This is the original site of information about original versions of numbers recorded by Elvis Presley, which I began in about 1995. Other sites have copied it, some have translated it, but this site is the one that is best maintained. This list only includes numbers that were recorded by someone before Elvis's own version: it does not include numbers that Elvis recorded first. If you have any information or comments, contact me.
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(Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame recorded by Elvis on Monday, 26 June 1961;Studio
Written by: Pomus; Shuman
Originally recorded by Del Shannon in 1961
Hear Elvis's version on: ELV1S 30 #1 Hits; From Nashville to Memphis (CD 2)
Note that I have used the title that was printed on the labels of the original US and UK single releases of Elvis's version. However, some European picture covers showed it as simply "His Latest Flame" (and presumably this was how it was shown on the record labels). Some listings indicate "(Marie's The Name Of) His Latest Flame" (note the "of"). Other variations can also be found. BMI records state that the "legal title" is simply "His Latest Flame" and that an alternative title is "Marie's The Name Of His Latest Flame" (without parentheses, but with "of"). Recorded first by Del Shannon on 21 June 1961 (other sources indicate May), just a few days before Elvis recorded his version during an all-night session, starting at 6PM on the 25th June and continuing until 7:30 the next morning. Shannon's version was considered as a possible follow-up to his huge success with "Runaway," but this was not to be and he quickly wrote "Hats Off To Larry," which was used instead in order to keep the publishing rights. Rumour has it that both Bobby Vee and Bobby Darin attempted the number even before Del Shannon, but I have found no proof of this. Shannon's original recording appeared on the LP, "Runaway," and was listed simply as "His Latest Flame." The LP was released on BigTop 12-1303. Del Shannon was born Charles Westover on 30 December, 1934, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and grew up in nearby Coopersville. He was spotted singing with his band in Battle Creek by a disk-jockey and this lead to a recording contract. Sadly, Del Shannon committed suicide early in 1990.
(Now And Then There's) A Fool Such As I recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 10 June 1958;Studio
Written by: Trader
Originally recorded by Hank Snow in 1952
Hear Elvis's version on: Elvis' Gold Records Volume 2; The Complete 50's Masters 4; ELV1S 30 #1 Hits
Hank Snow was born Clarence Eugene Snow on 9 May 1914 in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, and suffered a childhood of poverty and abuse. He ran away from home at age 12 and worked at various jobs before following his idol, Jimmy Rodgers into the music business, and eventually earning himself a record deal with RCA Canada in 1936. Snow's heyday was between 1950 and 1965, but he continued performing regularly until the mid-1990s. He became a US citizen in 1956. Hank Snow died in December 1999. See also "I'm Movin' On." Note that the track released on "ELV1S 30 #1 Hits" is not the original single release!
(That's What You Get) For Lovin' Me recorded by Elvis on Monday, 15 March 1971;Studio
Written by: Lightfoot
Originally recorded by Gordon Lightfoot in 1964
Hear Elvis's version on: Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 3
Gordon Lightfoot recorded his own version shortly before Peter, Paul and Mary's hit version of 1964, but his recording was not released until 1966. Gordon Lightfoot was born on 17 November 1938 in Orillia, Ontario (Canada). He made several recordings in 1960 as a member of the Two Tones. (See also "Early Morning Rain.")
(There'll Be) Peace In The Valley (For Me) recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 13 January 1957;Studio
Written by: Dorsey
Originally recorded by Flying Clouds Of Detroit in 1946
Hear Elvis's version on: Elvis' Christmas Album; The Complete Million Dollar Session; The Complete 50's Masters 2
Thomas A. Dorsey became known as "the father of gospel music," after having written more than 400 gospels. However, he had a much more secular start in the music business (for example, he recorded "Tight Like That" with Tampa Red in 1928!). Some sources credit him with inventing the term "gospel music." Dorsey wrote this number in 1937, basing it on the earlier spiritual, "We Shall Walk Through The Valley In Peace," with Mahalia Jackson in mind. However, Jackson did not record the number and, indeed, it remained unrecorded until May 1946 when the Flying Clouds Of Detroit picked it up and recorded it as part of their only recording session for Haven. Their original was released the following year on Haven 510. Tiny Powell's Paramount Singers recorded it in 1949, but it was not until 1951 and Red Foley's million-selling version that the song became widely popular. Elvis also recorded Dorsey's "Take My Hand, Precious Lord." Elvis's version of "Peace In The Valley," however, owes more to Red Foley's 1951 version. Elvis included this number in his performance on the third Ed Sullivan show in which he starred, in January 1957.
(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 20 August 1974;One-liner
Written by: Davis; Miner; Jackson; Smith
Originally recorded by Jackie Wilson in 1967
Hear Elvis's version on: From Sunset to Las Vegas
When introducing Jackie Wilson to the audience at the Las Vegas midnight show on 20 August 1974, Elvis performed just one line of Wilson's famous song, "Higher and Higher." This really is a one-liner in the truest sense of the word—blink and you'll miss it. Jackie Wilson was much admired by Elvis, and rightly so. Elvis thought so much of him that he not only copied his moves when performing "Return to Sender" in the film "Girls! Girls! Girls!" but he also offered financial support to Jackie's family, after Wilson became ill and spent several years in a comatose state in hospital. Wilson also admitted that he was influenced by Elvis. They shared a mutual respect. Jackie Wilson was born on 9 June 1934 in Detroit. In September 1975 he suffered a heart attack while performing onstage and damaged his head when he fell. He went into coma and only emerged from that state briefly in 1976. He died on 21 January 1984 at the Memorial Hospital in Mount Holly, New Jersey. So what about The Dells? The story goes that Raynard Miner and Billy Davis wrote a song called "Higher and Higher" and that this song was stolen from Miner's briefcase by Gary Jackson and Carl Smith. These two got Jackie Wilson to record the song, but it had by that time already been recorded by The Dells. Writing credit on Wilson's release showed Smith and Jackson; this led them to be sued by Miner and Davis and these were awarded 80% of the credits. Well, Mr. Bumble announced in "Oliver Twist" that, "The law is an ass…" and right he might well have been, for The Dells' song, "Higher and Higher" (now titled "(You're Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher" for some reason, as these words do not appear in the lyrics), is very different to the Jackie Wilson version, with only minor lyrical and melodic similarities: an inspiration, perhaps, but little more. So for me, Jackie still takes the original crown.
