Information about original versions of numbers recorded by Elvis Presley.
(Please note that 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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Blue Suede Shoes recorded by Elvis on Monday, 30 January 1956; Studio
Written by: Perkins
Originally recorded by Carl Perkins in 1956
Hear Elvis's version on: Elvis Presley; G.I. Blues; The Complete 50's Masters 1
Elvis covered his own cover of Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes" in 1960, when a new recording was made for the film "G.I. Blues." Carl Perkins wrote "Blue Suede Shoes" after hearing a remark made by a boy to his girlfriend at a dance; the lyrics were scribbled onto an old sack. Perkins then recorded the number for Sun; he was just one of the many new Sun recording artists following in Elvis's wake. Another famous Perkins number is "Matchbox," and it is often indicated as also having been written by him. This is not the case, even if he did get his name on the writing credits at a time when the original was generally forgotten: Blind Lemon Jefferson's "Match Box Blues." Despite this sleight of hand, intentional or not, Perkins was one of the great rockabilly singers, even if his on-stage movements looked strangely forced. Carl Perkins died in January 1998.
Blueberry Hill recorded by Elvis on Saturday, 19 January 1957; Studio
Written by: Lewis; Stock; Rose
Originally recorded by Sammy Kaye in 1940
Hear Elvis's version on: Loving You; The Complete 50's Masters 3
It was a close-run race in 1940 to see who was going to be the first to release "Blueberry Hill." Sammy Kaye won, releasing his recording on the last day of May. The following weeks saw releases by Gene Kruppa, Glenn Miller, and Kay Kyser. Russ Morgan's version was released in July and then came Gene Autry's in August, followed by still others later that same and following years. But the number is undoubtedly most associated with Fats Domino, whose 1956 version made it to the top of the R&B charts. Sammy Kaye, a clarinettist, led his own band in Cleveland and Pittsburgh before moving to the more lucrative hotel engagements of New York in the late 1930s. The critics disliked his simple style, but the patrons loved it. His band became popular on radio in the 1940s and made a successful transition to television in the 1950s.
Bosom Of Abraham recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 9 June 1971; Studio
Written by: Johnson; McFadden; Brooks
Originally recorded by Heavenly Gospel Singers in 1937
Hear Elvis's version on: Amazing Grace (CD 2)
The version by the Heavenly Gospel Singers, recorded on 4 August 1937 for Bluebird, was called "Rock My Soul." The Trumpeteers released a version called "Bosom Of Abraham" (Score 5031) in 1949. The Jordanaires released a version in 1954 (Decca 29188).
Bossa Nova Baby recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 22 January 1963; Studio
Written by: Leiber; Stoller
Originally recorded by Tippie and the Clovers in 1962
Hear Elvis's version on: Double Features: It Happened At The World's Fair & Fun In Acapulco
The Clovers were formed in 1946 and had enjoyed a successful recording career, including numerous releases for Atlantic, and "Love Potion #9" (another Leiber, Stoller number) for United Artists, when Roosevelt "Tippie" Hubbard joined them as lead singer in 1962, replacing Billy Mitchell. They recorded as both "Tippie and the Clovermen" and "Tippie and the Clovers" for the Tiger label. "Bossa Nova, Baby" was released on Tiger T201.
The Bossa Nova was of Brazilian origin; Fun In Acapulco was a film whose action supposedly took place in Mexico.
Bridge Over Troubled Water recorded by Elvis on Friday, 5 June 1970; Studio
Written by: Simon
Originally recorded by Simon and Garfunkel in 1969
Hear Elvis's version on: That's The Way It Is
The original reached number 1 in the US Hot 100, where it stayed for six weeks, and received Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Contemporary Song in 1970. The LP named after the song won the Grammy for Album of the Year. The number was recorded around Christmas 1969. Although released as a performance by "Simon and Garfunkel," only Art Garfunkel actually sang on the number, but then, it was only Paul Simon who wrote it, so fair's fair! The inspiration for Simon to write the song came from a line in the Swan Silvertones' 1958 song, "Mary Don't You Weep" -- "I'll be a bridge over deep water if you trust in my name.," written by Claude Jeter. Elvis's recording was made in a studio—the "live" applause was overdubbed.
