Return to Sender (song)

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"Return to Sender"
Single by Elvis Presley
from the album Girls! Girls! Girls!
B-side"Where Do You Come from"
ReleasedSeptember 5, 1962
RecordedMarch 27, 1962, Radio Recorders, Hollywood, California
GenreRhythm and blues[1]
LabelRCA Victor[2]
Producer(s)Steve Sholes and Chet Atkins[2]
Elvis Presley singles chronology
"She's Not You"
"Return to Sender" / "Where Do You Come From"
"One Broken Heart for Sale"
Music video
"Return to Sender" (audio) on YouTube

"Return to Sender" is a 1962 hit single recorded by American singer Elvis Presley and performed in the film Girls! Girls! Girls! The song was written by Winfield Scott and Otis Blackwell and published by Elvis Presley Music.[2]

The song peaked at #1 on the UK Singles Chart,[3] and was the UK Christmas number one of 1962. It also reached #2 on the American Billboard singles chart, (Big Girls Don't Cry by The Four Seasons kept it from the #1 spot.) [4] However, the song reached number 1 on the rival Cash Box and Music Vendor singles charts. "Return to Sender" also went to #5 on the R&B charts.[5] It was the first Christmas number one in Ireland, as the Irish Charts had been founded in October 1962. The single was certified "Platinum" by the RIAA for sales in excess of one million units in the US.

Background and recording[edit]

Return to Sender is about a man sending a letter by post to his girlfriend after an argument. She continually writes "return to sender" and he keeps receiving the letter with various reasons for returning to sender, including "address unknown" and "no such person". He keeps mailing letters, refusing to believe the relationship is over. The phrase "no such zone" in the song refers to U.S. postal zones, a predecessor of the current U.S. ZIP Code. A postal zone was a one- or two-digit number written between the city and state ("New York 1, NY"), whereas a ZIP Code is a five- or nine-digit number written after the state ("New York, NY 10001").

Return to Sender was recorded on March 27, 1962, at Radio Recorders in Hollywood and featured Presley's longtime cohorts Scotty Moore on guitar and D.J. Fontana on drums, Barney Kessel on electric guitar, Tiny Timbrell on acoustic guitar, Ray Siegal on double bass, Dudley Brooks on piano, Boots Randolph on baritone saxophone and the Jordanaires on backing vocals. The group was augmented by various session musicians including drummer Hal Blaine.

Another saxophonist, Bobby Keys, claimed he performed the solo at the instigation of pianist Glen D. Hardin, in his 2012 memoir Every Night's A Saturday Night. However, Hardin did not meet Presley until February 1970, when he joined his touring band. In addition, his claim is not supported by RCA, Ernst Jorgensen (the official archivist for Presley's recordings), or session logs.[6][7]


Gerri Granger later recorded an answer song: "Don't Want Your Letters". The song was arranged and conducted by Bert Keyes. It was released on the single Big Top 45-3128.[8]

On January 8, 1993, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp honoring Presley. Many stamp collectors mailed envelopes, franked with this stamp, to fictitious addresses in the hopes that they would receive their letters not only postmarked with the first day of issue, but also with a "return to sender" postal marking.[citation needed]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]


  1. ^ "Elvis Presley - Girls! Girls! Girls!". Allmusic. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 67. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 144–5. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 468.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Jorgensen, Ernst (1998). Elvis Presley: A Life in Music - The Complete Recording Sessions. St. Martin's Press.
  8. ^ "Gerri Granger - Don't Want Your Love Letters / Ain't It Funny - Bigtop - USA - 45-3128". 45cat. Retrieved 2014-04-05.
  9. ^ "American single certifications – Elvis Presley – Return To Sender". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]