Written by: West
Originally recorded by The Journeymen in 1961
Hear Elvis's version on: In A Private Moment
Elvis's recording was an informal one, made on a household tape-recorder and never intended for release. The full title of the song is "500 Miles From Home" and exactly who wrote it is something of a mystery: some sources show it as being "traditional," others give only Hedy West as the writer, while still others list it as having been written by Bobby Bare, Hedy West and Charlie Williams. The original recording, made on 21 March 1961 and released on the Capitol label, shows "John Phillips and Hedy West." John Phillips was, in fact, one of the three members of the Journeymen and would later form The Mamas and The Papas. Other members of The Journeymen were Scott McKenzie, who would later gain fame going to San Francisco, and Dick Weissman, by far the most musically talented of the trio. "500 Miles" is based on the older "900 Miles," which itself seems to be a version of a Southern fiddle tune called "Reuben's Train." Hedy West was a singer and banjo-player who came from a North Carolina folksinging family, so perhaps she formalised the song for publication and others then changed the words somewhat in order to create a more popular version and gain some writing credits. Hedy West died on 3 July, 2005, aged 67. Elvis's home recording is sung to a backing provided by the LP, "Sing A Song With The Kingston Trio" (Capitol SKAO 2005), which uses the West version of the lyrics.
A Hundred Years From Now recorded by Elvis on Thursday, 4 June 1970;Studio
Written by: Red River Dave (Dave McEnery)
Originally recorded by Bob Atcher and Bonnie Blue Eyes in 1940
Hear Elvis's version on: Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 3
A song called "A Hundred Years From Now" featured in the 1905 Broadway musical "Moonshine," with music by Silvio Hein and lyrics by George V. Hobart and Edwin Milton Royle. I can confirm that this is not the same song, however, even though the Bear Family Records 1991 release "Flatt & Scruggs 1948-1959" lists Hein and Royle in the writers credits. (Elvis's recordings list Flatt & Scruggs, as does Ernst Jorgensen's "A Life In Music.") The full title of the song appears to be "I Won't Care (A Hundred Years From Now)" and Red River Dave (David L McEnery), a Texas country singer, published a song by this title the 1930s' song portfolio, "Songs Of The Mountains And Plains." In an interview made on 5 May, 1975, Red River Dave confirmed that he was the writer of the song that Flatt & Scruggs recorded as "A Hundred Years From Now." (The interview is part of the Oral History section of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.) On 18 June 1940, country duo Bob Atcher and Bonnie Blue Eyes recorded Red River Dave's number and released it with the title "(I Won't Care) A Hundred Years From Now," firstly on Okeh 05755 and later on Conqueror 9595 and Columbia 37751. The label specifically credits "McEnery" as the songwriter. Extended information regarding A Hundred Years From Now
Can you provide a copy (mp3) of the Bob Atcher and Bonnie Blue Eyes recording? Can you let me have a scan of the label?contact me.
A Thing Called Love recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 19 May 1971;Studio
Written by: Hubbard
Originally recorded by Jerry Reed in 1968
Hear Elvis's version on: He Touched Me; Amazing Grace (CD 2)
Jerry Hubbard, the author, is the real name of Jerry Reed. He also wrote "U.S. Male" and "Guitar Man." Both songs were big hits for Elvis. His own version of "A Thing Called Love" was recorded on 8 January 1968 (coincidentally, Elvis's 33rd birthday). An earlier attempt, made on 29 November 1967 has remained unissued. Jerry Reed and Jerry Hubbard (composer) are one and the same — Hubbard is the real name. Jerry was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1937. He started to play guitar at age eight and was particularly inspired by Merle Travis's "I Am A Pilgrim." He started recording for Capitol in 1955, but with little success, so that the left the company in 1958. By 1961, Jerry had completed his military service (1959 to 1961), during which he played as a member of the army's Circle-A Wranglers band, and had developed his "claw style" method of guitar playing. After a brief and unsuccessful time with Columbia Records, Reed signed with RCA. His first top 20 hit came in 1967 with "Tupelo Mississippi Flash," a song about Elvis. He was voted Instrumentalist of The Year in 1970 by the Country Music Association and won a Grammy for the number "When You're Hot, You're Hot" in 1971. He won two other Grammy awards, together with Chet Atkins, one in 1970 and the other in 1992. In the mid-1970s he began acting in films such as "Smokey And The Bandit" and enjoyed occasional parts for the rest of his life. Jerry Reed died in September 2008. See also "Guitar Man," "U.S. Male" and "Talk About The Good Times."
After Loving You recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 18 February 1969;Studio
Written by: Miller; Lantz
Originally recorded by Eddy Arnold in 1962
Hear Elvis's version on: From Nashville to Memphis (5)
Elvis first recorded this number at home in 1966 and this home-recording was issued on "Platinum: A Life In Music" in 1997. The studio recording, however, was made at the American Studios and was originally released almost 20 years earlier on the "From Elvis In Memphis" album—perhaps the very best Elvis album. It is reported on some sites that Eddy Arnold recorded his version of "After Loving You" on 4 May, 1962. His recording was released on RCA Victor single 47-8048, as the B-side of "A Little Heartache," in July of that same year. Joe Henderson's version was on Todd 1077. Although this recording was released in 1962, the exact recording date is unknown. Eddie Miller, the writer of this number, also wrote "Release Me."
Can you provide a recording date for the Joe Henderson version?contact me.
Ain't That Loving You Baby recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 10 June 1958;Studio
Written by: Otis; Hunter
Originally recorded by Eddie Riff in 1956
Hear Elvis's version on: Elvis' Golden Records Vol.4; Reconsider Baby
According to Ernst Jorgensen in his book, "Elvis Presley: A Life In Music," this song was written by Clyde Otis and Ivory Joe Hunter especially for the June 10, 1958 session. This, however, can't be, as the number was first recorded by Eddie Riff (real name: Edward Ruffin) in July 1956 and issued on Dover 102 before the end of that year with credits indicating Hunter/Otis. Elvis's version was not released until 1964. The single peaked at number 16 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. An alternate take with a faster tempo was released in 1985 on the "Reconsider Baby" album.
All Shook Up recorded by Elvis on Saturday, 12 January 1957;Studio
Written by: Blackwell
Originally recorded by David Hill in 1956
Hear Elvis's version on: Elvis' Golden Records; ELV1S 30 #1 Hits
David Hill was a rock singer from New York. Well, this is a pretty loose use of the word "rock," for he sounds very much like Pat Boone on this number—need I say more? The recording was made on 7 November 1956 and originally released on Aladdin 3359 as "I'm All Shook Up." In 1959 he had some success with the numbers "Two Brothers" and "Living Doll" (recorded in the UK by Cliff Richard for the film "Serious Charge"). Vicki Young also recorded "All Shook Up" in 1956 before Elvis, but her song was a different one, written by Bill Bellman and Hal Blaine. This was Elvis's first number one hit in the UK. "All Shook Up" spent 30 weeks on the Hot 100 chart in the USA. David Hill's real name was David Hess, though he used other pseudonyms, including David Dante. He wrote a few songs recorded by Elvis, including "I Got Stung" and "Sand Castles." David Hill/Hess/Dante died in October 2011.