Bringing It Back recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 12 March 1975; Studio
Written by: Gordon
Originally recorded by Brenda Lee in 1975
Hear Elvis's version on: Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 2
Brenda Lee recorded her version of the song just a couple of months before Elvis, on 22 January 1975, and she had a C&W hit with it that same year, it having been released on MCA 40442 in July. It is possible that an earlier recording was made by The Oak Ridge Boys (though their version was not released until 1981), but this has yet to be confirmed.
Can anyone provide a recording date for the version by The Oak Ridge Boys? contact me.
Brown Eyed Handsome Man recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 4 December 1956; Informal
Written by: Berry
Originally recorded by Chuck Berry in 1956
Hear Elvis's version on: The Complete Million Dollar Session
Chuck Berry will go down in history as the Bard of rock'n'roll: no other songwriter was quite able to match Berry's masterful ability to summarise in a few verses and with brilliant phrasing the hopes and wishes of youth.
Elvis covered numerous Berry numbers — see also Johnny B. Goode; Long Live Rock And Roll (School Days); Maybellene; Memphis, Tennessee; Promised Land; Too Much Monkey Business.
Burning Love recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 28 March 1972; Studio
Written by: Linde
Originally recorded by Arthur Alexander in 1972
Hear Elvis's version on: Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 1; ELV1S 30 #1 Hits
Arthur Alexander's original recording of "Burning Love" was first released on his epomynous LP in February 1972. It is therefore very likely that Alexander recorded the track in 1971, but I have been unable to find an exact date for the recording. Author Dennis Linde recorded his own version of this number in 1973. J. D. Sumner and The Stamps to provide backing vocals on Elvis's recording of Burning Love. This was the first time that Elvis used this group in the stduio, though he had admired them since before himself becoming a star and had already performed with them on stage. Note that the version on "ELV1S 30 #1 Hits" is indicated as being a "mixed and mastered" version, so presumably it is based on the original single take, despite the fact that it is six seconds longer...
By And By recorded by Elvis on Friday, 27 May 1966; Studio
Written by: Tindley
Originally recorded by Frank and James McCravy in 1925
Hear Elvis's version on: How Great Thou Art; Amazing Grace (CD 1)
Charles H. Tindley was born in 1851 and died in 1936. He wrote this number in 1905 as "We"ll Understand It Better By and By." He might have recorded the number himself, but this can't be confirmed. Tindley also wrote the song "I'll Overcome Some Day," which later became know as "We Shall Overcome." Furthermore, he wrote the gospel number "Stand By Me." Many sources imply that this is the song with which Ben E. King had a hit in the 1960s, but that was a different number. However, Elvis also recorded Tindley's "Stand By Me" for his own "How Great Thou Art" gospel collection.
Brothers Frank and James McCravy from Laurens, South Carolina, recorded the number as "We'll Understand It Better Bye and Bye" (note the added "e"s on the words "By") in New York in February 1925, for release on Okeh 40319. This was the McCravy's first recording session, but they went on to record hundreds of tracks, often using different names, such as The Lonesome Pine Twins, The Austin Brothers, Al and Joe Blackburn, Cox and Campbell, and The Mack Brothers. They ended their recording career in 1935, by which time they had recorded "We'll Understand It Better Bye and Bye" on at least two more occasions.
Can't Help Falling In Love recorded by Elvis on Thursday, 23 March 1961; Studio
Written by: Peretti; Creatore; Weiss
Originally recorded by Monsieur Fernand (Emilio de Gogorza) in 1902
Hear Elvis's version on: Blue Hawaii; ELV1S 30 #1 Hits
Based on "Plaisir d'Amour" (Pleasure of Love), a song dating from 1785, with original words by Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian and music by Johann Paul Aegidius Martini (Schwarzendorf). The words first appeared in de Florian's novel "Célestine" and, because of its context there, the song was also known as "Romance du chevrier" (Romance of the goatherd). It was later adapted in English as "The Joy of Love." Recorded innumerable times by everyone and his mother, the very earliest recording seems to have been made by Emilio de Gogorza. Gogorza was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1872 to Spanish parents. He was a baritone who sang in numerous languages and under various names, including E. Francisco, Carlos Francisco, Edward Franklin, Herbert Godddard and Monsieur Fernand, as well as his real name. His original recording was made in May 1902 and released on Victor 1405, as a single-sided disc in both 7" and 10" format. Gogorza died in 1949.
