The album is unique among Elvis albums due to not actually containing any songs: it consists entirely of byplay recorded between songs from Elvis's concerts (although Elvis is frequently heard humming or singing "Well..." which during the actual performances led into songs that have been edited out of this recording. Much of the album consists of Elvis making jokes, with the material spliced in a manner that has been described as lacking continuity and verging on incomprehensibility, let alone humor. Ostensibly, the album came to be as a ploy by Colonel Tom Parker, Presley's manager, to release an album that RCA Records would own no rights on. Parker initially released the album on his own label, Box Car Records, and the record was initially sold only at Presley's concerts. (It is the Box Car release that is illustrated at right.) The album was later packaged and marketed by RCA as a legitimate concert album, with the only warning for the buyer being the subtitle "A Talking Album Only" on the cover. Presley is credited on the back sleeve as the album's executive producer.
Having Fun with Elvis on Stage has been described as the worst album of Elvis's career. A review by AllMusic Guide likened it to "an auto wreck that somehow plowed into a carnival freak show." Rock critics Jimmy Guterman and Owen O'Donnell, writing in their 1991 book The Worst Rock and Roll Records of All Time, named it the worst rock album ever, although one could easily note the lack of "rock and roll" in the record.
Although Presley spends most of the album exchanging jokes with audience members and his band, near the end of side one he is captured speaking autobiographically about his early life and his career aspirations before becoming a singer.
The album managed to make it up to #130 on the Billboard album charts.
This was not the first release by RCA of spoken word material by Elvis. In March 1959, the label released Elvis Sails (EPA 4325), a three-track EP consisting of interview recordings prior to his departure for Germany with the US Army.
By all accounts, Presley was infuriated when RCA put this album into the general marketplace. He considered it a tremendous embarrassment and vented his rage aggressively. As a result, the album was quietly deleted sometime in 1975 but reissued for a few years following his death. Since the late 1990's fans have put together several pirate "sequel" discs. The original album remains unavailable on CD, but has been reissued as a series of 3 10" records.