Allá En El Rancho Grande recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 15 July 1970;Informal
Written by: de Uranga; del Moral; Ramos
Originally recorded by Cantantes de la Orquesta Típica Mexicana in 1926
Hear Elvis's version on: Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 5
Not an "official" recording, but nevertheless released officially by BMG, this is just Elvis playing around during rehearsals for the film "That's The Way It Is." The title translates as "Over there in the big ranch." The original recording of "Allá En El Rancho Grande" was made by Cantantes de la Orquesta Típica Mexicana on 26 November, 1926. It was released on a 10-inch disc, Victor 79066 (black label, Latin American).
Almost Always True recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 22 March 1961;Studio
Written by: Wise; Weisman
Originally recorded by Edouard LeBel (Alouette) in 1906
Hear Elvis's version on: Blue Hawaii
Surely the tune for this number is taken from the French song, "Alouette"? The latter seems to have been a traditional Canadian song, taken from Canada to France by Canadian troops (presumably in the First World War), from where it became an international children's favourite. Edouard LeBel , a Canadian tenor, recorded the number on 6 November, 1906, and it was released on Victor 3619 as an eight-inch disc. Lebel's surname was sometimes written as "Le Bel" and it is in that way that Victor catalogues his recordings.
Almost In Love recorded by Elvis on Thursday, 7 March 1968;Studio
Written by: Bonfá; Starr
Originally recorded by Luiz Bonfá in 1965
Hear Elvis's version on: Double Features: Live a Little, Love a Little; Charro!; The Trouble With Girls; Change of Habit
"Almost In Love" was originally written by Luiz Bonfá and recorded as "Moonlight In Rio" on his 1965 album "The Brazilian Scene," released on Philips PHS 600-208. Randy Starr added English lyrics and the tune became the song "Almost In Love," used in Elvis's film "Live A Little, Love A Little." Another case of a wonderful song being lost on a soundtrack, I'm afraid. Louis Bonfá was born on 22 October 1922 in Rio de Janeiro. Because of his gifted ability with the guitar, the classical guitarist Isaías Sávio gave the young Bonfá free lessons. After becoming known through radio exposure, Bonfá went on to become a foremost composer and musician in Brazil. He lived and worked in the USA from the early 1960s until 1975. Luiz Bonfá died in Brazil on 12 January 2001.
Aloha Oe recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 21 March 1961;Studio
Written by: Liliuokalani; Wilmott
Originally recorded by Unknown in 1898
Hear Elvis's version on: Blue Hawaii
Aloha Oe means "Farewell to thee" or "Until we meet again." Princess Kamekeha Liliuokalani composed Aloha Oe in 1878. Reports that she wrote the number whilst in exile are not true. She was Queen of Hawaii from 1891 until 1893. Unlikely though it may seem, and according to the book, "From Edison to Marconi: The First Thirty Years of Recorded Music," the first recording of "Aloha Oe" was already made in 1898 on Berliner cylinder 515. Details of the performer are not given, only "Orchestra" being indicated." Other than this, what were probably the first recordings of Hawaiian music were listed as two brown wax cylinders in a 1901 Columbia Records catalogue. Cylinder number 30200 was a recording of "Aloha Oe" (cylinder 30201 was "Kuu Pua i Paoakalani"). The labels of these cylinders indicated only "Vocal Solos in Hawaiian" and neither on the labels nor in the catalogue was any further information given regarding the performer(s). The Ellis Brothers Glee Club Quartet recorded "Aloha Oe" in July 1904 and that recording was released on a 10" single-sided disc, number Victor 15052, matrix number ZO 1189. That same month, a further recording of "Aloha Oe" was made by a group listed as the Quartette of Hawaiian Girls from Kawaiho Seminary. The matrix number, ZO 1174, suggests that this was made before the Ellis Brothers recording. The number was issued as a 10" single-faced Hawaiian Victor 15038 single. The Quartette of Hawaiian Girls from Kawaiho Seminary is called Hawaiian Girls from Kawaiho Seminary Quartet on later Victor recordings. "Kawaiho" is either a mis-spelling, or an earlier form of Kawaiahao. The Kawaiahao Seminary was founded in 1846 and was "primarily intended for the education of Hawaiian young women and girls" (from "A Polynesian-Norwegian Metisse" by Vernon L. Kellogg). It was merged with several other boarding and mission schools in 1910 to form the Mid-Pacific Institute of Honolulu.
Alright, Okay, You Win recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 29 September 1974;One-liner
Written by: Wyche; Watts
Originally recorded by Ella Johnson in 1955
Hear Elvis's version on: Dragonheart
Though originally recorded by Ella Johnson, singing with her brother Buddy Johnson's band, the song was made famous by Peggy Lee and has since become something of a standard. The label of the original Mercury 70580 release indicates only Ella Johnson as the performer, though Buddy is often cited as well in other references. Furthermore, the label indicates only Wyche as the composer, whereas both Sid Wyche and Mayme Watts are listed in almost all other sources. Ella Johnson was born in 1918 and died in February 2004. Her brother was born in 1915 and died in February 1977. Elvis sang just one verse of the song during a concert in Detroit. Writer Wyche is associated with Elvis in another song, "A Big Hunk O' Love," which he wrote with Aaron Schroeder.
Always On My Mind recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 29 March 1972;Studio
Written by: Carson; James; Christopher
Originally recorded by B. J. Thomas in 1969/70
Hear Elvis's version on: The Essential Collection; Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 2
Mark James, whose name appears in the writers credits, also wrote "It's Only Love," "Moody Blue" and "Suspicious Minds." Elvis's version was coupled on a single with "Separate Ways." Brenda Lee recorded her version of "Always On My Mind" 6 months before Elvis, on 22 September 1971 (it was not released until June 1972) and this is generally considered to be the original. However, in 1969 or 1970, B.J. Thomas recorded the number in the American Studios in Memphis. This version did not surface for over 25 years, when it appeared for the first time on the album "B.J. Thomas Golden Classics: 22 Classic Tracks" (CD-Masters Intercontinental #4005), which was released in August 1996. After an inauspicious start in the music business as part of the group Triumph, B.J. Thomas went solo and had an immediate hit with his 1966 recording of the Hank Williams song "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." However, he failed to score again in the charts until 1968, when he enjoyed huge success with Bacharach and David's "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head." He continued to have hits with various record labels, mainly in the country charts, until well into the 1980s. Unfortunately, I am unable to find anything to support the claim that Thomas recorded the number first: it is not even mentioned in the definitive book on the American Studios, Roben Jones's "Memphis Boys: The Story of American Studios." Another contender for original recording artist is Gwen McCrae, whose version was released in March 1972 on Columbia 4-45578.