"Can't Help..." is an adaption of the original tune with new words, written for "Blue Hawaii," by George Weiss, together with Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore.
Carry Me Back To Old Virginia recorded by Elvis on Monday, 10 April 1972; Concert
Written by: Bland
Originally recorded by Len Spencer in 1893
Hear Elvis's version on: Carry Me Back To Old Virginia (unofficial)
Originally titled "Carry Me Back To Old Virginny," the number was written in 1875 by the African American minstrel James Bland (1854-1911), who wrote over 700 songs, including "Oh Dem Golden Slippers." It became the state song of Virginia in 1940, but was given the status of "state song emeritus" in 1997 when the Virginia Senate decided that a new song was required. Len Spencer's recording was probably made for Columbia and then regionally distributed by companies such as the New Jersey Phonograph Company and the Ohio Phonograph Company. Spencer was born in 1867 in Washington DC. He was one of the USA's first recording stars and is considered to have made the first million-selling record, namely "Arkansas Traveler." Elvis included the number in several concerts in 1972, though always only singing very brief extracts.
Cattle Call recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 29 July 1970; Concert
Written by: Owens
Originally recorded by Tex Owens in 1934
Hear Elvis's version on: One Night In Vegas
"Cattle Call" was written in 1934 by country artist Tex Owens and recorded by him on 28 August of that year. It became a number one country hit for Eddy Arnold with Hugo Winterhalter And His Orchestra in 1955. It is believed that Elvis sang "The Cattle Call" at some of his concerts in the 1950s. Two recordings of Elvis rehearsing the number are available: the first dates from 29 July 1970 and is included in the "Platinum, A Life In Music" (but it is just a 25 second snippet); the second at 1m.16s is considerably longer and can be found on the Follow That Dream release, "One Night In Vegas."
Cindy, Cindy recorded by Elvis on Thursday, 4 June 1970; Studio
Written by: Drake; Shirl (based on traditional)
Originally recorded by Samantha Bumgarner and Eva Davis in 1924
Hear Elvis's version on: Love Letters From Elvis; Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 3
The number is based loosely on an earlier folk song called variously "Get Along Home Cindy," "Whoop 'Em Up, Cindy, "Get On Board, Little Children," along with many other titles.
In April 1924, two Appalachian ladies, Samantha Bumgarner and Eva Davis, became one of the first Country acts to be recorded. The session was held in New York for the Columbia Phonograph Company and consisted of 12 tracks (other sources say ten). The second of these tracks was "Cindy In The Meadows" and it is a clear ancestor of what we know today as "Cindy, Cindy."
(I choose to ignore Ernest Hare & Al Bernard's 1923 recording of "Cindy," which is often cited as an early version of the song, as it bears no resemblance to the song as we know it.)
Various other versions of this traditional number have been recorded, most with different lyrics to those supplied to Elvis. Amongst these: Ricky Nelson (with same title as Elvis's, in 1959) and Trini Lopez (1968 as "I'm Coming Home Cindy).
Clambake recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 22 February 1967; Studio
Written by: Weisman; Wayne
Originally recorded by Henry Whitter (harmonica solo) in 1924
Hear Elvis's version on: Double Features: Kissin' Cousins, Clambake and Stay Away Joe
There can be little doubt that the chorus of this number is a simple rewrite of the traditional "Shortnin' Bread". Whitter recorded for the OKeh and Victor labels. The original title, "Shortnin' Bread" appears in numerous forms, including "Shortenin'" and "Shortening" and "Saltin'"; one recording lists it as "Salt Rising Bread". There seems to be utter confusion about the origins of the song! In any case, the original seems to have been released on OKeh 40064.
