- 1 Who wrote the majority of Elvis’s songs
- 1.1 Who was Elvis’s main songwriter?
- 1.2 Who owns all of Elvis Presley songs?
- 1.3 Which of Elvis’s songs did he actually write?
- 1.4 Could Elvis play guitar?
- 2 Who owns Elvis Presley’s music royalties
- 3 Did Michael Jackson buy the rights to Elvis songs
- 4 What was Elvis first No 1 song
- 5 Did Otis Blackwell make money from Elvis
- 6 What song did Willie Nelson wrote for Elvis Presley
Who wrote the majority of Elvis’s songs
Elvis Presley was not a “singer-songwriter.” He had a unique talent for interpreting songs—injecting his own brand of emotion, energy, and feeling into them. He was not above putting his stamp on songs from the past, such as “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” But to fuel his career through the years, he depended on contemporary composers to provide him with quality new material to record and perform. Early in his career, Elvis was fortunate to have at his disposal some of the business’s best rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll songwriters, such as Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (right). However, Elvis never allowed himself to be tied into one style, and so he recorded songs written by dozens of composers and writing teams.
There were some, though, that were especially important in Elvis’ career. They were the “hit-writers,” the ones who composed Presley’s most successful chart records. Below, then, are listed Elvis’ top 10 “hit” songwriters. First, though, let’s set up the selection criteria. For a song to be considered, Elvis’s recording of it had to make it into the top 25 of Billboard’s Top or Hot 100 chart of pop singles.
I know that eliminates many great Elvis songs that were never released as singles, but limiting the tunes only to those making Billboard’s chart makes the ratings objective. Why set the line at the top 25 on the chart? Let’s face it. For most of his career, both sides of any Presley single usually made it into the Top or Hot 100 just because his name was on the label.
- To climb within the top 25 on the list, however, indicates the recording had the characteristics of a “hit” song.
- Even with that qualifier, there is a large group of eligible songs.
- Elvis placed 71 recordings in the top 25, and involved in their composition were 85 different writers.
- Points were assigned to songwriters on a scale of 1-25 according to how high Elvis’ versions of their songs reached on the charts.
For example, for an Elvis recording that reached #1, 25 points were awarded to its composer(s). A song that peaked at #2 earned 24 points, and on down the line. A record that peaked at #25 received 1 point. Using those criteria, here, in descending order, are the top 10 “hit” songwriters in Elvis Presley’s career.
- 10: Florence Kaye (40 points) The only female composer on the list, New York City born Florence Kaye usually wrote as part of a team with Bill Giant and Bernie Baum.
- Together they composed over 40 songs for Elvis, most of which were used in 14 of his movies.
- However, the trio also composed two non-movie top 25 hits for Elvis—”Devil in Disguise” (#3) and “Ask Me” (#12).
Florence, however, finishes alone above Giant and Baum on the list because she gets credit for “Rock-a-Hula Baby” (#23), which she wrote with Ben Wiseman and Fred Wise. Florence Kaye passed away in 2006. #10: Ben Weisman (40 points) Rhode Island native Ben Weisman, co-writer of over 50 of Elvis’ songs in the ’60s, finished in a tie with Florence Kaye on the list. Although Weisman penned five Presley top 25 songs, he is down on the list because none of them reached the top 10.
They were: “Fame and Fortune” (#17), “Rock-a-Hula Baby” (#23), “Follow That Dream” (#15), “Do the Clam” (#21), and “Frankie and Johnny” (#14). According to Wikipedia, Elvis’ nickname for the demure-looking Weisman was “the mad professor.” Weisman died in 2007. #8: Mac Davis (43 points) The Texas singer-songwriter only wrote a handful of songs for Elvis.
However, they came at a critical time, when Elvis was reshaping his career in the late 1960s. Neither “A Little Less Conversation” nor “Memories,” both co-written with Billy Strange, reached the top 25, but Davis is #8 on the Elvis composer list on the strength of two top 10 Elvis hits he wrote on his own: “In the Ghetto” (#3) and “Don’t’ Cry Daddy” (#6). #7: Wally Gold (50 points) Like Mac Davis, Wally Gold earns a place on the list based on just two Elvis songs he co-wrote with Aaron Schroeder. “It’s Now or Never” and “Good Luck Charm” were both #1 hits for Elvis. Gold also co-wrote several other memorable sixties pop hits, including “It’s My Party” for Leslie Gore” and “Half Heaven-Half Heartache” for Gene Pitney.
After leaving the music business, Gold worked as a travel agent until his death in 1998. #6: Winfield Scott (54 points) Elvis recorded less than 10 songs written by Winfield Scott, but three of them, all co-written with Otis Blackwell, finished well up on Billboard’s pop chart. They were “Return to Sender” (#2), “One Broken Heart for Sale” (#11), and “Such an Easy Question” (#11).
Among his other songs recorded by Elvis were “Stranger in the Crowd” and “Long Legged Girl (With the Short Dress On.)” Several years ago Scott made news when he discovered in his effects an acetate of a lost Presley recording, “I’m a Roustabout.” #5: Mort Shuman (68 points) Brooklyn born Mort Shuman teamed with Doc Pomus to compose many hit songs in the 1960s, including “A Teenager in Love,” “Turn Me Loose,” “This Magic Moment,” and “Save the Last Dance for Me.” “Viva Las Vegas” was one of their songs that Elvis recorded. #4: Doc Pomus (89 points) Born Jerome Felder, “Doc Pomus” provided the lyrics for Mort Shuman’s melodies, although occasionally they worked on both together. According to Wikipedia, in 1957 “Pomus asked Shuman to write with him because Doc didn’t know much about rock and roll at the time, whereas Mort was well versed in many of the popular artists of the day.” Pomus finishes one notch ahead of his long-time partner because Doc also worked with Leiber and Stoller on “She’s Not You,” a #5 record for Elvis in 1962.
Doc Pomus died of lung cancer in 1991, the same year his partner Mort Shuman passed away. #3: Otis Blackwell (104 points) Although best known for writing some of Elvis’ smash hits, “Otis Blackwell (pictured below) is without question one of the select songwriters whose songs literally helped redefine American’s popular music in the early and mid 1950’s.
(Wikipedia)” His more than 1,000 songs have sold nearly 200 million records. Of the 10 Blackwell compositions that Elvis recorded, half were top 25 hits. When Elvis recorded “Don’t Be Cruel” in 1956, Blackwell agreed to give Presley credit as co-writer, even though Elvis had no input on the tune.
- The recording spent 7 weeks at #1.
- Blackwell also penned “All Shook Up,” the biggest hit in Elvis’ career.
- It spent 30 weeks on the Top 100, including 8 weeks at #1.
- As noted earlier, Blackwell teamed with Winfield Scott to write later Presley hits “Return to Sender,” “One Broken Heart for Sale,” and “Such an Easy Question.” Otis Blackwell was inducted into the National Academy of Popular Music’s Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1991.
He passed away in 2002. #2: Aaron Schroeder (122 points) Writing with various partners, Aaron Schroeder helped compose 16 songs recorded by Elvis Presley. Six of those reached the top 25, starting with “I Was the One” (#23) in 1956. Schroeder helped pen four of Elvis’ #1 records.
- That’s twice as many as any other composer or team.
- In addition to “It’s Now or Never” and “Good Luck Charm” with Wally Gold, Schroeder also co-wrote the chart-toppers “Big Hunk O’ Love” with Sid Wyche and “Stuck on You” with J.
- Leslie McFarland.
- In addition, Schroeder also wrote (with David Hill) Elvis’ “I Got Stung” (#8).
Schroeder might have written even more hits for Elvis, but he stopped writing for him after a legal battle over publishing rights in 1962. At the age of 83, Aaron Schroeder died in 2009. #1: Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller: (133 points) According to Wikipedia, Leiber and Stoller “are among the most influential American songwriters and record producers in post-World War II popular music.” By the time Elvis came along, Leiber and Stoller were already successful R&B songwriters with hits such as “Kansas City” and “Hound Dog.” Elvis’ recording and controversial TV performances of “Hound Dog” tied the composers and the singer together.
Elvis eventually recorded 23 Leiber-Stoller compositions. Six of them, starting with “Hound Dog” (#2) and “Love Me” (#6) in 1956, reached the top 10 on Billboard’s pop chart. “Jailhouse Rock” and “Don’t” both topped the chart in 1957. “She’s Not You” (#5) was a rare collaboration with Doc Pomus. Finally, in 1963 Elvis took Leiber and Stoller’s “Bossa Nova Baby” to #8 on the chart.
The legendary duo was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Runners-up Sid Wayne, Fred Wise, and the tandem of Bill Giant and Bernie Baum just missed the top 10 list of Elvis composers. Wayne had a hand in Presley hits “I Need Your Love Tonight” (#4), “Flaming Star” (#14), and “Do the Clam” (#21).
Wise helped write “Fame and Fortune” (#17), “Rock-a-Hula Baby” (#23), “Follow That Dream” (#15), and “Kissin’ Cousins” (#12). Giant and Baum wrote “Devil in Disguise” (#3) and “Ask Me” (#12) with Florence Kaye. Finally, this list left one of Presley’s most prolific songwriting teams out in the cold. Sid Tepper and Roy C.
Bennett wrote over 40 songs for Elvis, most of which were used in his movies. But they didn’t make this Top 10 list because only one Bennett-Tepper tune reached the top 25 on the pop charts, that being “Puppet on a String” (#14) in 1965. — Alan Hanson | © January 2011 Comment on This Article Go to Elvis Music Go to Home Page “Early in his career, Elvis was fortunate to have at his disposal some of the business’s best rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll songwriters.”
Did Elvis write all his own songs?
Who Wrote Elvis’ Song In The Ghetto? – You’ve probably heard the song by Elvis called In The Ghetto, but did you know Mac Davis wrote this track and not Elvis himself? Davis originally called the song The Vicious Circle, and it was recorded and released by Elvis in 1969 on his comeback album From Elvis In Memphis.
For Elvis, In The Ghetto became the first Top 10 song he had in the last four years in the United States, and while it didn’t hit number one, it did manage to crack the top three. The track landed at the number two spot in Canada, and it became a Top 10 hit in the United Kingdom, which was his first in the country in three years.
