The record business is having its best year since Thomas A. Edison first captured the human voice on a tinfoil-covered cylinder. This week RCA Victor announced its alltime high advance sale for a single pressing—more than 1,000,000 copies of Rock 'n' Roll Hero Elvis Presley's Love Me Tender, a surprisingly restrained love ballad that was just released. The Record Industry Association of America estimated that U.S. record sales have jumped 30% over last year's $225 million. The total may approach $300 million with the Christmas rush.

The big reason is that records...

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