Columbus Stockade Blues recorded by Elvis on Saturday, 15 December 1973; One-liner
Written by: Darby; Tarlton
Originally recorded by Thomas Darby and Jimmie Tarlton in 1927
Hear Elvis's version on: Essential Elvis Vol.5 (Elvis Rhythm And Country)
Thomas Darby and Jimmie Tarlton's recordings for Columbia, Victor, and A.R.C. from 1927 to 1933 made them among the most popular of the traditional country acts recording at that time, and their influence since then has been immense. Jimmie Tarlton is credited with introducing the steel guitar to country music and was a great yodeler. Tom Darby was rhythm guitarist and singer. Despite their success, they left the music business in 1935.
Elvis can be heard singing just a few lines of the number prior to take 4 of "Promised Land"—the title is not indicated on the playlist of "Essential Elvis Vol.5."
The Columbus Stockade was two brick buildings which served as a jail and police headquarters from the 1850s to 1906. The property was listed on the US National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
Come Along recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 12 May 1965; Studio
Written by: Hess (but Traditional)
Originally recorded by Norfolk Jubilee Quartet in 1923
Hear Elvis's version on: Frankie and Johnny
This number was used in Elvis's film Frankie and Johnny, with composing credits going to David Hess. It was the first track recorded for the film. However, the tune seems to be the same as an older number called "Gonna Raise A Ruckus Tonight," or "Gonna Raise Rukus Tonight," or some other similar phrase involving a ruckus (with or without a "c"). The earliest recording of a variation of this number was made by the Norfolk Jubilee Quartet, titled "Raise R-U-K-U-S Tonight" was released on Paramount 12032 in 1923. The melody is probably still older, however, and can only be indicated as "traditional." Robert Emmett Dolan arranged the tune and Johnny Mercer provided the words to create "We'll Raise A Ruckus Tonight" which was finally published in 1934 (this is getting complicated!). How similar the words in Elvis's version are to the "original," I have no idea, but the phrase "gonna raise a ruckus tonight" is still there!
Come What May recorded by Elvis on Saturday, 28 May 1966; Studio
Written by: Tableporter
Originally recorded by Al Casey in 1957
Hear Elvis's version on: From Nashville to Memphis (3)
It is often reported that Etta James recorded this number first, even before Clyde McPhatter. However, James's recording was made on 22 April, 1957 (McPhatter's from February 1958), while a review of Al Casey's recording of "Come What May" on Dot 15563 appeared on 29 April, 1957, in Billboard and so must surely have been recorded earlier. A nice touch: the other side of Casey's release was titled "Guitar Man," though it had nothing to do with Elvis's later recording, of course.
Cottonfields recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 15 July 1970; Informal
Written by: Huddie Ledbetter
Originally recorded by Leadbelly (Huddie Ledbetter) in 1947
Hear Elvis's version on: That's The Way It Is (3-CD set)
This song is referred to in "Go, Cat, Go!" (the biography of Carl Perkins, by Carl Perkins and David McGee) as being part of Elvis's repertoire during a performance in 1954 at a high school gymnasium in Bethel Springs, Tennessee, some fifteen miles from Jackson. A recording was made in July 1970 during the filming for "That's The Way It Is"—this has, however, not been released officially.
Crazy Arms recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 4 December 1956; Informal
Written by: Mooney; Seals
Originally recorded by Kenny Brown and Marilyn Kaye and The Arkansas Ramblers in 1955
Hear Elvis's version on: The Complete Million Dollar Session
Probably best known from Ray Price and Jerry Lee Lewis's 1956 recordings, this number was first recorded the previous year (exact date unknown) by Kenny Brown and Marylin Kaye and The Arkansas Ramblers for the Pep label of Rivera, California (PEP 102). Elvis's version was recorded during the jam session at the Sun Studios, known as "The Million Dollar Quartet." Jerry Lee Lewis (The Killer) was at the session, along with Carl Perkins and Elvis (Johnny Cash was there for at least some time, but it is not certain that he was actually caught on tape) and he recorded "Crazy Arms" too.