This ended up becoming a hit all over the world, with it landing number one in New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, West Germany, and Norway. So while Elvis did not write his own songs, he recorded multiple tracks that became hits for him and made him millions of dollars. From the time she was little, Florence loved listening to music and quickly learned how music can make you happy and feel fulfilled. One of her favorite memories is being in the garage with her dad working on classic cars with the local rock station blaring in the background.
- Ever since Florence was 3, she loved grunge music and spent hours listening to bands such as Alice in Chains, Mad Season, Soul Asylum, and Soundgarden.
- She also enjoys classic rock, modern rock, nu metal, alternative rock, and old 90’s R&B.
- Her love of music grew as she got older, and used music to help her get through tough times in her life.
More often than not, you’ll see Florence with earbuds in while she’s writing, cooking, cleaning, and doing other tasks. She also loves to debate music with her friends such as which lead singer is the best vocalist, the most iconic guitar solos in music, and what songs are really the best of the decade.
Who was Elvis’s main songwriter?
Ben Weisman – 6 Elvis Presley and Ben Weisman worked together on his movie soundtracks Credit: Getty
- One of Elvis’ biggest writers was Ben Weisman who wrote more than 50 songs for him – more than any other songwriter.
- Many of his compositions were written for Elvis’ movie soundtracks – which includes Rock-a-Hula Baby from Blue Hawaii.
- In his later career, Ben had a recurring role on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless as a pianist in the Club Allegro.
Who owns all of Elvis Presley songs?
Who Owns Elvis Presley Music – Elvis’ daughter and Universal Music own the rights to his music. It was previously owned by Lisa Marie Presley, who owned 15% of the rights, whereas Universal Music owned 85%. Sony Entertainment owns the rights to all pre-1970 recordings of Elvis Presley, whereas RCA Records (owned by RCA) owns the rights to all prior recordings.
- The majority of Elvis Presley’s estate is owned by his daughter, Lisa Marie, but a deal was made before he died that diverted all royalties from his music.
- Presley will receive $53 million in cash, $25 million in debt assumption, and $22 million in preferred stock in Sillerman’s new company.
- In addition to 155 Five Guys Burgers, 17 Auntie Anne’s Pretzels restaurants, 150 car washes, 40 24-hour fitness centers, a shopping center, a movie theater, and several nightclubs in Las Vegas, Shaquille O’ Neal owns and operates a variety of other businesses in the area According to the 2019 figures, Elvis earned around £30.4 million from the afterlife, which is roughly the amount he earns on an annual basis.
Elvis Aaron Presley (born January 8, 1935) was an American singer and actor who died on August 16, 1977 at the age of 39. He is widely regarded as one of the twentieth century’s most significant cultural icons. Elvis won the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at 36, and his music has sold over a billion copies.
After Vernon’s death in 1979, Elvis’ ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, became Lisa Marie’s legal guardian and co-managed the trust. On June 7, 1982, visitors to Memphis were able to tour the property for the first time. EPE purchased the Heartbreak Hotel in 1999 and transformed it into The Elvis Presley Hotel,
Estate management company Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) manages the late singer’s estate and licenses his name, likeness, and songs for a wide range of commercial purposes, including clothing and accessories. In Memphis, the majority of the company’s revenue is generated by the operation of Presley’s Graceland mansion, which includes tours of the mansion, as well as a museum, visitor’s center, and hotel.
Elvis Aaron Presley, born on January 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi, is known for his rock’n’roll. His twin brother, Jesse Garon Presley, was stillborn 35 minutes after being born. Gospel was the first musical influence that Presley had. Many people were surprised when Dewey Phillips began his show That’s All Right with the assumption that its singer was black.
Elvis Presley was the catalyst for the cultural revolution that swept the world with his music. The greatest selling solo artist in history has a catalog worth up to $500 million. In addition to having the most chart-topping songs in Billboard’s top 40 and top 100, he has the most chart-topping albums in the top 20.
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Licensing terminology is described in this brief overview. Jamie will go over the following topics. Authentic Brands Group has licensing rights to iconic brands like Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali, and Shaquille O’Neal. Jamie will talk about: Jamie will discuss the following topic.
Was Elvis a great songwriter?
Elvis was a performer not a songwriter. He did produce himself in the studio however – so he was responsible for the attacking, dynamic sound of his version of ‘Hound Dog’ for example compared with the previous swingy blues version by Big Mama Thornton.
Which of Elvis’s songs did he actually write?
Raised in Tupelo, Miss., Elvis listened to music without prejudice. Whether it was Tin Pan Alley pop, R&B, gospel, country & western, rock and roll, Appalachian folk, opera or big ballads, he adored all kinds of music. And while Elvis wasn’t a songwriter per se, he did co-write a few songs in his career including ‘That’s Someone You Never Forget’ and the haunting ‘You’ll Be Gone’. Writing For The King Book + 2 CDs Just listen to the wide stylistic swath of genre hopping material Elvis recorded during his career-from Junior Parker’s amphetamine-paced rockabilly classic ‘Mystery Train’ and the poppin’ perfect panache of Otis Blackwell’s ‘All Shook Up’, to the down-and-dirty blues swagger of ‘Reconsider Baby’ and the operatic grandeur of ‘It’s Now or Never’.
And then there are more controversial, socially-conscious anthems (‘If I Can Dream’ and ‘In the Ghetto’) and introspective ’70s fare like ‘Separate Ways’ and ‘Always On My Mind’. Right away, you can hear the breadth of a master stylist who breathed new life into every song he cut. But how was Elvis presented with songs in the first place? In 1956, Freddy Bienstock was hired by powerful New York publishing firm, Hill & Range (formed by Austrian brothers, Julian and Jean Aberbach) as a songplugger.
From then on, he was responsible for presenting songs to Elvis and acted as his A&R musical lifeline. His arms piled high with acetates; Bienstock was a constant presence at all of Elvis’ recording sessions, plying the artist with demo after demo. ‘I knew what kind of songs Elvis liked and what I thought might capture his attention’, Bienstock remembers.
- ‘It was either a terrific melody or a novelty kind of lyric idea like ‘All Shook Up’.’ Elvis listened intently to demos and knew immediately if a song was right for him.
- ‘He knew exactly what he wanted to do’, Bienstock affirms.
- ‘You couldn’t talk Elvis into doing a song; he had to feel it.
- He knew what would work for him.
If Elvis didn’t like a song, he’d only play about eight bars and then he would take it off. Then there were times he’d want to hear it again and again. Elvis would often adapt the arrangements inherent in the demos. On songs that he was particularly fond of, he would make a real effort-sometimes he’d do 40 takes.
- When there was a song he especially liked, he was almost a perfectionist about getting it just right’.
- Elvis’ close friend, Lamar Fike, headed up the Nashville division of Hill & Range between 1962 and 1973.
- ‘You’d get all the songs together for a session, anywhere from probably 50, 100, 200 songs’, Fike remembers.
‘Freddy would send them to Memphis or L.A. or wherever we were, and Elvis and I started going over the material. We would weed it down to 20 or 30 songs and then weed it down further to about 10 songs. It was a continual process of listening and evaluating the material.
We were looking for hits. You didn’t know exactly what you were looking for in the sense of this kind of wording, or, that type of music. With hit songs you feel it and just know it’s there. Elvis was one of the best song men that I’ve ever seen. He had an excellent ear, and he was more right than wrong with the material he selected.
If he hadn’t been more right than wrong he wouldn’t have sold 200-300 million singles’. As for songwriters’ whom Presley particularly enjoyed, Bienstock recalls that ‘Elvis loved Otis Blackwell, Otis had a feeling for black music that Elvis liked. For example, ‘All Shook Up’ was an expression that got to Elvis.
- Otis wrote some terrific songs, but he didn’t write many.
- Those that he wrote were very special, whether it was ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ or ‘All Shook Up’ or ‘Return to Sender’.
- He also had hits for other artists like Jerry Lee Lewis with ‘Great Balls Of Fire’.’ ‘Any good singer that’s smart knows where his material comes from and then where to go get it’, adds Fike.
‘It’s a business. Elvis was respectful of the writers. He loved Mort Shuman, Doc Pomus stuff and Mike Stoller and Jerry’s Leiber stuff. He also liked Don Robertson’s music, which was very country. When material came in from any of those writers, he would listen to it real fast’.
For the most part, Presley was limited to cutting songs published by Hill & Range. If he took a liking to a non-Hill & Range song, a publishing deal would quickly be secured. During that time, his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, in cahoots with Hill & Range, also adopted a somewhat controversial stance whereby Elvis received a third of the songwriters’ mechanical royalties on tunes he cut.
(He’s listed as co-writer of several hits, including ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ and ‘All Shook Up’, albeit he didn’t have a hand in writing them. This practice of adding co-writer credit soon ceased thereafter.) Surprisingly, most of the songwriters whose work was recorded by Elvis did not object to this practice, as landing a cut was quite a coup and potential money maker.
- David Hess, a Hill & Range writer who had a few songs recorded by Elvis-including his 1958 No.1 smash, ‘I Got Stung’-recalls, ‘Part of the deal when Elvis cut one of your songs was he would get a piece of the action.
- Colonel Tom Parker made sure of that.
- To have a potential No.1 hit staring you in the face made the pain of getting screwed a little less painful.
It was a game you had to play and it was just dollars and cents for the Colonel. It wasn’t personal. He was looking out for his client, and that’s the way it was one in those days. It’s so much different now. Everybody owns their own publishing. Back then you were just a songwriter and were happy to be part of a situation that made you money.
You didn’t think about making waves, because if you did, you were out-and there was always somebody lined up behind you waiting to get in. You weren’t thinking about anything but making a living and writing songs’. In later years the quality of the Hill & Range songs dipped dramatically and outside songs managed to fall between the tightly controlled cracks, most notably Mark James’ ‘Suspicious Minds’, which proved to be Presley’s last No.1 hit.
Characterizing Presley’s extraordinary ability to inhabit the heart and soul of the songs he recorded, Fike reflects, ‘In order to make a song work, you’ve gotta understand it. And that’s what any good singer does. If you’re a stylist like Elvis was, that’s what makes a great song.
- What makes a great singer is his style.
- Frank Sinatra was one of the greatest stylists that ever lived-so was Elvis.
- When Elvis got through with a song, it became his,
- Sinatra said one time when talking about Elvis’ version of ‘My Way’, ‘He’s the only other person that made that song his too ‘.
- With Elvis, when he got through with the song, it was his and nobody else’s’.