Can you confirm/disprove that Thomas was the first to record "Always On My Mind"? Can you orovide a recording date for Gwen McCrae's version?contact me.
Am I Ready recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 16 February 1966;Studio
Written by: Tepper; Bennett
Originally recorded by Victor Herbert And His Orchestra in 1910
Hear Elvis's version on: Double Features: Spinout and Double Trouble
Although the song is composed by Tepper and Bennett, it is based on the much older classical piano piece, "To A Wild Rose," by American composer Edward MacDowell, who was born in New York in late 1860 (many sources incorrectly indicate 1861). MacDowell studied in the USA and Europe and worked in Germany for some years before returning to the USA in 1888. "To A Wild Rose" was first published in MacDowell's Opus 51, "Woodland Sketches" in 1896; "To A Wild Rose" is sketch number 1 of 10 and is based on a tune sung by the Brotherton Native American tribe. That same year, MacDowell was described as "the greatest musical genius America has produced." MacDowell was among the first to use the melodic and rhythmic material of the American Indian, and to interpret the beauty of the American landscape. Woodland Sketches contains such descriptive tone miniatures as From an Old Indian Lodge, By a Meadow Brook, From Uncle Remus—and this delicate, justly-loved gem that is "To A Wild Rose." MacDowell died in New York in January 1908, probably of pre-senile dementia. The Victor Herbert recording was released on a cylinder by the Edison's National Phonograph Company as an Edison Standard Record, number 10338, in April 1910 (announced in Edison Phonograph Monthly, Feb., 1910). The same recording was also issued on a 78 RPM disc, but this was possibly at a later date.
Amazing Grace recorded by Elvis on Monday, 15 March 1971;Studio
Written by: Traditional/Newton
Originally recorded by The Original Sacred Harp Choir in 1922
Hear Elvis's version on: Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 3; Amazing Grace (CD 1); He Touched Me
John Newton wrote the words to this hymn in the 18th century. Newton was the reformed master of a slave ship and not a particularly pleasant character in his earlier life. He became rector of a parish in Olney in Great Britain, where he compiled "Olney Hymns," a hymnal which was published in 1779 and contained the first printing of "Amazing Grace". The original tune used to accompany "Amazing Grace" is associated with the Scottish folk song "Loch Lomond" and the17th century English hymn "Todlen Hame". The "New Britain" tune -- the tune now most associated with the song and the one used by Elvis -- was first used in 1835 in the hymnal "The Southern Harmony" in the USA. Elvis sings an extra verse, not included in Newton's version ("When we've been there ten thousand years…"); this verse was added by John Rees in the 19th century. The Original Sacred Harp Choir's recording was released on Brunswick 5150 with the title "New Britain".
Amen recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 20 March 1974;Concert
Written by: Traditional
Originally recorded by Woody Herman in 1942
Hear Elvis's version on: Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis
RCA also recorded "Amen" (sung together with "I Got A Woman") on April 9, 1972 (Coliseum, Hampton Roads, Virginia). Though not officially released, the recording can be heard on "Standing Room Only." An even earlier recording, made in Boston on 10 November 1971, can be heard on the unofficial release "The Power of Shazam." The song was used in a 1940 film called "Maryland," but the first released recorded version seems to have been as a sort of swing parody by Woody Herman, otherwise referred to as "Hey Man!" from the 1942 film "What's Cookin'?" (Decca 18346). The link between the Herman's version and the more traditional "Amen" is, however, tenuous, so that perhaps a more likely contender for original version is the 1950 recording, released on King 4372, by Rev. J.B. Crocker, titled "Sermon, Hallelujah Amen." Incidentally, the song featured heavily in the 1963 film "Lillies Of The Field," starring Sidney Poitier and earning him the first ever Best Actor Of The Year Oscar awarded to a black player.
Any earlier commercial recording than that of Herman?contact me.
America The Beautiful recorded by Elvis on Saturday, 13 December 1975;Concert
Written by: Bates
Originally recorded by Henry Burr and Frank Croxton in 1912
Hear Elvis's version on: Elvis Aron Presley
Katherine Lee Bates wrote the words of "America The Beautiful" in 1893, having been inspired by the beauty of the nature that she witnessed when travelling to Colorado and visiting Pike's Peak. Her poem was published on July 4th, 1895, in a Boston church weekly, "The Congregationalist." The music used for the song was written in 1888 by Samuel Ward as "Materna" and was originally used for the hymn, "O Mother Dear, Jerusalem." A 1911 recording by the Peerless Quartet of "O Mother Dear, Jerusalem" was not released, but the following year, on 25 October 1912, Henry Burr and Frank Croxton recorded the hymn in New York for the Columbia Phonograph Company (matrix 38379); the recording was released in February 1913 as issue no. A1254. An instrumental version of the number using the title "America The Beautiful" was recorded by the Victor Band on 2 October 1919 (matrix B-23186) and released in January 1920 on Victor 18627. The first vocal recording with the now more familiar title seems to have been made by the Wellesley College Glee Club on 25 September 1914, and released on Columbia A-1659. Strangely, this version is listed with the name Hamilton as composer. Elvis's recording was issued as a B-side of the single "My Way" in 1977.
Why "Hamilton" as composer to the Wellesley College Glee Club's 1914 release?contact me.
An American Trilogy recorded by Elvis on Thursday, 17 February 1972;Concert
Written by: Traditional/Newbury
Originally recorded by Mickey Newbury in 1971
Hear Elvis's version on: Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 1; Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis
Mickey Newbury was born Milton Newbury in Houston, Texas, on 19 May, 1940. After having served in the US Air Force, he moved to Nashville and wrote songs for other artists before recording his first album in 1968. After stints with RCA and Mercury, Newbury moved to Elektra where he recorded his original version of "An American Trilogy" for his first album on that label, "Frisco Mabel Joy." The exact date of the recording session that produced "An American Trilogy" is unkown, but it took place around June 1971. The number was also released as a single on Elektra 4570. The three numbers used by Newbury to make up the Trilogy are: "Dixie," written in 1859 by Dan Emmett; "Battle Hymn Of The Republic," written in 1861 by Julia Howe (set to the tune of "John Browns Body"); "All My Trials," which is a traditional number whose composer is unknown, though the names of Rita Green and C.C. Carter are sometimes listed --- versions of "All My Trials" were released in 1956 by Cynthia Gooding and Bob Gibson. The songs are intended to represent the three factions involved in the US Civil War, namely the Confederate South (Dixie), the Unionist North ("Battle Hymn"), and the slaves ("All My Trials"). The live recording of this number, made by Elvis during his January-February 1972 series of concerts at the Las Vegas Hilton, was released as a single (with The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face). Other live recordings by Elvis have also been released.