Crying In The Chapel recorded by Elvis on Monday, 31 October 1960; Studio
Written by: Glenn
Originally recorded by Darrell Glenn in 1953
Hear Elvis's version on: How Great Thou Art; Amazing Grace (CD 1); ELV1S 30 #1 Hits
Darrell Glenn was born on 7 December, 1935. Darrell's father, Artie Glenn wrote "Crying In The Chapel" and Darrell recorded it on the Valley Records label with Artie's group, the Rhythm Riders. Elvis's version was recorded in 1960 during the His Hand In Mine sessions, but was not released until 1965, when it reached the number one spot in several national charts, including the UK. Why the delay? Well, the publishing rights of Crying In The Chapel were held by Artie Glenn, who refused to share the rights with Hill & Range. Release was therefore held back until Hill & Range were able to acquire full rights to the number. Later, Darrell Glenn would write "Indescribably Blue," which Elvis recorded in 1966. Darrel Glenn died on 9 April, 1990.
Crying Time recorded by Elvis on Thursday, 16 July 1970; Informal
Written by: Owens
Originally recorded by Buck Owens in 1964
Hear Elvis's version on: From Hollywood To Vegas (unofficial release).
The B-side of Buck Owens' hit "I've Got A Tiger By The Tail," "Crying Time" is sung by Elvis during a studio rehearsal in the film "That's The Way It Is." The song has never been officially released.
Danny Boy recorded by Elvis on Thursday, 5 February 1976; Studio
Written by: Weatherly
Originally recorded by Ernestine Schumann-Heink in 1915
Hear Elvis's version on: From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis Tennessee; Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 4
Fred Weatherly provided the words of Danny Boy, but the melody was first published in George Petrie's The Petrie Collection Of The Ancient Music Of Ireland in 1855. The nameless piece bore the annotation that it originated in Londonderry and so became known as The Londonderry Air.
Ernestine Schumann-Heink was a German contralto with the New York Metropolitan Opera. She first attempted to record "Danny Boy" in September 1915 for Victor, but was apparently unsuccessful, as the recording is indicated with the status "Destroy" in Victor's own discography. Two years later, on 26 September 1917, in Camden, New Jersey, Schumann-Henk produced the first master, which was released as a 12" disc on a number of Victor labels.
Dark Moon recorded by Elvis on ?, 1966; Informal
Written by: Miller
Originally recorded by Bonnie Guitar in 1957
Hear Elvis's version on: A Golden Celebration; The Home Recordings
"Dark Moon" was written by Ned Miller (see also "From A Jack To A King") in 1957. Several artists recorded the number that year, but Bonnie Guitar's version seems to have been the first. She was beaten in the charts, however, by Gale Storm, who reached number 4 in Billboard's Top 100, Bonnie only getting as far as number 6.
Elvis's version is an informal recording, probably made in 1966. It was discovered by the late Joan Deary of RCA records when she searched Graceland after Elvis's death, in the hope of finding some overlooked recordings.
Delilah recorded by Elvis on Friday, 24 July 1970; One-liner
Written by: Reed; Mason
Originally recorded by Tom Jones (but see entry!) in 1968
Hear Elvis's version on: The Brightest Star on Sunset Boulevard Vol.2; Elvis Among Friends (unofficial CDs)
Quite a number of Elvis's "recordings" are little more than just a few lines of a song. This is an example. Elvis sings just one line after having tried out "Make The World Go Away" (Brightest Star on Sunset Boulevard) and there is no mention of the song on the CD itself. On the Elvis Among Friends release Elvis didn't even sing enough for the compiler of the CD to get the title correct! The CD lists "I Saw The Light," so you'd expect to hear Elvis singing another Hank Williams song (he had quite a penchant for them); instead he sings just the opening lines of Welsh singer Tom Jones's more raucous number (which, admittedly, begins with the words, "I saw the light..."). To be absolutely correct and perhaps just a little pernickety, there is a case for listing P.J. Proby as the original recording artist. In an interview with British Rock journalist in 2009, songwriter Les Reed revealed that P.J. recorded the number in November 1967, but that his recording remained unreleased until 2008. Welsh Warbler Jones's recording was made in January 1968 and released on 23 February, initially selling half a million copies, but going on to sell in excess of 5 million. The story goes that Elvis used to warm up his voice with this number. Nothing at all official about either the release or the recording, which was made during a Lake Tahoe concert in May 1976 and sounds as if the mike was held under the table!