The following interview excerpts spotlighting some of Elvis’ most important songwriters and offer illuminating insight behind the songs recorded by The King. Tommy Durden ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ Tommy Durden and Mae Axton crafted Presley’s first RCA Records smash, ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, a song cited by music historians as the seminal spark that ignited the rock and roll revolution’.
- I would get The Miami Herald every day.
- I loved the horse races-didn’t bet on ’em because I never had any money-but I loved to make my picks.
- I was reading The Miami Herald, and I ran across a little item about a man who had committed suicide.
- I don’t remember how he killed himself, but there was a line in the suicide note that struck me.
It said, ‘I walk a lonely street’. I thought it would be a terrific idea for a blues song’.The next time I went to Jacksonville for The Toby Dowdy Show, I met up with Mae Axton who was a songwriter. I walked into her house and I said, ‘Mae, I’ve got a terrific idea for a song’.
- I told her that I got the idea from the paper.
- I said, ‘We can write a blues song about it’.
- I knew that Mae knew Elvis.
- She’d booked him on shows in Jacksonville.
- She sat down at the piano and I walked the floor behind her-and we wrote ‘Heartbreak Hotel’.
- It took all of 20 minutes.
- I started out with what was in the man’s suicide note: ‘I walk a lonely street’.
But as you get into it, it goes, ‘Down at the end of lonely street at the heartbreak hotel’. We wrote the song and decided that it would be a natural for Elvis. He wasn’t big at the time. He was still on Sun Records, and Parker had just taken him under his wing’.Glenn Reeves, the guy that introduced me to Mae, came into the house.
- He could do an Elvis imitation.
- We got Glenn to sing it like he thought Elvis would do it.
- He didn’t even like the song.
- It was done just with guitar and voice.
- ‘There was a disc jockey convention coming up in Nashville, and Mae was going to the convention.
- I said to Mae, ‘Take the dub because Elvis is gonna be there.
Go see him and play it for him. If he’ll record it on RCA, give him a third of the writer’s end’. She went there, played it for him and gave him a third of it. And it was his first release on RCA’. Otis Blackwell ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ and ‘All Shook Up’ Otis Blackwell was reportedly a very quiet man.
- Yet in truth he didn’t need to speak much, as his wonderful songs spoke in volumes.
- ‘Don’t Be Cruel’, ‘All Shook Up’, ‘Paralyzed’ and ‘Great Balls Of Fire’ are among the rock and roll treasures he created’.
- On Christmas Eve in ’55, I was standing outside the Brill Building with no hat and holes in my shoes.
It was snowin’. Leroy Kirkland, the arranger who worked with Screamin’ Jay, asked if I had any songs. I said, ‘Yeah, I’m trying to get some Christmas money’. He took me to Shalimar Music where I met Goldie Goldmark, Al Stanton and Moe, So I said OK. Al Stanton was a friend of another fellow named Paul Cates, who was with the Elvis Presley people.
He got my songs through’.I was working for Shalimar, and Elvis was with Hill & Range. So they got together to co-publish. I played seven songs for them-one of the songs was ‘Don’t Be Cruel’. They bought it and showed it to the Elvis company. They asked me could I write some more stuff. So I made a couple of demos.
I made the demos to ‘Don’t Be Cruel’, ‘Paralyzed’ and ‘All Shook Up’. When Elvis recorded these songs, he was copying the vocal style on the demos. And when they heard that, they asked me would I make other demos for writers as well. ‘After ‘Don’t Be Cruel’, Shalimar said I had a chance to get Presley again, so I wrote ‘All Shook Up’.
walked in one day with a bottle of Pepsi, shaking it, as they did at the time, and said, ‘Otis, I’ve got an idea. Why don’t you write a song called ‘All Shook Up?’ Two days later I brought the song in and said, ‘Look, man, I did something with it’. After that song, the agreement about sharing songwriting credit was washed.
We had both proved how good we were and had a good thing between the two of us. ‘I was surprised when I heard ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ because it was just like I had done the demo. I used to sing all my own demos, and it just so happened that a lot of what Presley and Jerry Lee did sounded alike.
- I thought they did justice to the songs.
- They put the kind of feeling into it that I felt’.
- Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller ‘Hound Dog’, ‘Love Me’ and ‘Jailhouse Rock’ In the annals of songwriting, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller are championed alongside such legendary teams as Lennon and McCartney, Bacharach and David, and Goffin and King as among popular music’s most seminal writers.
Celebrating over half a century of songwriting, Leiber and Stoller penned dozens of hits, but it’s their remarkable songs so beautifully interpreted by Presley that stand among their finest achievements. Mike Stoller: ‘Hound Dog’ was not originally written about a hunting dog who’d forgotten how to hunt.
It was about a woman kicking a free-loader out of her house. Jerry Leiber: I didn’t particularly like Elvis’ version of ‘Hound Dog’, but as time passed I grew very fond of it. I’m not sure if it was the actual record itself or the fact that it had become such an anthem. MS: After that, Elvis’ music publishers, contacted us.
They asked if we had any other songs we thought might be good for Elvis. Jerry suggested a favorite old song of ours called ‘Love Me’ that we’d recorded with a gospel group from San Francisco. JL: It was originally written as a send-up of country music, but Elvis sang it from the heart and it became a true love song.
MS: Elvis’ version of ‘Love Me’ became a big hit and a standard. He managed to transform this simple tune into something genuinely touching. JL: For Elvis’ movies, they’d send us a script and there would be indications of where a song should appear. Our job was to come up with the songs, and ultimately we decided where they would go.
MS: We submitted the songs through the appropriate channels, which meant Freddy Bienstock, who worked for his cousins, That was the system that had been established by Colonel Parker. No one was to approach Elvis directly without his sanction. We wrote ‘Jailhouse Rock’ for the film.
JL: We were the producers without portfolio. That was a given. Steve Sholes was a great guy-big, heavy-set and very good natured. He came up to me and said, ‘Hey, Jer, you guys know more about this rock and roll stuff than I do. Why don’t you just take over?’ And we did. We didn’t get credit and get paid, but we got a hit score and some hit records.
MS: Elvis requested that we be at the ‘Jailhouse Rock’ recording sessions. We hadn’t met yet. He was very easygoing. I was showing him some stuff on the piano, and he joined in noodling in the upper register. We were doing some mean freehand boogie-woogie.
- The studio was like a living room.
- He had all his pals there with him.
- We’d demonstrate the songs for him.
- It was long hours and hard work in the studio, but Elvis made it seem effortless.
- He could sing take after take and never get tired.
- He was unreal.W.
- Earl Brown ‘If I Can Dream’ He’s had songs recorded by Frank Sinatra, Dinah Shore, Cher and The Jacksons, yet W.
Earl Brown’s extraordinary ‘If I Can Dream’ is the centerpiece of his career. It was the soul stirring closer of Elvis’ historic ’68 Comeback Special television show and heralded Presley’s resurrection as a serious recording artist’. They wanted to close the show with a song of peace, hope and brotherhood-a message song.
- ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ by Sam Cooke was the kind of song I wanted to write.
- And I thought that if Elvis doesn’t record it, I’ll give it to Aretha Franklin.
- So one night at my place in Sherman Oaks, California, I wrote the song while looking out the window at the garden, with the sun coming in and thinking how much I mean it, how much I felt.
This was not a hack job. I really believed in the song so much. ‘If I Can Dream’ came quickly, both words and music. I didn’t even sit at the piano; it just came to me. I quickly scribbled it out on manuscript paper. It just unfolded. I didn’t think about form.
It was a very inspired and pure song’.I took it in the next morning, and Billy Goldenberg played the piano while I sang it for Bob Finkel and Steve Binder, They loved it. From the other room I heard Colonel Parker say, ‘That ain’t Elvis’ kind of song’. Then from behind me I heard, ‘I’d like to try it, man’.
I didn’t know that Elvis had been standing in the doorway and had heard it. The next thing I know I find myself at Western Recorders and Elvis is recording it and The Blossoms have tears running down their faces. Darlene Love said to me, ‘He really loves the song.
- He really believes in the song and means every word of it’.
- ‘There was such a sense of excitement in the air with Elvis doing the Comeback special.
- He had done his concert in the little boxing ring with the kids all around.
- When he began to sing ‘If I Can Dream’ at the end of the show, you could feel something in the air.
It was truly electric. I’m not being dramatic-it really was. ‘I still have my original handwritten lyrics for ‘If I Can Dream’. Up in the left corner Elvis wrote, ‘My boy, my boy-this could be the one!’ Because he hadn’t had a hit in nine years, and it was’.
Don Robertson ‘I’m Counting on You’, ‘Anything That’s Part of You’ and ‘I Really Don’t Want To Know’ A 1972 Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame inductee, Don Robertson’s songs have been recorded by Elvis Presley, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Willie Nelson, The Everly Brothers, John Fogerty, Les Paul & Mary Ford, Dinah Washington and many more.
Leiber & Stoller paid hearty tribute to Robertson deeming his country standard, ‘I Really Don’t Want to Know’, as the greatest country song ever written’. When I finished writing ‘I’m Counting On You’ in my studio in North Hollywood, I played it over the phone for my New York publishers, Jean and Julian Aberbach.
They liked it a lot and said, ‘We think we can get you a big artist on that’. Jean called me about it a few months later. He was apologetic and said, ‘We didn’t get you a big name artist, but there’s this new singer who everybody thinks is going to be really hot and his name is Elvis Presley’. I was very disappointed at the time because I was expecting a big name artist, not someone I had never heard of with a contrived stage name.
I changed my mind later on, Elvis’ recording of ‘I’m Counting on You’ was included on his first RCA album. It was recorded right after RCA bought his contract from Sun Records’.Anything That’s Part of You’ was a love song I had written for Irene, the girl that I’m still married to today.
When Irene and I were going together, she was a flight attendant for American Airlines and was gone a lot. I worried about her and missed her so much when she was away. She left a brown knit sweater hanging in my closet, and I would sometimes bury my face in it and smell her perfume and feel my heart ache with longing for her.
I was, as they say, head over heels in love. This inspired me to write ‘Anything That’s Part of You’. ‘In the course of working on it, the sweater became the more singable ‘ribbon from your hair’. I made a demo and sent it to my publisher. Elvis particularly liked my piano work on the demo and had his session pianist copy it for his recording.
