The restored vinyl of Elvis Presley’s first single will go on sale next month for Record Store Day, the growing annual sale to bolster independent retailers.

More than 400 new records, including first-time releases and reissues of classics, will be part of the latest Record Store Day on April 18 at stores across the world, organizers announced Tuesday.

The event was established in 2008 and is credited with helping revive interest in vinyl and in local record stores, which have faced brutal competition in the past decade as many consumers buy or listen for free to digital music.

Third Man Records, a label and store in Nashville owned by rocker Jack White, said it would release Elvis Presley’s rare first single — “My Happiness,” a version of a popular 20th century US song, with the B-side “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin.”

The record label said that it has done its utmost to preserve the feel of the original 1953 recording, including packaging it in a plain sleeve with a typewritten label as was then the fashion.

“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 breathtaking,” the label said.

The 10-inch, 78-rpm record will be sold in a limited edition at the Nashville store on Record Store Day. The label said it would release the single widely later this year in a seven-inch, 45-rpm version.

White, best known as part of the rock duo The White Stripes, bought the original recording for $300,000 as an anonymous bidder at an auction in January on what would have been Presley’s 80th birthday.

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– Rebirth of vinyl –

Other major releases planned for Record Store Day include the new album by Built to Spill, the Idaho indie rock band known for Doug Martsch’s noisy but intricate guitar.

Collectable reissues will include a seven-inch picture disc of David Bowie’s song “Changes,” originally released in 1971, and several of Bruce Springsteen’s classic albums including “Born in the USA” and “Nebraska.”

Young people look through vinyl records in a shop during the Berwick St Record Store Day in central London on April 19, 2014

While geared toward vinyl, Record Store Day will also feature a cassette reissue of heavy metal giants Metallica’s early demo tape “No Life ’til Leather.”

Started in the United States, Record Store Day has grown internationally among independent shops, especially in Britain, Canada and France.

The latest Record Store Day will take place in 1,500 stores in the United States and an equal number across 21 other countries or territories, mostly in Europe but also including Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, Israel, Mexico, Japan and New Zealand.

Michael Kurtz, co-founder of Record Store Day, painted a healthy picture of local shops.

Fueled by the boom in vinyl, some 200 record stores have opened up in the United States and Canada in the past year, Kurtz told a news conference at New York’s largest record store, Rough Trade, a branch of the British retailer that opened in late 2013.

Vinyl sales jumped 52 percent to 9.2 million last year in the United States, even as overall music sales keep declining, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

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Dave Grohl, frontman of the Foo Fighters and honorary ambassador for Record Store Day, called independent shops “magical, mysterious places.”

“I believe that the power of the record store to inspire is still alive and well, and that their importance to our next generation of musicians is crucial,” he said in a statement.

Record Store Day is going ahead on a Saturday despite a push by the music industry to standardize Friday as the global release date, a decision bitterly opposed by some independent US retailers.

AFP

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