Detroit City recorded by Elvis on Friday, 11 September 1970; One-liner
Written by: Tillis; Dill
Originally recorded by Billy Grammer in 1962
Hear Elvis's version on: Real Fun On Stage... And In The Studio (unofficial)
Probably best known in the version by Bobby Bare, who recorded his version on 18 April 1963 (later covered by Welsh singer Tom Jones). However, the original was recorded on 12 September 1962 for the Decca label by Billy Grammer, but with the title, "I Wanna Go Home." It was released in January 1963 on the Decca 31449 single. Grammer was brn the oldest of thirteen children in Benton, Illinois, in 1925. He died in that same town just 17 days before his 85th birthday in August 2011.
Elvis sang three lines in a concert in the Olympia Arena, Detroit, in 1970, before a crowd of 16,000. Perhaps his friend Tom Jones was in the audience!
Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour…? recorded by Elvis on Monday, 4 February 1974; One-liner
Written by: Bloom; Breur; Rose
Originally recorded by The Happiness Boys in 1924
Hear Elvis's version on: I Found My Thrill (FTD CD)
"What, what, what?" I hear British readers shout, "Where's Lonnie Donegan?" Well, yes, British skiffle giant Donegan did release a single of "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour (On The Bedpost Overnight)?" in 1959 in the UK and in 1961 in the USA, and it was a hit in both countries. However, many years before that, The Happiness Boys, otherwise known as Ernie Hare and Billy Jones, released their original version, which had the slightly different title of, "Does The Spearmint Lose Its Flavor On The Bedpost Overnight?" (Donegan couldn't use the original words, as "Spearmint" was a registered trademark in the UK.) Elvis sings just the title line (and gets it wrong) during a Las Vegas performance.
Don't Forbid Me recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 4 December 1956; Informal
Written by: Singleton
Originally recorded by Pat Boone in 1956
Hear Elvis's version on: The Complete Million Dollar Session; Today, Tomorrow And Forever
Recorded during the jam session at the Sun Studios, known as "The Million Dollar Quartet." Jerry Lee Lewis (The Killer) was at the session, along with Carl Perkins and Elvis (Johnny Cash was there for at least some time, but it is not certain that he was actually caught on tape).
Don't It Make You Wanna Go Home recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 29 July 1970; One-liner
Written by: South
Originally recorded by Joe South in 1969
Hear Elvis's version on: The Brightest Star on Sunset Boulevard (unofficial release)
Elvis never recorded a full version of this number, which, given its lyrics, is a great shame, as it could almost have been written for him. An official release, "That's The Way It Is Special Edition" also has Elvis singing four lines of the song, following the "Little Sister/Get Back" medley on CD 3, but this is not indicated in the track list. Joe South's self-penned original reached #27 in the US charts in 1969. It was released on Capitol 2592 and with the more correct title, "Don't It Make You Want To Go Home," and was taken from the album of the same name.
Don't Think Twice, It's All Right recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 16 May 1971; Studio
Written by: Dylan
Originally recorded by Bob Dylan in 1962
Hear Elvis's version on: Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 4
Dylan's number was probably based on the Appalachian traditional "Who'll Buy Your Chickens When I'm Gone," first recorded by Paul Clayton. Robert Shelton, however, points to "Scarlet Ribbons For Her Hair" as the source for "Don't Think Twice." Dylan made his recording on 14 November, 1962, at the Columbia Recording Studio, New York City. Like "Blowin' In The Wind," this track would appear on the LP "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" in May 1963.
Down By The Riverside recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 4 December 1956; Studio
Written by: Traditional/Giant/Baum/Kaye
Originally recorded by Fisk University Jubilee Quartet in 1920
Hear Elvis's version on: The Complete Million Dollar Session; Double Features: Frankie and Johnny & Paradise, Hawaiian Style
"Down By The Riverside" is just one of the titles used for this numbers. Others include "Ain' Go'n' To Study War No Mo," "Ain't Gonna Grieve My Lord No More," "Ain't Gwine To Study War No More," "Down By De Ribberside," "Down By The River," "Going To Pull My War-Clothes" and "Study War No More." The 1920 recording by the Fisk University Jubilee Quartet was titled "I Ain't Gonna Study War No More."