By a happy coincidence, Elvis and I had similar vocal ranges, so he was comfortable in my keys-with my phrasing and my arrangements. I think that was one reason he liked my demos. He usually copied my demos note for note. There was an easy rapport between us musically, as well as in person.we obviously liked the same kind of vocal phrasing’.I had recorded an album for RCA of some of my past hit songs called Heart on My Sleeve,
My performance of ‘I Really Don’t Want to Know’ was on that album. Along with my wife and my son, Donny, I took it up to Elvis’ house one day. One of his friends answered the door and said Elvis wasn’t home. I gave him the album, which I had autographed to Elvis.
- I don’t know if Elvis ever listened to it-but I think he did because it wasn’t too long after that that I was told that Elvis had recorded ‘I Really Don’t Want to Know’.
- Maybe he already knew and liked the song from the many records that had been released on it, beginning in 1954 with Eddy Arnold’s beautiful rendition.
I’m glad I gave it to him. Elvis’ bluesy rendition was very different from my very straightforward one. I don’t know who came up with his arrangement, but I’d like to kiss her or him. He introduced the song to a whole new generation and helped to establish it as a pop/country standard.
That was extremely satisfying to me as a writer’. Mac Davis ‘In the Ghetto’ Mac Davis’s first big break came with songs he wrote that were recorded by Elvis, namely the hits ‘In the Ghetto’, ‘Don’t Cry Daddy’ and ‘Memories’. Soon thereafter, he enjoyed major success as a recording artist, racking up such timeless hits as ‘Baby, Don’t’ Get Hooked on Me’, ‘One Hell of a Woman’, ‘I Believe In Music’ and ‘Stop and Smell the Roses’.
My daddy was a small building contractor. There was a guy named Alan Smith who worked for him for years and years. He was just like part of the family. He was a black man and his little boy, Smitty Junior, was my age, and he and I used to play together.
- They lived on a really funky dirt street ghetto.
- There was broken glass everywhere.
- I couldn’t understand how these kids could run around barefoot on all that broken glass.
- I was wondering why they had to live that way and I another.
- Even though we weren’t wealthy or anything, it was a whole big step up from the way that Smitty Junior had to live.
‘Freddy Weller, a guitar player I knew from Atlanta, came by my little office on Sunset Boulevard and was showing me a guitar lick. I was messing around with it after he left and I just went : ‘In the ghetto’. I thought, man that just fits. I had always wanted to write a song called ‘The Vicious Circle’.
There’s nothing that rhymes with circle, if you wanna know the truth about it. A child is born in a situation, his father leaves and he ends up acting out and becoming his father. Being born, dying and being replaced by another child in the same situation is basically what I was talking about. Dying is a metaphor for being born into failure, a situation where you have no hope.
If you listen to the song it’s more poignant now than it was then. Instead of getting better it’s gotten worse. Back then we had gangs and violence in a few cities. Now we have it in almost every American city. ‘When I had finished the last line, I knew that I had written a hit.
- I didn’t know that it was important, but I just knew that it was a hit if the right person cut it’.I think Elvis took a huge chance in doing ‘In the Ghetto’.
- It was a big risk.
- When they released it I was totally surprised that he saw fit to put that out as a single.
- That was not his image at all.
- He was always middle of the road when it came to controversy.
I was shocked that the Colonel allowed him to put out ‘In the Ghetto’ because it was controversial at the time. But I’m glad he did. ‘Elvis improved, In fact, it was Elvis’ idea to add another ‘and his mama cries’ at the end of that song. The song originally finished : ‘And another little baby child is born-in the ghetto’.
That was the end of it. To me the circle had been done, but he just emphasized it by saying ‘and his mama cries’ again. It would have been a hit without him doing it, but he improved it’.I didn’t go to a lot of the shows. I was invited to the big night in Vegas. It was just a huge thrill to me. He did ‘In the Ghetto’ and winked at me and said, ‘Hi Mac’.
I forget what he said, maybe something like, ‘Here’s my first number 1 in quite a while’. The music started up, and he just kinda winked at me. I wanted to jump up and down and say, ‘That’s me!’ but I didn’t ‘. Mark James ‘Suspicious Minds’ First coming to prominence as the writer of B.J.
- Thomas’s Top 5 smash, ‘Hooked On A Feeling’, Mark James crafted one of Elvis’ most enduring and lasting songs, the No.1 hit ‘Suspicious Minds’.
- Elvis cut an additional four songs penned by James (‘It’s Only Love’, ‘Raised on Rock’, ‘Moody Blue’ and ‘Always on My Mind’)’.
- The idea for ‘Suspicious Minds’ came to me one night.
First the title came-I thought about it and lived with it a while. Then the lyric came to me: ‘Caught in a trap, I can’t walk out because I love you too much baby’. What I was trying to say is we can’t live together, attain our dreams or build on anything if we don’t trust one another.
That’s what I mean by suspicious minds. If there’s distrust in a relationship or you’re wondering if your partner wants to be with somebody else, you can’t go forward. The chorus, which says, ‘We can’t go on together with suspicious minds’, is what I was trying to get across with the song. I was lucky to start the song in an abstract way- ‘Suspicious Minds’ captured a lot of soul.
In Houston, I grew up on a lot of soulful artists and I learned a lot from them. I put ‘Suspicious Minds’ together in about a week-a week and a half. I was a writer trying to write a great song, a hit song, and it came off just right. ‘The single came out on Scepter Records in ’68, and Elvis didn’t come into American Studios until ’69,
- He booked American Studios for two weeks.
- Chips Moman and Don Cruise were partners.
- Chips was more the creator, and Don was a good businessman who had a lot of heart and soul.
- He kept the studio goin’ through a lot of lean years.
- American Studios was like Motown.
- A lot of hit records came out of there.
- Don came up to me one day and said, ‘You know Elvis is coming in?’ I replied, ‘I know, I’m trying to come up with something great for him’.
I analyzed it a little bit. Elvis was in his early 30s. I thought, ‘How can you be a rock star and be in your mid-30s and still be viable?’ ‘That same year Tom Jones had taken it over. Elvis had released a lot of songs from his movies, and his musical career had really gone down as far as controlling the national charts.
Tom Jones was the sex symbol at the time. I believed in Elvis and knew something great was in the air to bring him back. Every time I’d walk into the studio, Don would grab me and say, ‘You come up with anything for Elvis?’ I was still writing and bumping my head against the wall. One morning I came into the studio and Don said kind of urgently, ‘Elvis will be here in a couple of days.
You think you’ll have anything?’ I said, ‘I don’t know-I hope so’. Then he said, ‘Well, what about the old catalog? What about ‘Suspicious Minds?’ At that point I wasn’t thinking about my older catalog. But as soon as Don said that, in my head I saw a golden number one.
- ‘That’s it! That’s the song I’ve been looking for!’ Chips was a little hesitant because I didn’t have a hit with my own version of ‘Suspicious Minds’, but he saw the belief I had in the song and he played it when Elvis came.
- Elvis liked it immediately and said, ‘Let’s hear that again’.
- He heard it again and it hit him the same way.
He asked for a tape and took it home. Priscilla loved the song too, so the excitement and momentum about ‘Suspicious Minds’ kept building and building. ‘Chips was a gambler. That’s how he got his name. When Elvis came in with his entourage, the Colonel and Hill & Range were trying to get a piece of the songs that were being recorded at those sessions.
- Before that, they were able to get quite a bit of the publishing and songwriter royalties.
- To get an Elvis cut, writers would give up almost anything.
- Most of the time the Colonel or his publishing executives would try to take half of a song or more.
- I’d never give up my songwriting royalties.
- I’m not gonna sell it like a used car.
That’s the way I looked at it. I was signed to Chips’ publishing company, Press Music. Chips was the one who told them, ‘Look, I’m not giving up any publishing on this song. If that’s what you want, then I’m keeping the master and y’all can leave!’ This all went down while they were doing the ‘Suspicious Minds’ session’.Elvis’ performance on ‘Suspicious Minds’ is great.
He got into the song and made it his own. It was number one in 27 countries. It’s the number one song of all-time for Elvis Presley. I got an award two years ago from Graceland where it was selected as Elvis’ all-time favorite song. I believe it is. Elvis had a lot of great songs, but at the time of his comeback, he needed a mature rock song.
People were rooting for him to come back, and I’m happy that my song helped him do that. It reinvigorated Elvis as an artist and brought him a newfound respect. I wanted to write a song that would move people and would capture the essence of Elvis’. Ken Sharp is the author of the new book, Writing For The King, an officially sanctioned Elvis Presley book that showcases over 140 interviews with songwriters whose work was recorded by the artist. If you like reading this article, you will love the book; Writing For The King – a 400 page Book with more than 140 interviews with songwriters like Paul McCartney, Leiber & Stoller, Pomus & Shuman, Red West, Mark James and Tony Joe White, Included are two CDs, the first contains previously unreleased RCA recordings of Elvis performing live in Las Vegas (1969 through 1972), the second a selection of the original demos submitted to Elvis.
How many songs did Elvis actually sing?
Though Elvis Presley recorded more than 700 songs, he did not pen any of them himself. His co-writing credits were limited – and some were there just for publishing and rights purposes – but he was a master at selecting good songs. And while he would record many definitive versions of songs such as “Hound Dog” and “Suspicious Minds,” there is no shortage of surprising Elvis Presley covers of songs more often associated with artists like The Beatles and Carpenters,
Who is Elvis’s favorite singer?
The full list of Elvis’ record collection was supplied by EPE and comprises more than 2,000 items of which more than 1,000 are catalogued in the Record Collector article (review below), meanwhile Michael Lollar from the Memphis Commercial Appeal also examines Elvis record crates. From Elvis’s crates, Influential singers fill list of vinyl – By Michael Lollar
|It was Elvis Presley’s synthesis of gospel, blues, soul, country and rhythm and blues that helped construct rock and roll in the 1950s, and his record collection reflects the far-ranging tastes that followed him into the 1960s and 1970s. From Chuck Berry to Bobbie Gentry to Beethoven, Presley was a fan. Graceland and EPE have cataloged the collection with 1,000 albums and singles filling up a 24-page list top-heavy with the “big voices” and “clear and distinctive” styles that were a magnet for Presley. “Elvis used to say, ‘I can appreciate the best of everything,’ ” says hisElvis friend and disk jockey George Klein, who once asked Elvis why he liked opera stars Mario Lanza and Enrico Caruso. There is only one opera recording (by Lanza) in the Elvis collection, which EPE’s Todd Morgan says “leans heavily to black rhythm and blues and to black and white gospel.” Graceland archivists cataloged the recordings by title and last names of artists, so exact numbers in each category aren’t readily available. That’s because many of the groups and solo artists who began as gospel singers crossed over into pop and rhythm and blues and later returned to their gospel roots.|
But Elvis friends said they did not need to see a list to know that Gospel recordings were Elvis’s favorites and the music that Elvis most often played for friends. “He loved close harmony,” says former Memphis Mafia member Red West, who lived at Graceland.