An Evening Prayer recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 18 May 1971;Studio
Written by: Battersby; Gabriel
Originally recorded by Homer Rodeheaver in 1913
Hear Elvis's version on: He Touched Me
Charles Gabriel provided the arrangement for this hymn written in 1911 by C. M. Battersby, which is based on the bible text, Psalm 19:12-13, "Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins." It has been recorded by numerous singers, including Jim Reeves, Mahalia Jackson and The Blackwood Brothers. Homer Rodehaver's original from 1915 was released on the Victor label. Rodehaver was born on 4 October 1880 in Cinco Hollow, Ohio. His recording career began in 1913, with the Victor Talking Machine Company, though during his career he released tracks on some eighteen different labels. Indeed, it was in September 1913 that he recorded the original version of "An Evening Prayer," though the track was not released until March 1915, on Victor 17714. Homer Rodeheaver died in 1955.
And I Love You So recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 11 March 1975;Studio
Written by: McLean
Originally recorded by Don McLean in 1969
Hear Elvis's version on: Today; Elvis In Concert
Don McClean was born on 2 October, 1945, in New Rochell, New York. After graduating from college in 1968, he performed at local venues before joining Pete Seeger in his campaign to clean up the Hudson River. Seeger encouraged him to record the numbers that would appear on his first album, "Tapestry," but McLean was rejected by 34 record companies (according to his own account) before being accepted by the small Mediarts. Don McLean recorded his self-penned "And I Love You So" in June or July 1969, releasing it both as a single (Mediarts ME-108) in April 1970, and on his debut album "Tapestry" (Mediarts 41-4) later that year. Following the interest in McClean's song "American Pie," United Artists, who had taken over Mediarts, reissued the single in June 1971; "Tapestry" was reisuued in August of that same year.
And The Grass Won't Pay No Mind recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 18 February 1969;Studio
Written by: Diamond
Originally recorded by Neil Diamond in 1969
Hear Elvis's version on: Back In Memphis; From Nashville to Memphis (4)
Neil Diamond was born on 24 January, 1941, in Brooklyn, New York. He started writing songs when still at school and made his name as a singer in 1966, with the release of "Cherry Cherry." Neil Diamond recorded the original version of his self-penned "And The Grass Won't Pay No Mind" song in the American Studios in Memphis, probably in January 1969. Diamond's version of "And The Grass Won't Pay No Mind" had not yet been released when Elvis recorded the number in the very same American Stusios in the early hours of the morning of 18 February. It was, however, eventually released prior to Elvis's version on Diamond's "Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show" LP. Elvis also recorded Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline."
Any Day Now (My Wild Beautiful Bird) recorded by Elvis on Friday, 21 February 1969;Studio
Written by: Bacharach; Hilliard
Originally recorded by Chuck Jackson in 1962
Hear Elvis's version on: From Elvis in Memphis; From Nashville to Memphis (5)
The original version by Chuck Jackson reached number 23 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 2 in the R&B chart, but the biggest hit version was Ronnie Milsap's 1982 release which topped the Country chart and got to number 14 on the Hot 100 chart. Chuck Jackson was born on 22 July 1937, in Latta, South Carolina, but grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Having learned his trade win his church's choir and a gospel group, he toured the US with the Del Vikings. He then met Jackie Wilson, who persuaded him to go solo. Shortly after, Jackson signed a recording contract with Scepter and released his first single in 1961. His success was such that in 1967 he moved from Scepter to Motown, but further success seemed to elude him.
Anytime recorded by Elvis on Thursday, 30 March 1972;One-liner
Written by: Lawson
Originally recorded by Emmett Miller in 1924
Hear Elvis's version on: Hillcrest Blues: Standing Room Only Tapes Vol.3
"Anytime" or "Any Time" was written in 1921 by Herbert "Happy" Lawson. Before Lawson's own 1925 version, the number was recorded by Emmett Miller, with Piano accompaniment by Walter Rothrock., on 25 October 1924 and released on Okeh 40239. Miller made at least two other commercial recordings of the number, one in 1928 (Okeh 41095) and the other in 1936 (Bluebird 6577). "Anytime" was revived in 1947 by Eddy Arnold, who recorded it on 20 August 1947 and released it on RCA 20-2700. The song remained at number one for nine weeks in 1948. The label of the Eddy Arnold release showed Zeke Clements and Carl Weber as the writers; they had renewed the copyright to the number in November 1945, using their own names! Elvis sings just a line of "Anytime" before the band starts playing along and he decides not to continue.
Apron Strings recorded by Elvis on April (or later), 1959;Informal
Written by: Weiss; Schroeder
Originally recorded by Billy The Kid in 1959
Hear Elvis's version on: Platinum: A Life In Music; In A Private Moment
Billy The Kid recorded this song on 12 January 1959 (probably); it was released on 2 February 1959 on Kapp K-261X with the song "I Hardly Know Me" on the B-side. This seems to be the only record ever made by this mysterious individual—nobody seems to know anything about this particular Billy The Kid, though one report suggests that he was none other than David Hill, the person responsible for the original version of "All Shook Up." Little David (also a Schroeder, so perhaps he was writer Aaron Schroeder's son) also recorded the number in 1959 for US release, as did Jay B. Loyd (together with Bill Black's Combo, no less), and somehow or other, the relatively new British excuse for a rock'n'roller, Cliff Richard, also got hold of the number and recorded it a little later. On the set "Platinum: A Life In Music" the number is included as part of a track called "The Bad Nauheim Medley," (Elvis's house was in Bad Nauheim), which further includes "I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen," "I Will Be True," "It's Been So Long Darling" and "There's No Tomorrow."
Any additional information regarding Billy The Kid?contact me.
