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Gold Records Vol. 2 comprises every single, both A-sides and B-sides, released by Presley during 1958 and 1959, with the exception of "Hard Headed Woman" backed with "Don't Ask Me Why," both of which having been previously issued on King Creole. The singles all made the Top Five on the Billboard Hot 100, and the b-sides all charted in the Top 40 independently of the hit sides. In the 1950s, a gold record awarded for a single referred to sales of one million dollars gross to the company, different from the definition in use by the late 1970s for albums, where a gold record came to mean shipped sales of 500,000 units. Exact sales figures from the RIAA for each record, however, are difficult to confirm.
The original 1984 compact disc issue in reprocessed (fake) stereo sound was quickly withdrawn and reissued in original monophonic. The July 15, 1997 reissue doubles the number of tracks to 20, adding the b-side "Playing for Keeps" from a single issued on Elvis' first singles compilation. The remaining bonus tracks derive from albums and EP singles released in the decade, with "Peace in the Valley" released on both EP and Elvis' Christmas Album. The bonus tracks are interspersed within the original tracks, with the running order to the album substantially altered. The album was reissued again with the bonus tracks removed and the original running order restored.
Although RCA executive Steve Sholes was the in-house A&R man for Presley, and nominally in charge of his recording sessions at RCA, accounts by Presley historian Peter Guralnick and Presley discographer Ernst Mikael Jorgensen indicate that Presley himself acted as the producer for his RCA sessions in the 1950s.
The unified Billboard Hot 100 singles chart was not created until August, 1958. Chart positions for records prior to this date would be taken from the "Best Sellers In Stores" chart, although early measurement of rock and roll records also came from the "Most Played In Jukeboxes" chart. Chart position for bonus album tracks taken from Billboard Top Pop Albums.
The famous cover photo, of multiple images of Elvis wearing the gold lamé suit designed by Nudie's of Hollywood, has been copied many times. Album covers so inspired include:
Phil Ochs' Greatest Hits album of 1970; not a "greatest hits" album at all but consisting of new original material, ironically subtitled "50 Phil Ochs Fans Can't Be Wrong!"
Mindless Self Indulgence's song "You'll Rebel To Anything" from their 2005 album of the same name contains the lyrics, "you're telling me that 50,000,000 screaming fans are never wrong, I'm telling you that 50,000,000 screaming fans are fucking morons".
Die! Die! Die!'s self-titled debut features a song named "Franz (17 Die! Die! Die! Fans Can't Be Wrong)" in 2006.
Stephen Pastis, author of comic strip Pearls Before Swine, released a collection in 2010 titled "50,000,000 Pearls Fans Can't Be Wrong."
In 2013, the band Supersuckers released a free digital EP entitled 50,000 Middle Fingers Can't Be Wrong.
The cover to Welcome to New York, a 1970s Rolling Stones bootleg, is a cartoon by William Stout, showing the Stones against a graffitied wall which includes the phrase "50,000,000 flies can't be wrong - eat shit!"
The title is itself a reference to the hit song of 1927, "Fifty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong", by Willie Raskin, Billy Rose, and Fred Fisher, most notably performed by Sophie Tucker. It is also supposed to be an estimate of the number of singles that Presley sold worldwide by late 1959.
Its evolution of the phrase into a snowclone – as expressed in the Simpsonspastiche "Fifty million smokers can't be wrong," for example – ironically ridicules argumentum ad populum, the misconception that popularity or consensus equals validity.