- He says Elvis’s favorite groups were the Harmonizing Four and Golden Gate Quartet and his favorite gospel singers included Jimmy Jones, Jake Hess (who sang with the Statesmen and later formed the Imperials) and Mahalia Jackson.
- It was that close harmony that also made him a big fan of the Ink Spots and The Platters, especially love songs, says West.
But Elvis’s tastes were also guided by his personal views, so that the flower-power draw of The Mamas and the Papas, one of the biggest close-harmony groups of the ’60s and ’70s, was too liberal for his tastes, says West. Gospel groups in Elvis’s collection include the Blackwood Brothers, the Imperials, the Statesmen Quartet, the Stamps, the Harmonizing Four, the Revivalaires, the Jubil-Aires and the Oak Ridge Boys.
- Soul and rhythm and blues performers are another major part of the collection, and it was a handful of them who would be at the top of Elvis’s all-time favorite solo artists, Klein says.
- Former church choir singer Roy Hamilton, whose big baritone voice turned him into a major rhythm and blues artist who crossed over into pop in the ’50s, may have been Elvis’s No.1 favorite singer.
He especially loved Hamilton’s version of Unchained Melody and later recorded it himself. “In Elvis’s version you can hear Roy Hamilton (his style) all the way through it,” says Klein. Hamilton also influenced Jackie Wilson, Elvis’s other all-time favorite, says Klein.
Wilson’s Night and Lonely Teardrops were two of Elvis’s favorite songs. Memphis Mafia member Marty Lacker, who lived at Graceland and later founded the city’s music commission, says singer Jimmy Jones of the Harmonizing Four gospel group was another Elvis favorite. At dinner one night in the Graceland dining room, Elvis told him the people who “really influenced” him were big-band and pop singer Billy Eckstine, rhythm and blues singers Brook Benton and Arthur Prysock and gospel singer Jake Hess.
But Elvis’s tastes were always varied, says Memphis Mafia member Jerry Schilling, former head of the Memphis and Shelby County Music Commission. While he owned several Frank Sinatra records, he was an even bigger fan of Dean Martin. Schilling also remembers Hamilton as an all-time Elvis favorite, but also lists Mario Lanza, the Ink Spots, the Blackwood Brothers, the Prisonaires, The Platters, The Drifters and The Jackson 5.
- We followed the Jackson 5 in Lake Tahoe once when Lisa (Lisa Marie Presley) was 6 years old.
- That’s when she first met Michael Jackson.” Rock bands are a rarity in the collection.
- There were four Beatles albums and albums by Chicago and the Turtles, but West says Elvis preferred soloists.
- West, a songwriter, once tried to turn Elvis on to the song Green, Green Grass of Home, but Elvis wasn’t interested.
When Tom Jones recorded it, Elvis was returning to Memphis on a tour bus. “When we got within range of Memphis, he kept stopping every few minutes to call George Klein (at WHBQ radio) and got him to play it every few minutes from Little Rock to Memphis.” Jones and Presley later became good friends, often visiting each other backstage after their Las Vegas shows.
There are relatively few female singers in the record collection, but Elvis’s friends say his favorites included Anne Murray (for her “clear and distinctive voice”), Vikki Carr (It Must Be Him), Mahalia Jackson, Della Reese, Dionne Warwick, Bobbie Gentry, Leslie Uggams, Timi Yuro, the Andrews Sisters, the McGuire Sisters and his former backup group The Sweet Inspirations.
His record collection includes a duet album between Memphis father and daughter Rufus and Carla Thomas. Elvis, the rocker and balladeer, was not a fan of jazz, but he had an album by Duke Ellington, Newport 1958, in the collection. There was also only a small sampling of classical music – Brahms’s Symphony No.1, Beethoven’s Konzert Fur Klavier Und Orchestra No.5 and Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D Minor. Graceland TV room with Elvis’ Hi-Fi & vinyl collection on the far left – check out the stack of 45rpms Some of the highlights listed in the Record Collector article (there are many more) include:
Jingle Bells by Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters is the earliest released (1943) single in the collection the collection includes significant numbers of R&B but remarkably few seminal rock & roll releases. The large catalog of artists included Johnny Ace, Ray Charles, Faye Adams, Joe Turner, Little Walter and Ivory Joe Hunter similarly, ‘white’ gospel recordings are well represented by names such as The Blackwood’s, the Speer Family, The Statesmen, the Higher Ground and the Brock Brothers, while ‘black’ gospel hardly gets a look in, with only a handful of singles and LPs by artists including the Soul Stirrers, Golden Gate Quartet and the Rance Allen Group Ballad recordings by The Clovers, the Crickets, The Platters, the Spiders, the Dominoes, Pat Boone and Glenn Miller/The Ink Spots The Country music genre is well represented through recordings by Jimmy Little, Bobbie Gentry, Eddy Arnold, Rita Coolidge, Jim Reeves and Ray Price soul recordings by Smokey Robinson, Etta James, Sam Cooke, Clyde McPhatter and Ben E. King among many others Orchestral records by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Choral recordings by the Bethany First Church of the Nazarene and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Movie themes by Leonard Bernstein, Marty Gold and the Manhattan Pops Then contemporary rock sounds – The Allman Brothers Band, Free and Mott The Hoople records Then contemorary pop sounds – Jose Feliciano, Nilsson, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Tom Jones, Englebert Humperdinck, Dionne Warwick and Anne Murray Collection of speeches (In Search of Freedom) by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Charles Boyer’s LP of spoken love songs (Where Does Love Go) The (symbolic single) I Can Make It With You by Jackie DeShannon Several comedy albums including The First Family by Robert Kennedy impersonator, Vaughn Meader, and Laugh.Live from Jonathan Winters Red West’s acetate of If Everyday Was Like Christmas (a festive theme recurred throughout Elvis’ large collection with dozens of yuletide season titles)
The list of artists Elvis listened to is particularly broad. Apart from those mentioned above, others signifying an interesting cross-section of the musical rainbow are: Marty Robbins, Frank Sinatra, Brownie McGee, the Sunshine Sisters, Mac Davis, Rex Allen Jr., the New York Philharmonic, J.J.
| The authors (Steve Cairns and George R. White) found what they termed as some “cringeworthy” releases:
The Andrews Sisters Greatest Hits Milton Berle’s Songs My Mother Loved Hilltoppers’ Present Tops In Pops
Other interesting inclusions include releases by:
Max Bygraves Acker Bilk Bert Kaempfert Pat Boone reads from the Holy Bible two singles by The Partridge Family several “well worn LP’s by David Cassidy”.
(Right:Graceland’s classic “music centre”)
Of special mention has to be Elvis’ possession of “Ballads of The King (Songs of Elvis Presley)” by the Johnny Mann Singers. And yes, for those of you wondering, Elvis’ personal record collection included several of his own releases. Titles found included Elvis Is Back (reportedly well worn), Peace In The Valley (EP), A Date With Elvis (LP) and Jailhouse Rock (45rpm).
|SINGLES 1. “White Christmas” – Bing Crosby 2. “Shake a Hand” – Faye Adams 3. “Just Walking in the Rain” – The Prisonaires 4. “Malaguena” – Andre Kostelanetz 5. “Pledging My Love” – Johnny Ace 6. “Unchained Melody” – Roy Hamilton 7. “Blue Velvet” – The Clovers 8. “Witchcraft” – The Spiders 9. “I Walk the Line” – Johnny Cash 10. “Peggy Sue” – Buddy Holly 11. “Skinny Minnie” – Bill Haley 12. “Fever” – Peggy Lee 13. “Good Rocking Tonight” – Pat Boone 14. “Chain Gang” – Sam Cooke 15. “Stardust” – Frank Sinatra.16. “Gonna Miss You Round Here” – BB King 17. “20-75” – Willie Mitchell 18. “Share Your Love With Me” – Bobby Bland 19. “The House of the Rising Sun” – The Animals.20. “Mr. Pitiful” – Otis Redding|
21. “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” – The Righteous Brothers 22. “It’s a Man’s Man’s World” – James Brown 23. “Spanish Flea” – Herb Alpert 24. “Ode to Billy Joe” – Bobby Gentry 25. “Baby I Love You” – Aretha Franklin 26. “Light My Fire” – Jose Feliciano 27.
Everybody’s Talkin'” – Nilsson 28. “I Hear You Knocking” – Dave Edmunds.29. “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim” – Jim Croce 30. “My Way” – Frank Sinatra ALBUMS 1. “Every Time I Feel the Spirit” – Mahalia Jackson 2. “Dino’s Italian Love Songs” – Dean Martin 3. “Piano in the Foreground” – Duke Ellington 4. “The First Family” – Vaughn Meader 5.
“Greatest Hits” – Chuck Berry 6. “The Greatest Live Show on Earth” – Jerry Lee Lewis 7. “Where Does Love Go” – Charles Boyer 8. “Crying Time” – Ray Charles 9. “Live in Las Vegas” – Tom Jones 10. “Cherish” – David Cassidy. (Presumably bought for, or by, Lisa Marie) If you want to know more about Elvis’ Record Collection the extremly detailed 2004 article ” The King and Hi-Fi” from the Record Collector magazine is a valuable entry in our understanding of Elvis Presley the person.
Could Elvis play guitar?
Elvis Presley, the Musician – Elvis Presley built a legendary career around his unforgettable voice, but it wasn’t his only instrument. What instruments did Elvis play? He played guitar, bass and piano, and often toyed with instruments like the drums, accordion and ukulele.
- While he couldn’t read or write music and had no formal lessons, he was a natural musician and played everything by ear.
- He could often hear a song, pick up an instrument, and play.
- He often played an instrument in his recordings, and always produced his own music.
- Elvis was simply born to create music and he was always learning new ways to do it.
Endlessly creative, Elvis often jumped at the chance to play around and practice with whatever musical instruments were available. Elvis famously picked up a guitar as an 11-year-old in Tupelo, when his mother, Gladys, purchased a guitar for him for his birthday from Tupelo Hardware.