Are You Lonesome Tonight? recorded by Elvis on Monday, 4 April 1960;Studio
Written by: Turk; Handman
Originally recorded by Charles Hart in 1927
Hear Elvis's version on: The Essential Collection; Golden Records Vol.3; Elvis In Concert; ELV1S 30 #1 Hits
The number is probably more associated with Al Jolson than anyone other than Elvis, but Jolson did not make a recording of it until 1950. Numerous artists recorded AYLT in 1927, including the composer himself, Lou Handman, who played piano backing while his sister Edythe provided the vocals on the Gennett label (27 June), and Vaughn DeLeath ("The Radio Girl") who recorded the number twice, first as a solo on 13 June 1927 and then on the following 1 October, as vocalist for The Colonial Club Orchestra. Famed tenor Henry Burr released his own version in that same year, having recorded it (probably) on 5 August. Ned Jakobs is often listed as the first to record the number (he recorded it on 17 May 1927), but his recording was not used. At least one recording of the number is reported to have been made on 18 June, 1926, the year in which it was copyrighted; this was done by Bob Haring, leading the Cameo Dance Orchestra, a sort of studio band brought together to record as much as possible as early as possible -- have a look here.. This number was released on three labels: Cameo 967, Lincoln 2540 and Romeo 250 (all with the same matrix number). However, the recording is purely instrumental (at least on Romeo 250, where the performer is listed as the Dixie Daisies) and writing credits are shown for Turk, Little, Britt and not Turk, Handman. It looks, therefore, as if Roy Turk's lyrics were set to music twice: the familiar song as Elvis recorded it and an earlier version, with music by Little and Britt. Therefore, the original honour has to go to Charles Hart (see good biography), whose 9 May 1927 recording was released as "Are You Lonesome To-night" on Harmony 431. Colonel Parker persuaded Elvis to record this number, a favourite of Mrs. Parker's! The arrangement used in Elvis's version is based on the 1950 recording of Are You Lonesome Tonight by the Blue Barron Orchestra. The spoken part is loosely based on a speech by Jacques in Shakespeare's "As You Like It", Act II Scene VII: "All the world's a stage, and all men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts." Extended information regarding AYLT
Can you provide proof of the Cameo 967/Lincoln 2540 release?contact me.
Are You Sincere recorded by Elvis on Monday, 24 September 1973;Studio
Written by: Walker
Originally recorded by Andy Williams in 1958
Hear Elvis's version on: Raised On Rock; Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 4
Wayne Walker probably recorded his own composition in 1957, but then only as a demo (thanks to his daughter for providing this information). The number was passed on to Andy Williams, who had a big hit with it the following year on the Cadence Records label (Cadence 1340). It went on to become Walker's most recorded number.
Ask Me recorded by Elvis on Monday, 27 May 1963;Studio
Written by: Modugno; Giant; Baum; Kaye
Originally recorded by Domenico Modugno in 1958
Hear Elvis's version on: Collectors Gold; From Nashville to Memphis (3)
Italian Domenico Modugno had a massive hit in 1958 with "Volare" and now had a new number out on Fonit SP 30440 called "Resta Cu Mme," the B-side of which was "Io." Modugno was born in Polignano a Mare in Italy on 9 January, 1928. An aspiring actor, Modugno's career turned towards singing when he took part in and won the 1958 San Remo Music Festival with his own song, "Nel Biu Dipinto Di Blu," better known as "Volare." Modugno continued to be active in both acting and singing throughout the 1960s and 1970s. In the latter part of the 1980s he moved into politics and became a representative for Turin of the Italian Radical party. Domenic Modugno died in August 1994. The original Italian title , "Io," was printed on the label of the Elvis's UK single release of "Ask Me," between brackets after the English title. This caused some confusion to Albert Hand, then editor of Elvis Monthly, who wondered what the number 10 meant! Elvis recorded the number twice: the May 27th version was not released until 1991; the 1964 single version was recorded on January 12, 1964.
Written by: Singer; Madara; White
Originally recorded by Danny And The Juniors in 1957
Hear Elvis's version on: Greetings From Germany (Unofficial CD)
The number was originally written as "Do The Bop," but by the time it was ready to be recorded, the dance called the Bop was already history. Dick Clark suggested a quick title change to "At The Hop," and the rest really is history! The single was originally released on the Singular label (S-711) before being picked up and released on the ABC-Parampunt label (9871). Not only did Danny And The Juniors have a number 1 smash with the song, but Elvis recorded it informally on a home tape recorded whilst in Germany doing his army stint. The recording has not been officially released.
Aubrey recorded by Elvis on Monday, 2 September 1974;Concert
Written by: Gates
Originally recorded by Bread in 1972
Hear Elvis's version on: Desert Storm (unofficial CD)
The number was a number 15 hit in the USA for the group "Bread." David Gates, responsible for both music and words, was lead singer with Bread. This was far from the group's first success after its formation in 1969; the group was internationally successful until their break-up in 1976. Elvis's recording is taken from a Las Vegas concert; the song is actually sung by "Voice," his backing singers, while Elvis recites the words.
Auld Lang Syne recorded by Elvis on Friday, 31 December 1976;Concert
Written by: Burns
Originally recorded by Emile Berliner in 1890
Hear Elvis's version on: New Year's Eve (FTD label)
Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote the words of "Auld Lang Syne" in about 1789 for use with a piece of Scottish music dating from 1687, The Duke Of Bucclugh's Tune. "Auld lang syne" is Scots dialect for "Old long since," so the line, "For days of auld lang syne" means something like, "For the good old days." The first Berliner Gramophone, the invention of Emile Berliner, was made in Germany by the toymaker Kämmer and Reinhadt. This toy had a cardboard horn and was operated by a hand crank. It could play five-inch vulcanised rubber discs at between 100 and 150 revolutions per minute. One of the records produced for the toy was "Auld Lang Syne," catalogue number 42, probably sung by Emile Berliner himself, was made in 1890. Elvis sang the song at the New Year's Eve concert in Pittsburgh on December 31, 1976.
Ave Maria recorded by Elvis on August, 1970;Concert
Written by: Bach; Bernard; Gounod
Originally recorded by W.D. McFarland in 1898
Hear Elvis's version on: The Hillbilly Cat "Live" (unofficial release)
Paul Bernard and Charles Gounod used Luke 1:28 as the inspiration for "Ave Maria" in 1859, adapting the words to J.S. Bach's First prelude. According to the Discography of American Historical Recordings, McFarland's version of "Ave Maria" was recorded in November 1898 and released as a 7" single-sided disc on Berliner 1917. M.A. Guarini's recording of the same title probably took place at about the same time, but I have been unable to find a date. His version of "Ave Maria" was released as a cylinder early in 1899 on Edison Records 7287. 1899 saw another recording of the song by Helen Jenynge, made on 7 March and released on Berliner 3676. Interestingly, Alessandro Moreschi (apparently a somewhat physically challenged singer, known as The Last Castrato...) recorded the number on a cylinder in 1902 (Opal 5477). Elvis used the song in an unusual medley with "I Got A Woman" in the International Hotel, Las Vegas, in August 1970.
