, ensuring that “the audio will be as clean as modern technology can make it without losing the feeling and soul that makes these two songs both haunting and breath-taking.”
Down the hall from White’s office is a fireproof and climate-controlled vault, ensuring his prized possessions stand the test of time. The vault includes the White Stripes’ master tapes (which the band owns) along with recordings from artists like Neil Young, Beck, and Jack Johnson made at Third Man.