- He used that guitar all through high school, and even in his early career.
- He owned many more, and much nicer, guitars during his career, and used many prop guitars in his movies.
- The guitar is the instrument most associated with Elvis, and while he was a good player, he wasn’t a virtuoso.
- But what may be more important than that was the whole appearance: Elvis, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, always looked even cooler with his guitar in hand.
He influenced many young fans to pick up a guitar, just like he did. If it wasn’t for Elvis and his guitar, we probably wouldn’t have The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen and many, many more. Speaking of guitars, Elvis played bass, too. On May 3, 1957, Elvis and his band were working on a soundtrack session for “Jailhouse Rock.” Bill Black had a difficult time laying down the bass line for “(You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care” on his new electric bass, and he eventually gave up, frustrated.
Elvis surprised everyone by picking up the bass and playing the part – so perfect that Jerry Lieber performed a scratch vocal, and the two recorded the perfect instrumental master for Elvis to sing a new vocal track over. When The Beatles visited Elvis in California in 1965, they all jammed, with Elvis on bass.
“He had a massive amplifier with a bass plugged into it, and he was up playing bass all the time.” John Lennon later recalled. “So we just got in there and played with him. We all plugged whatever was around, and we played and sang.” Like the guitar, Elvis learned the piano early, and played it by ear.
- Elvis often played piano during rehearsals, and occasionally on stage.
- He especially loved to gather around a piano for gospel jam sessions.
- One of the most stunning Alfred Wertheimer photos features a 21-year-old Elvis sitting at a piano, playing and singing gospel songs to himself.
- Elvis may have never played drums on an album or on stage, but Elvis – always full of energy and musical curiosity – tried his hand at the drums many times.
In fact, the very first gift his future wife, Priscilla Presley, gave him was a set of bongo drums. Elvis, the accordion player? It’s not exactly a rock star’s instrument, but Elvis, who loved all kinds of music, never hesitated to pick up the instrument and see what he could play.
Who owns Elvis Presley’s music royalties
As a result, Lisa Marie does not own the artist’s royalties on sales of recordings made before March 1973, however the Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) does own his artist’s royalties on sales of recordings made after that date, which still earns them a hefty sum.
Who owns Graceland now?
Graceland’s New Sole Owner, Riley Keough, Details Childhood on Elvis’s Iconic Estate The mania for all things clearly did not die with him, as evidenced by biopics and the enduring obsession with his final resting place,, At the time of his death, the estate and the family shares of Elvis Presley Enterprises were worth $5 million; that today that number is closer to $500 million.
The abode at 3764 Elvis Presley Boulevard in Memphis is a pilgrimage site, drawing in over 4,000 visitors a day during the height of its tourist season,, Presley purchased the property in 1957 for $102,500. Following the January death of his only child,, and subsequent legal proceedings regarding the estate’s custody, Elvis’s granddaughter Riley Keough was granted sole ownership of Graceland.
The rock-and-roll heir unpacked her childhood memories on the hallowed grounds in a new Vanity Fair interview for the magazine’s September cover.
What is Graceland worth today?
The homes’ worth has since skyrocketed – in large part thanks to Priscilla’s decision to open it to the public – and today it reportedly generates over $10 million annually, plus a Presley executive told Rolling Stone in 2020 that the estate is worth upwards of $500 million.
Did Michael Jackson buy the rights to Elvis songs
By: David Troedson Source: Launch Radio Networks August 8, 2003 Elvis’ Family History › Gladys and Vernon › Elvis › Lisa Marie › Riley Keogh › Benjamin Keogh › Lisa Marie Presley isn’t happy that her ex-husband, Michael Jackson, owns the rights to some of Elvis Presley’s hit songs. She told Jane magazine in its September issue, “I saw a Velveeta commercial, and it was playing, I think, ‘Burning Love.’ He had approved it-that’s something we can’t control.
He can do whatever he wants with the songs he owns to make money, and that got under my skin.” Presley also dismisses the idea that another former husband, actor and big-time Elvis fan Nicolas Cage (news), married her because she was “The King’s” daughter. She told the magazine, “He is so talented and he’s got an Academy Award.
The notion is demeaning and completely unfounded.” Lisa Marie Presley (news) is currently on tour in support of her debut album, To Whom It May Concern, She, and touring partner Chris Isaak, play Chicago’s House Of Blues on Friday (August 8).
What is Elvis’s famous line?
There are plenty of Elvis sayings and quotes in the hearts of his family, friends and fans. Read a few popular Elvis sayings below. These Elvis quotes were taken mostly from interviews and live performances. If you want to learn more about the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, you can read the Elvis biography,
Also, sign up for the Elvis Presley’s Graceland e-newsletter to stay up-to-date with the latest news from the king’s castle. “Some people tap their feet, some people snap their fingers, and some people sway back and forth. I just sorta do ‘em all together, I guess.” – Elvis in 1956, talking about his way of moving on stage.
“I ain’t no saint, but I’ve tried never to do anything that would hurt my family or offend God.I figure all any kid needs is hope and the feeling he or she belongs. If I could do or say anything that would give some kid that feeling, I would believe I had contributed something to the world.” – Elvis commenting to a reporter, 1950’s.
- Don’t criticize what you don’t understand, son.
- You never walked in that man’s shoes.” – Elvis often used this adaptation of a well-known quotation.
- When I was a child, ladies and gentlemen, I was a dreamer.
- I read comic books and I was the hero of the comic book.
- I saw movies and I was the hero in the movie.
So every dream I ever dreamed has come true a hundred times.I learned very early in life that: ‘Without a song, the day would never end; without a song, a man ain’t got a friend; without a song, the road would never bend – without a song.’ So I keep singing a song.
- Thank you.” – From his acceptance speech for the 1970 Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation Award.
- Given at a ceremony on January 16, 1971.
- Elvis quotes from copyrighted material with lines from the song “Without a Song”.) “We do two shows a night for five weeks.
- A lotta times we’ll go upstairs and sing until daylight – gospel songs.
We grew up with it.It more or less puts your mind at ease. It does mine.” – Talking about the informal jam sessions he and the band and entourage enjoy each night during the lengthy Vegas engagements. These happen upstairs in Elvis’ suite at the Las Vegas Hilton as they all try to “wind down” from the excitement and energy of the live shows.
Quote is from a 1972 taped interview used in MGM’s documentary “Elvis on Tour.” “I’ve never gotten over what they call stagefright. I go through it every show. I’m pretty concerned, I’m pretty much thinking about the show. I never get completely comfortable with it, and I don’t let the people around me get comfortable with it, in that I remind them that it’s a new crowd out there, it’s a new audience, and they haven’t seen us before.
So it’s got to be like the first time we go on.” – From a 1972 taped interview used in MGM’s documentary “Elvis on Tour” “The first time that I appeared on stage, it scared me to death. I really didn’t know what all the yelling was about. I didn’t realize that my body was moving.
It’s a natural thing to me. So to the manager backstage I said, ‘What’d I do? What’d I do?’ And he said “Whatever it is, go back and do it again.” – From a 1972 taped interview used in MGM’s documentary “Elvis on Tour” “Man, I was tame compared to what they do now. Are you kidding? I didn’t do anything but just jiggle.” – From the press conference prior to his record-breaking Madison Square Garden shows in New York City, 1972 “.the image is one thing and the human being is another.it’s very hard to live up to an image.” – From the press conference prior to his record-breaking Madison Square Garden shows in New York City, 1972 “A live concert to me is exciting because of all the electricity that is generated in the crowd and on stage.
It’s my favorite part of the business – live concerts.” – Elvis at a press conference prior to his 1973 television special, “Elvis – Aloha from Hawaii, via Satellite” ” ‘Til we meet again, may God bless you. Adios.” – Said in 1977 at the end of a concert during his last tour
What was Elvis first No 1 song
Here we are, Elvis fans. the last part in our Elvis’ #1 Hits series. It’s really incredible to consider Elvis’ success. Fans often gasp when they round the corner to see his wall of gold at the Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum. So many Gold, Platinum and Diamond Records.
So many awards. So many records sold, so many spins on the record player, jukebox and CD and, now, so many digital streams. So many lives touched. This final part of our series spotlights a few of the king’s biggest hits. Learn more about Elvis’ #1’s in the previous parts of this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6,
Be sure to tell us your favorite Elvis hit in the comments! “Heartbreak Hotel” “Heartbreak Hotel” was listed as one of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. “Well, the bellhop’s tears keep flowin’ And the desk clerk’s dressed in black Well, they’ve been so long on Lonely Street Well, they’ll never, they’ll never get back.” According to songwriters Mae Axton and Tommy Durden, the inspiration for this blues song came from an article in the Miami Herald.
According to the story, a man had completed suicide and left no identification or any other information, aside from a note that read, “I walk a lonely street.” A demo of the song was made by Glen Reeves, and Axton took that demo to a DJ convention in Nashville, where she played it for Elvis. She offered him a share of the writers’ publishing ownership if the song would be his first new single release for RCA, which had just purchased his recording contract from Sun Records.
Elvis and his band recorded “Heartbreak Hotel” on January 10, 1956, at RCA studios in Nashville in his first recording session for RCA. Scotty Moore and Chet Atkins were on guitar, with Bill Black on bass and D.J. Fontana on drums. Floyd Cramer played piano.
Gordon Stoker of The Jordanaires, plus Ben and Brock Speer, provided background vocals. The original lyrics were “they pray to die,” but were changed to “they could die.” Take 7 was chosen as the single, and it was released on January 27, 1956. The young King of Rock ‘n’ Roll had a hit – by April, it sold a million copies.
“Heartbreak Hotel” became Elvis’ first #1 on Billboard’s pop singles chart and his first gold record award winner. It reigned on the Billboard pop charts for eight weeks of its 27-week stay. It also enjoyed a 27-week run on the country singles chart with 17 of those weeks at #1.
It reached #5 on the R&B chart. In England, it reached #2 on the British pop singles chart. “Heartbreak Hotel” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1995. “Heartbreak Hotel” has been covered by many artists, including Elvis’ “Viva Las Vegas” co-star Ann-Margaret, Willie Nelson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Billy Joel, Guns N Roses, Suzi Quatro and James Gang.