Baby Let's Play House recorded by Elvis on Saturday, 5 February 1955;Studio
Written by: Gunter
Originally recorded by Arthur Gunter in 1954
Hear Elvis's version on: The Sun Sessions CD; The Complete 50's Masters 1
Elvis changed the words of the original slightly in his performance, singing "you may get a pink Cadillac," in place of Gunter's original "you may get religion." Elvis already had religion, the Cadillac would soon follow! There is some doubt about the recording date: 5 February is the date normally listed, but Elvis appeared at the Louisiana Hayride on that date; it is possible that the song was recorded earlier that same week. Arthur Gunter was born on 23 May 1926 in Nashville, Tennessee. As a child, he formed the Gunter Brothers Quartet with his brothers and cousins. In 1954 he signed with Excello Records and recorded "Baby Let's Play House" in November. It was released on Excello 2047 and was a local hit. It became nationally known the following year when Elvis recorded it for Sun; "Elvis got that number and made it famous. But I didn't get a chance to shake his hand," Gunter would later say. His first royalty check, received that same year, was for $6500. Arthur Gunter died in March 1976.
Baby What You Want Me To Do recorded by Elvis on Thursday, 27 June 1968;Studio
Written by: Reed
Originally recorded by Jimmy Reed in 1959
Hear Elvis's version on: NBC-TV Special
Jimmy Reed was born on 6 September 1925 in Dunleith, Mississippi. In the mid-1950s he signed a recording contract with Vee-Jay Records. Health problems related to alcoholism and epilepsy, restricted Reed's career. Jimmy Reed died in 1976. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. Jimmy Reed recorded "Baby What You Want Me To Do," his own composition, on 7 August 1959. Elvis also recorded Reed's "Big Boss Man."
Banana Boat Song (Day-O) recorded by Elvis on Friday, 3 May 1957;One-liner
Written by: Traditional, adap. Burgie
Originally recorded by Edrin Connor and The Caribbeans in 1954
Hear Elvis's version on: Jailhouse Rock FTD 2-CD
Elvis "sings" just a very small part of this number before the first take of "I Want To Be Free." The title is worth mentioning, however, because of the achievements of the original artist, Edrin Connor. Connor was born in August 1913 in Mayaro, Trinidad. He was extremely interested in the ethnic music of his country and, when he moved to the UK in 1944, he introduced this music to the British public through a series of radio programmes he made for the BBC. In 1954 he recorded an LP of traditional Jamaican music that had been collected by Tom Murray. "Songs From Jamaica," on Argo RG 33, contained several titles that would later reappear as Ska, Reggae, Mento, even Pop, but perhaps its most obvious influence came from the track "Day Dah Light," which, in 1956, would become Harry Belafonte's "Banana Boat Song." (Many sites give the date of the LP as 1952, but I believe it to be 1954.) However, Connor was far more than just a folk singer (even though he had a magnificent singing voice). He was also a Shakespearean actor (the first black actor to be so), a film actor (notably appearing as Dagoo in "Moby Dick"), a director, a television actor, and he even managed the programme for the first Notting Hill Carnival in 1959. Connor himself put together the backing group that he used on the "Songs From Jamaica" album, The Caribbeans. They decided to stick together after the session, but changed the name of the group to The Southlanders. They would soon record another album with Connor, "Songs From Trinidad," and would also find fame in their own right, most notably for their recording of "I am a Mole and I Live in a Hole." Connor died far too young in October 1968.
Beyond The Reef recorded by Elvis on Friday, 27 May 1966;Studio
Written by: Pitman
Originally recorded by Napua Stevens in 1949
Hear Elvis's version on: From Nashville to Memphis (3)
Jack Pitman, who composed this number, was a Canadian. He moved to Hawaii in 1943 and composed "Beyond The Reef," probably his most famous song, in 1948. Napua Stevens was a popular and successful Hawaiian recording artist. Following her local success, the number was picked up and recorded on the mainland of the USA by Jimmy Wakely together with Margaret Whiting and at just about the same time by Bing Crosby. An earlier, incomplete home recording of Elvis's version of this number was made in 1960; this was released in 2000 on the CD "In A Private Moment."
Big Boss Man recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 10 September 1967;Studio
Written by: Smith; Dixon
Originally recorded by Jimmy Reed in 1959
Hear Elvis's version on: From Nashville to Memphis (3); NBC-TV Special
Jimmy Reed was born on 6 September 1925 in Dunleith, Mississippi. In the mid-1950s he signed a recording contract with Vee-Jay Records. Health problems related to alcoholism and epilepsy, restricted Reed's career. Jimmy Reed died in 1976. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. "Big Boss Man" is actually a post-war revamp of the pre-war number "Stack o' Dollars", recorded by Charley Jordan in 1930. Jimmy Reed's new version was recorded on 25 August 1959 (source: "The Story of VeeJay" CD liner notes) and included on his LP "Found Love,' which also included the number "Baby, What You Want Me To Do," also to be recorded later by Elvis.
Bitter They Are, Harder They Fall recorded by Elvis on Monday, 2 February 1976;Studio
Written by: Gatlin
Originally recorded by Larry Gatlin in 1973
Hear Elvis's version on: From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis Tennessee
Larry Gatlin was born in 1948, the oldest of three brothers. By the time he was nine he was regularly singing gospel music on a local radio station. Later, when The Imperials were backing Elvis in Las Vegas and were looking for a new baritone singer, Gatlin auditioned, but failed to get the job. He moved to Nashville as a songwriter and later as a singer in his own right. His first album, "The Pilgrim," released in 1973 on Monument, included the original version of his own number, "Bitter They Are, Harder They Fall." "Help Me" was also written by Gatlin.
Blessed Jesus (Hold My Hand) recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 4 December 1956;Informal
Written by: Brumley
Originally recorded by Prairie Ramblers in 1935
Hear Elvis's version on: The Complete Million Dollar Session
Albert Brumley is probably the best-known 20th century gospel music writer in America. He wrote his first and most successful gospel song in 1931—"I'll Fly Away." Although listed in "The Complete Million Dollar Session" and other Million Dollar Quartet releases as "Blessed Jesus (Hold My Hand)," Brumley' actually wrote this hymn as "Jesus, Hold My Hand" in 1933. The Prairie Ramblers seem to have recorded the number first and this on 15 August 1935. The recording was released on Columbia 20209, Conqueror 8726, Melotone 6-11-70, and Vocalion 03115. Confusingly, the Ramblers' release is often referred to as "Let Jesus Hold My Hand." Another candidate for original recording goes to the Royal Quartette, that perhaps recorded the song one week earlier, on 8 August 1935, for release on Decca 5130. However, I have been unable to locate this release. Whatever the title, the number provides the means for an excellent informal duet between Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis. Another Brumley song recorded by Elvis is "If We Never Meet Again" (see below)
Do you know of an earlier recording? Was Decca 5130 released?contact me.
