We all know the King of Rock and Roll or at least recognize a song or two or three from him. Why do we (maybe not you but a lot of us) still listen to Elvis songs, many of which are now over 60 years old? Music for most of us is a personal thing, we like what we like because somehow on some level we can connect with it. Why is it when we play our favorite song for someone else they often offer a friendly nod or say, “that’s nice”? Why don’t they love it as much as you do? It could be the style or genre, maybe the artist, melody or the lyrics they don’t connect with, maybe it’s just missing the context that made you love the song. We could say it’s the music of our youth that sticks with us, but many people change their preferences over time. Hey, my sister talked me into going in on buying a Partridge Family album when I was 12 so I know this is true!
For me Elvis has an amazing voice and a unique way of delivering a song. Elvis wasn’t known for his song writing abilities and he didn’t read or write music. And though he played guitar, bass and piano and other instruments, he is not remembered for this talent. All was surpassed by the love of his voice and grant you his looks and swinging hips for some. Here is a selection of popular and some less popular songs that were not original Elvis songs, but he certainly added something special and made any song he sang his own, for this first Elvis related post I’ll stick to 1956.
Thanks to YouTube and various posters who have done my work for me I can give you video or audio of these songs. And thanks to Secondhandsongs.com I have a great reference library!
“Blue Suede Shoes” written and first recorded by Carl Perkins in December 1955
Elvis recorded the song in February 1956 and easily the best know version.
There’s a story around this song, perhaps for another day.
“How’s the World Treating You” written by two major stars in the music world Chet Atkins and Boudleaux Bryant and First released in 1953 by the Beaver Valley Sweethearts. Elvis did it in October 1956
“Money Honey” written by Jesse Stone and originally recorded by Clyde McPhatter and Drifters 1953. Elvis released it in 1956
“My Baby Left Me” written and first recorded by Arthur Crudup in November 1950.
Elvis in 1956
“Shake Rattle and Roll” again a song written by Jesse Stone (Alias Charles Calhoun) and first released by Joe Turner and His Blues Kings in June 1954.
The best-known version of this song I think is from Bill Haley and His Comets from July 1954, but here Elvis was the seventh to try this one, released in 1956.
At 485 documented Elvis cover songs there is a lot more to be said! Not to mention original Elvis songs covered by other people. Much more here to discuss especially the issue of exploitation, particularly in the earlier days of the recorded music world. I plan share some on that in the future. For now, just enjoy some great tunes!
Sources; Wikipedia, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, www.atlasobscura.com, www.billboard.com and secondhandsongs.com