“All Shook Up” This track is listed as #352 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. “My hands are shaky and my knees are weak I can’t seem to stand on my own two feet Who do you thank when you have such luck? I’m in love I’m all shook up” “All Shook Up” was written by Otis Blackwell, who also penned hits like “Great Balls of Fire,” “Return to Sender,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” and “Fever.” Elvis had become uncomfortable with the practice of being given writer’s credits on songs in which he had publishing partnership, so this would be the last song on which he would receive such a credit.
- Elvis recorded “All Shook Up” on January 12, 1957, at Radio Recorders of Hollywood.
- His band included Scotty Moore on guitar, Bill Black on bass and D.J.
- Fontana on drums,
- Gordon Stoker of The Jordanaires played piano, and The Jordanaires sang back-up.
- To give the song the same feel as he had on “Don’t Be Cruel,” Elvis slapped time on the back of his guitar.
Take 10 was chosen as the single, and Elvis requested that it be his next single. It was shipped on March 22, 1957. “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin” was on the flip side. It was a new recording of one of the two songs Elvis recorded at Memphis Recording Service, home of Sun Records, in 1953.
All Shook Up” topped all three major Billboard charts in the U.S.: country; four weeks at #1 on the R&B chart; and nine weeks as the #1 pop single with a 30-week run on the chart. It was #1 for seven weeks on the British singles chart. “All Shook Up” has been covered by artists like Paul McCartney, Billy Joel and Jeff Beck.
“Are You Lonesome Tonight?” Elvis loved to play around with the lyrics to this song in his live performances. “Is your heart filled with pain? Shall I come back again? Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight?” “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” has a bit of history. The song was penned in 1926 by Roy Turk and Lou Handman, and Al Jolson recorded it the following year.
The song’s soliloquy was inspired by Jacques’ speech in Act II, Scene VII of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.” Elvis recorded the song on April 3, 1960 at RCA Studio B in Nashville. Elvis’ manager, Col. Tom Parker, suggested that the king cover the song, as it was one of his wife’s favorites. Elvis’ take on “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” was shipped on November 1, 1960, with “I Gotta Know” on the B side.
The song topped the Billboard pop singles chart for 6 weeks of its 16-week run. It peaked at #3 in a 10-week run on the R&B singles chart, and it peaked at #22 in a 6-week run on the country chart. “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” topped the British pop singles chart for four weeks of its 15-week run.
Elvis’ “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” was nominated for three Grammy Awards in 1960: Record of the Year (Percy Faith’s “Theme from ‘A Summer Place'” won); Best Vocal Performance – Male (“Georgia on My Mind” by Ray Charles won) and Best Vocal Performance – Pop Single Artist (Charles won again in this category).
Artists who covered the song before and after Elvis include The Carter Family, Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Merle Haggard, Donny Osmond, Barry Manilow, Bryan Ferry and John Schneider. “Suspicious Minds” Elvis and his father, Vernon, got to know singer Roy Hamilton while working at American Sound Studio. “We can’t go on together With suspicious minds And we can’t build our dreams On suspicious minds” “Suspicious Minds” is one of the biggest hits of Elvis’ career.
It was written by Mark James, and Elvis recorded it on January 22, 1969, at American Studio in Memphis. Producer Chips Moman suggested the song to the king. It ended up being the last song recorded at the session. Reggie Young played guitar, with Tommy Cogbill and Mike Leech on bass. Bobby Wood played piano, and Bobby Emmons played the organ.
Gene Chrisman was on drums, with John Hugley on steel guitar. Horns, strings and backing vocals were added later. Take 8 was used as the single, and “You’ll Think of Me” was the B-side. The single shipped on August 26, 1969, and it hit #1 on the Billboard pop singles chart for a week on its 15-week run.
Was Elvis considered a good singer?
Elvis Presley 1973. Musical prodigies are most often associated with classical music, but by definition, such prodigies are natural talents and not restricted to one musical genre. Musical prodigies usually have several of the following characteristics: exceptional talent and/or interest in music at an early age; the ability to identify the specific pitch of sounds, i.e., perfect pitch, also known as a natural ear for music, or a good ear; ability to play by ear and/or to improvise; long-term memory for elements of music – melody, harmony, rhythm, time, and/or lyrics; and creative performance abilities (emotional and/or dynamic delivery, improvisation).
‘The one element that truly defines a musical prodigy is the ability to create a performance dynamic with the audience that is captivating and, at times, overwhelming’. Elvis Presley was a genius. He didn’t express himself the way the middle classes do, which is with wordplay and being able to explain his actions and reactions.
He acted on gut instinct and expressed himself by the way he held the microphone, by the way, he moved his hips, by the way, that he sang down the microphone. That was his genius, I believe the essence of any performer is gut instinct, Because it’s in everyone, it’s instinct. Elvis won three Grammy Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy for the Recording Arts and Sciences, And this is the thing about Rock ‘N’ Roll music, this is what music has that makes it better than all that: It is instinctive,
- And isn’t that the way it should be? Elvis had the wisdom that makes wise men look foolish.
- Elvis Presley’s talent as a musical artist was double barrelled and more; he was an exceptional vocalist and a unique stage performer with instinctive, natural ability in both areas.
- It appears from available recollections that Presley was born with a love of music.
Elvis Presley’s voice was extraordinary for its quality, range, and power. Although he burst onto the American stage singing rock ‘n’ roll, Elvis’ powerfully gospel songs and ballads were his personal favourites (He won three Grammy Awards for recordings of sacred songs).
- The quality of his voice is most often described as soulful.
- It had an ‘aching sincerity,
- And an indefinable quality of yearning,
- Virtually impossible to pigeonhole’.
- Elvis Presley’s three-octave vocal range was exceptional, ‘very narrowly all at once a tenor, baritone, and bass’.
- A 1987 article in the Village Voice included an assessment of his voice in classical terms, categorizing it as a ‘lyric baritone,
unexpectedly rich low, and astounding high notes’. It also discussed the power of Elvis’ voice, which it termed ‘microphone singing’, while also noting that it was ‘hard to think of an opera singer who could match it’ According to Jerry Leiber, ‘He had an incredible, attractive, instrument that worked in many registers.
- He could falsetto like Little Richard.
- He could sing.
- The equipment was outstanding,
- His sense of timing and rhythm was second to none’.
- Elvis was ‘the master of a wide and diverse range of vocal styling’s and ventriloquistic effects, from the clear tenor of his country-western heroes (Roy Acuff, Eddy Arnold, Jimmie Rodgers) to the exaggerated vibrato of the gospel singers he loved’.
(Jake Hess, J.D. Sumner ). The following assessment comes from Myrna Smith, a member of the vocal group the Sweet Inspirations, who performed with Presley for a number of years during the last phase of his career. Smith has also performed with Aretha Franklin and other exceptional vocalists.
- ‘When Elvis was in true form, he was fabulous.
- He had so much energy.
- His voice was a lot more remarkable than it ever came off on record, and his vocal pitch was much better than it came off on record.
- He was just a much better singer than could ever be captured.
- There are a lot of singers like that: You can’t capture truly what they sound like.
Kiri Te Kanawa: The young Elvis Presley, without any doubt Some great singers’ voices are just too big. Elvis was like that’. (New Zealand soprano Kiri Te Kanawa about the greatest voice she’d ever heard, probably expecting her to name Luciano Pavarotti or Maria Callas, but she said: ‘The young Elvis Presley, without any doubt’).
Was Elvis the biggest singer of all time?
By: Elvis Australia Source: www.elvis.com.au April 17, 2014 Not for the first time, the website India.com has mentioned Elvis, this time proclaiming Elvis top of their list of the 5 most influential singers of all time, ‘You don’t need to be in a band to make it big in the music industry, all you need is talent, good looks and a little bit of luck, here are some of the greatest solo music artists, who revolutionized the music industry both in the West and in India to some extent’ : 1) Elvis Presley (1935- 1977): Elvis Presley sold more albums than any other individual music artist in history, and the second most overall (the Beatles sold more).
Is Elvis the greatest singer of all time?
Elvis Presley, with a total of 139 million units sold, is still one of the best selling artists, and made it into the top 20 of Rolling Stone’s greatest singers of all time.
Who wrote the best book about Elvis?
Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley by Peter Guralnick. In this deeply researched biography, Guralnick paints a colorful portrait of the first 24 years of Presley’s life.
Did Otis Blackwell make money from Elvis
Otis Blackwell and Elvis Presley never met, but their respective talents intersected at a crucial time in the history of popular music. After an unsuccessful recording career in the early 1950s, Blackwell found his calling as a songwriter. At the same time, Presley’s unique set of singing and performing skills were catching fire with the country’s teenagers. “Otis wrote in a style that came to define a new synthesis that Elvis was groping for,” noted Presley biographer Peter Guralnick. The Songwriters Hall of Fame profile of Blackwell notes that his songs, “helped to launch the Presley legend to the heights of the stratosphere (and then some), and it’s certainly equally accurate to say that these initial successes with Presley quickly secured Blackwell’s place in the Who’s Who of American pop songwriters.” Their timely connection in 1956 was a breakthrough for both of them.
Otis Blackwell was born in Brooklyn, New York, on February 16, 1931, four years before Presley’s birth. Like Elvis, Otis’s first musical experience involved singing gospel songs with his family. But also like Elvis, Otis’s taste in music crossed cultural color lines early in life. “Tex Ritter was my idol,” he declared in a 1979 interview.
“In my neighborhood there was a movie theater. I used to sit from morning to night watching cowboy pictures I would have preferred to sing country.” Of country music, Blackwell once said, “Like the blues, it told a story. But it didn’t have the same restrictive construction.
- A cowboy song could do anything.” Blackwell’s introduction to the music business began with his uncle taking him to New York City blues clubs.
- I’d get up and sing a song or two,” he recalled.
- That’s how we used to make a little change.
- People would throw quarters.” By age 16, Otis had a manager, of sorts, who booked him into various clubs.
“I started writing when I began singing,” he explained. “I’d sit down and doodle and fool around but I must have been 18 when I got out and hustled the songs.” • “Fever” put Otis Blackwell on the musical map His breakout tune was “Fever,” co-written with Eddie Cooley in 1955.
- In a 1971 Presley radio documentary, Blackwell recalled how the song first got recorded.
- We took that song over to King Records, because Henry Glover, a friend, was running the company then.
- He said he had a fellow named Little Willie John, and he believed this song would be good for him.
- And it’s a funny part about that because it took us an awful long time to get Willie John to record it he’d say, ‘Who the heck wants to sing a song has to do with fever and finger-popin’?'” Little Willie John’s recording of “Fever” was an R&B hit in 1956.