Blowin' In The Wind recorded by Elvis on ?, 1966;Informal
Written by: Dylan
Originally recorded by Bob Dylan in 1962
Hear Elvis's version on: In A Private Moment
Elvis seems to have liked Dylan's songs, and rightly so, of course. Unfortunately, RCA didn't seem to want Elvis to record anything too "advanced" in the sixties, concentrating instead on film scores—Elvis did his best, but was fighting a losing battle at most times! Still, he did record Dylan's little-known "Tomorrow Is a Long Time"—a superb rendition, relegated to the insignificance of a "bonus track" on the otherwise fairly nondescript film album "Spinout"! Anyway, back to "Blowin' In The Wind"! Sadly, Elvis did not make an official recording of the number, so we have only this informal home recording, never intended for release, made some time in 1966. Dylan's own version was recorded in July 1962, but was not released to the public until May 1963 as part of his "Freewheelin'" LP. Dylan's melody for "Blowin' In The Wind" was based on an earlier number called "No More Auction Block." Dylan might not have been the first person to record his own song—a demo version was probably made earlier by The New World Singers. Elvis's home recording is sung to a backing provided by the LP, "Sing A Song With The Kingston Trio" (Capitol SKAO 2005).
Blue Christmas recorded by Elvis on Thursday, 5 September 1957;Studio
Written by: Hayes; Johnson
Originally recorded by Doye O'Dell in 1948
Hear Elvis's version on: Elvis' Christmas Album; If Every Day Was Like Christmas; NBC-TV Special; The Complete 50's Masters 3
Although recorded in 1957 and part of the original "Elvis' Christmas Album," the track was not released on single until 1964, when it reached the top of the Billboard special Christmas Singles chart. Doye was born in 1912. One of his biggest hits was "Old Shep," which he recorded in 1947 (later also recorded by Elvis). In the 1950s he became one of the many singing cowboys in films, though continued his recording career, which remained his most significant activity. Doye O'Dell died in January 2001.
Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 8 February 1976;Studio
Written by: Rose
Originally recorded by Roy Acuff and His Smokey Mountain Boys in 1945
Hear Elvis's version on: From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis Tennessee
Author Fred Rose was co-founder of the Nashville-based Acuff-Rose music publishing company, together with performer Roy Acuff. Acuff's own version of "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain" was recorded on 2 August 1945, but not released until 1947. In the meantime, Elton Britt recorded the number on 21 May 1946 and had the first released version. Willie Nelson's 1975 release of the number reached the top of the Billboard Country chart.
Blue Hawaii recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 22 March 1961;Studio
Written by: Robin; Rainger
Originally recorded by Jack Denny and His Orchestra in 1937
Hear Elvis's version on: Blue Hawaii
Elvis's "Blue Hawaii" was, of course, the title track of one of his first films after leaving the army. The song originally became well known because of another film, "Waikiki Wedding," from 1937, starring Bing Crosby and Shirley Ross, but it was not Crosby who made the original recording. This honour probably goes to Jack Denny and His Orchestra, with vocals by Sonny Schuyler. Denny and his band recorded the number on 19 February 1937, several days before Crosby. It was released on Master 105. Denny fronted numerous bands in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1931 he moved from Montreal, Canada, to New York City, and the following year started playing at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. He developed a "society" sound, using no brass section, but adding extra pianos and woodwinds. His sweet sound was eventually overtaken when Xavier Cugat's more raucous style was featured as an opening act. Confusingly, towards the end of the 1920s, another number called "Blue Hawaii" was popular. However, this was a totally different song, both musically and lyrically, written by Baer, Caesar and Schuster. (Marilyn Monroe fans might like to know that co-writer Leo Robin also wrote "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend.")
Blue Monday recorded by Elvis on Monday, 4 February 1974;One-liner
Written by: Bartholomew
Originally recorded by Smiley Lewis in 1954
Hear Elvis's version on: I Found My Thrill (FTD CD)
Perhaps more associated with Fats Domino, "Blue Monday" was first recorded in 1954 by Smiley Lewis (see "One Night"). Although later versions credit Domino as a co-writer, the number was from the mighty pen of Dave Bartholomew. Elvis sings just the one line (and gets it wrong, singing ,"Blue Monday and my head is bad," instead of, "Sunday morning my head is bad") during a Las Vegas performance.
Blue Moon recorded by Elvis on Thursday, 19 August 1954;Studio
Written by: Rodgers; Hart
Originally recorded by Glen Gray and Casa Loma Orchestra with Kenny Sargent in 1934
Hear Elvis's version on: The Complete 50's Masters 1; The Sun Sessions CD
Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart first wrote the music together with different lyrics in 1933 for use in the film "Hollywood Party" of 1934, where it was to be sung by Jean Harlow as "Prayer," though the song was not used in the film. Shirley Ross used the tune when performing the song "The Bad In Every Man" in the 1934 film "Manhattan Melodrama." After the film, Hart wrote the now familiar "Blue Moon" lyrics and since then the song has been recorded by many artists, the first of whom were Glen Gray and Casa Loma with Kenny Sargent on 16 November 1934 for Decca.
Blue Moon Of Kentucky recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 6 July 1954;Studio
Written by: Monroe
Originally recorded by Bill Monroe in 1946
Hear Elvis's version on: The Complete 50's Masters 1; The Sun Sessions CD
Bill Monroe with Flatt and Scruggs, who played guitar and banjo respectively in his bluegrass group recorded the original version of this classic in 3/4 time—waltz tempo. But Monroe's waltz tempo original was light years away from Elvis's quantum leap into rockabilly. Elvis was worried that Bluegrass giant Bill Monroe would be offended by his tampering with the number, but Monroe soon recorded his own version in Elvis's 4/4 rhythm.
Thanks to all the people who have provided feedback and additional information that I've been able to use to improve this site and its contents: Garth Bond (UK?), Sebastiano Cecere (Italy), Chris Deakin (UK), Stig Ericsson (Sweden), Mark Hillier (UK), Joop Jansen (Netherlands), Torben Jensen (Denmark), Robin Jones (Saudi Arabia), Bob Moke (USA), Henk Muller (Netherlands), Rami Poutiainen (Finland), Aad Sala (Netherlands), Trevor Simpson (UK), Leroy Smith (Netherlands), Philippe Spard (France), Kris Verdonck (Belgium). If I've forgotten anyone, please forgive me!