It was Peggy Lee’s sultry pop version, however, that Presley mimicked when he recorded “Fever” for his “Elvis Is Back” LP in 1960. Soon after the success with “Fever,” Blackwell wrote what would become his signature song—”Don’t Be Cruel.” Although he no longer made commercial recordings, Otis sang on demonstration records of his compositions. According to the Songwriters Hall of Fame, his singing style and catchy tunes caught the ear of Aaron “Goldie” Goldmark at Shalimar Music Publishing.
“Goldmark who was already well-known in the Elvis Presley inner circle, managed to get Presley’s people to hear some of Blackwell’s demos, which became the great door opener every songwriter dreamt about.” And so it happened that Blackwell’s “Don’t Be Cruel” was among a stack of demos RCA executive Steve Sholes presented to Elvis at a New York recording session of July 2, 1956.
“From the first moment Elvis heard ‘Don’t Be Cruel,” he just snapped on it,” said Guralnick. “It was a perfect song for him.” Backed with “Hound Dog,” it became the biggest two-sided single hit record of Elvis’s career. On its own, “Don’t Be Cruel” spent 7 weeks at #1 on Billboard’s “Top 100” pop chart in 1956.
- Presley writing credit still controversial Half a century later, though, controversy still lives concerning the song’s authorship.
- It was the first of three songs for which Blackwell shared writing credit with Presley.
- I was told that I would have to make a deal,” Otis explained.
- Many have argued that Presley’s management virtually stole half of the writer royalties on “Don’t Be Cruel,” all of which should have gone to Blackwell.
However, in a 1957 article in Jet magazine, Otis declared, “I got a good deal. I made money, I’m happy.” After the success of “Don’t Be Cruel,” Blackwell was asked to write more songs for Elvis. RCA set up a Hollywood session in September 1956 to record material for Presley’s second RCA album and a new single.
Otis’s contribution, “Paralyzed,” seemed like a good candidate for the rhythm side of the single, but it became a cut on the LP, when “Too Much” was selected for single release instead. Blackwell explained, “The story I got was that because of the word ‘paralyzed’ a lot of organizations got down on the thing, so they wouldn’t release it as a single.” Still, as a cut on an extended 45 album, “Paralyzed” charted on the “Top 100” for 7 weeks in early 1957.
Otis had better luck with his next song for Elvis, which would be the last for which Presley would get co-writer credit. In the 1979 interview, Blackwell explained how he got the idea for the title. “Al Stanton walked in one day with a bottle of Pepsi, shaking it and said, ‘Otis, I’ve got an idea.
- Why don’t you write a song called ‘All Shook Up.” Two days later I brought the song in and said, ‘Look, man.
- I did something with it.’ After that song, the agreement about sharing song writing credit was washed.
- We had both proved how good we were and had a good thing between the two of us.” Elvis recorded “All Shook Up” in RCA’s Hollywood studios on January 12, 1957.
Later that year it became Presley biggest chart record ever, spending 30 weeks in the “Top 100,” including 8 weeks at #1. Although Presley’s induction into the army in 1958 suspended their collaboration for two years, Blackwell continued to have success writing hit records for other artists. Most notably, he wrote “Great Balls of Fire” and “Breathless” for Jerry Lee Lewis.
- He also wrote “Just Keep It Up” and “Hey Little Girl” for Dee Clark and “Handy Man” for Jimmy Jones.
- Elvis recorded two Otis Blackwell songs for “Elvis Is Back” LP After Elvis returned to civilian life in 1960, Blackwell was included among a group of songwriters who were invited to submit songs for possible use on Presley records and movie soundtracks.
The first song Elvis recorded during his first post-army recording session was Blackwell’s “Make Me Know It,” which, along with “Fever,” appeared on Presley’s “Elvis Is Back” LP. It was two years later, though, before Presley recorded another Blackwell song.
- By then Otis had teamed up with the most well known of his many writing partners.
- I’ve done a lot of stuff by myself, but I enjoy writing with other people too,” he explained in the 1971 Presley radio documentary.
- So I teamed up with this other guy—Robey is his name—his name is Winfield Scott, but we call him Robey.” Together they submitted “(Such An) Easy Question,” which Elvis recorded for his 1962 studio album, “Pot Luck.” In 1965, when the song was reissued as a single, it reached #11 on Billboard’s “Hot 100” chart.
The Blackwell-Scott team got their biggest hit later in 1962 when they submitted some material for Elvis’ Paramount musical, Girls! Girls! Girls! In a 1984 interview published in Elvis: The Man and His Music in 1991, Blackwell explained how “Return to Sender” got into the soundtrack.
In that movie they gave us all these titles to write. And there was only one title that we wrote that came into the movie—‘We’re Comin’ In Loaded.’ We also wrote ‘Return to Sender,’ but was not one of the titles. Colonel Parker had come to New York, and I went and met him. He said that Elvis was going to do this movie, and he had some songs that he had to take back, and he asked me did we have any.
So I told him that the only two songs were ‘Comin’ in Loaded,’ which we wrote for the movie, but the other song was not a title they’d given us. He said, ‘Well, you gotta play it for me anyway, ‘cause Elvis loves to hear your stuff.’ So I played ‘Return to Sender’ for him, and he said, ‘Don’t worry.
- That will go into the movie, I can tell you that, ‘cause it’s a great song.'” • Blackwell wrote back-to-back Presley singles in 1962-63 Of course, released as a single in 1962, “Return to Sender” became one of Elvis’s most recognizable songs.
- It spent 16 weeks in the “Hot 100,” including 10 weeks in the top 10 and 5 weeks at #2.
Blackwell and Scott also penned Presley’s next single. “One Broken Heart For Sale” was used in the soundtrack of “It Happened At the World’s Fair” and was Elvis’ first single release in 1963. The last Blackwell-Scott song that Elvis recorded was “Please Don’t Drag That String Around,” which was the B side of Presley’s 1963 hit single, “(You’re the) Devil in Disguise.” “We figured we would put a little comedy thing into that one,” Blackwell recalled in 1984.
We tried to lean a little bit toward the country side.” As the late sixties ushered in an era of groups and singer-songwriters, Otis Blackwell’s influence on the pop music scene began to fade. And even though Elvis hadn’t recorded one of his songs in 15 years, he took it hard when Presley died in 1977.
“He was like a piece of the whole business,” he explained. “I mean some people you just figure are never going to die. Inside man, they’ll always live. When they’re gone, a certain piece goes and you just can’t believe it.” In the late seventies, Blackwell recorded an album of his own hit music and went out on tour.
In 1987 he sang “Don’t Be Cruel” during an appearance on The David Letterman Show, In 1990 he moved to Nashville to be near the recording industry. He suffered a debilitating stroke the next year, and died of a heart attack in 2002 at the age of 70. He is interred in Nashville’s Memorial Park Cemetery.
Otis Blackwell wrote over 1,000 songs. He has been inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (1986), the National Academy of Popular Music’s Songwriters Hall of Fame (1991), and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2010). • Long lost Blackwell-Scott recording by Elvis found In 2003 Elvis Presley and Otis Blackwell fans were surprised to learn that one more collaboration between these two rock ‘n’ roll pioneers had been discovered.
- Among his stored possessions, Winfield Scott found an acetate of an unreleased Elvis recording of a song Blackwell and Scott had submitted for use in Presley’s 1964 film, Roustabout,
- Blackwell had discussed the recording in a 1984 telephone interview with Jan-Erik Kjeseth: “The only song that Elvis recorded which hasn’t been released was a song we did for a movie called ‘Roustabout’ Elvis would give us titles to write, and then it would be like maybe 5 or 10 of us writing the same title.
They would pick what they considered to be the best title. In some cases they even went so far as to make records to see which one came out the best We heard the tape of it over at the office, but they said that this was not going to be the one that was to be released The way it came out, it was pretty good.
- You know, being a writer you sometimes tend to think, ‘It’s not that I find the other record so bad, but my song is better,’ you know It was a pretty good cut.” I have to agree with Otis on this one.
- Elvis’ recording of Blackwell and Scott’s “I’m a Roustabout,” first released on the Presley compilation “Second to None” in 2003, is considerably better than the song selected for the Roustabout title track in 1964.
I’m not sure if there is an epitaph on Otis Blackwell’s gravestone in Nashville. If not, a good one would the Blackwell quote used at the end of his 2002 obituary in The New York Times : “I wrote my songs, I got my money and I boogied.” — Alan Hanson | © April 2013 Comment on This Article Go to Elvis Music Go to Home Page “Otis helped to launch the Presley legend to the heights of the stratosphere, and it’s certainly equally accurate to say that these initial successes with Presley quickly secured Blackwell’s place in the Who’s Who of American pop songwriters.”
What song did Willie Nelson wrote for Elvis Presley
Skip to main content From the signature ballad he wrote for Patsy Cline to his love letter to life on the road Willie Nelson’s career as a songwriter and recording artist includes some of country music’s most iconic songs. David Redfern/Redferns When Willie Nelson released his 2016 tribute album to the Gershwin brothers, he was showing his reverence for the Great American Songbook.
But the fact is that Nelson’s own works deserve a volume or two. The Texas native has written some of music’s most important titles, from “Crazy,” made famous by Patsy Cline, to “Funny How Times Slips Away,” covered by Elvis Presley. And then there are the songs with which he has become synonymous, thanks to his charmingly eccentric vocal delivery.
It’s impossible to hear a Willie Nelson performance and not identify it as such. Whether he was crooning Countrypolitan fare in the Sixties — his 1962 debut album And Then I Wrote is remarkable for its wealth of enduring songs — or busting down doors with Waylon Jennings in the Seventies, Nelson was always making waves with that unmistakable voice.
- Rock and roll
Who wrote Jailhouse Rock for Elvis?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|Single by Elvis Presley|
|from the EP Jailhouse Rock|
|B-side||” Treat Me Nice “|
|Released||September 24, 1957|
|Recorded||April 30, 1957|
|Studio||Radio Recorders, Hollywood, California|
|Length||2 : 35|
|Songwriter(s)||Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller|
|Producer(s)||Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller|
|Elvis Presley singles chronology|
Jailhouse Rock ” is a song recorded by American singer Elvis Presley for the film of the same name, It was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, RCA Victor released the song on a 45 rpm single on September 24, 1957, as the first single from the film’s soundtrack EP,