Elvis sung along on this traditional gospel number with Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis during the Million Dollar Quartet jam session at the Sun Studios in December 1956.
It would be almost 10 years, however, before he recorded a more secular version of the number for the soundtrack of the film "Frankie and Johnny," where it was coupled with "When The Saints Go Marchin' In."ss
Down In The Alley recorded by Elvis on Thursday, 26 May 1966; Studio
Written by: Stone
Originally recorded by The Clovers in 1953
Hear Elvis's version on: Reconsider Baby; From Nashville to Memphis (3)
The Clovers recorded "Down In The Alley" first on 21 December 1953 for Atlantic, but the number remained unreleased. They recorded the song again for Atlantic on 26 July 1957. It was released as a single, coupled with "There's No Tomorrow," in August 1957. Jesse Stone wrote the number. Stone was a very talented writer who often used the pseudonym Chales Calhoun — this is the name he used for "Shake, Rattle and Roll," for example. Elvis also recorded Stone's "Flip, Flop and Fly" and "Shake, Rattle and Roll" in 1956 and "Like A Baby" in 1960.
Drums Of The Islands recorded by Elvis on Monday, 26 July 1965; Studio
Written by: Polynesian Culture Center; Tepper; Bennett
Originally recorded by Traditional Polynesian in ?
Hear Elvis's version on: Paradise, Hawaiian Style
The melody this number is based on an old Tongan chant "Bula Lai," or "Bula Malaya," or "Bula Maleya," or… (different dialects, different transcriptions…), so the rhythm pattern for this song dates from before the colonisation of the islands and is therefore of Pacific origin. The melody is copyrighted by The Polynesian Culture Center, who are therefore credited for the song together with Tepper and Bennett.
Early Morning Rain recorded by Elvis on Monday, 15 March 1971; Studio
Written by: Lightfoot
Originally recorded by Gordon Lightfoot in 1964
Hear Elvis's version on: Elvis Now; Elvis In Concert; Elvis in Nashville
Although Gordon Lightfoot's own version was not released until 1966, the year following the releases of versions of the song by Ian & Sylvia and then Peter, Paul and Mary, he had recorded the track in 1964. The delay is explained by his search for an acceptable recording contract. 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 "(That's What You Get) For Lovin' Me."
Earth Angel recorded by Elvis on April 1959 (perhaps later); Informal
Written by: Belvin; Williams; Hodge
Originally recorded by The Penguins in 1954
Hear Elvis's version on: A Golden Celebration
Jesse & Marvin recorded a number called "Dream Girl" in 1952. The Jesse of the group was one of the writers of both "Dream Girl" and "Earth Angel"—Jesse Belvin. "Earth Angel" is clearly based heavily on "Dream Girl." The Penguins scored a number one in the R&B charts with this "Earth Angel." Co-author Curtis Williams was leader of The Penguins. Elvis's recording is a home recording, made in Goethestrasse, Bad Nauheim, Germany, during his army service.
El Paso recorded by Elvis on Thursday, 30 March 1972; One-liner
Written by: Robbins
Originally recorded by Marty Robbins in 1959
Hear Elvis's version on: Between Takes
Marty Robbins is something of a legend in the world of Country and Western: he was the last performer to sing at the Grand Ole Opry's Ryman Auditorium and the first to perform at the new Opryland. He wrote "El Paso" in 1959, but Columbia Records were initially reluctant to release it as a single because of its length. Public demand was so great following its LP appearance on Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs, however, that the single was released in late 1959 and became an international best seller.
In 1960 the song received a Grammy Award for "Best Country and Western Performance." Elvis is not known to have officially recorded "El Paso," but he did sing a line or two occasionally during some of his 1970's concerts.
End Of The Road recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 4 December 1956; Informal
Written by: Berlin
Originally recorded by Daniel Haynes and the Dixie Jubilee Singers in 1929
Hear Elvis's version on: The Complete Million Dollar Session
Originally titled "Waiting At The End Of The Road" and used as the theme for the King Vidor film "Hallelujah" in 1929, in which Daniel Haynes and the Dixie Jubilee Singers appeared. That same year saw recordings by the Colonial Club Orchestra, the Paul Whiteman Orchestra and Fats Wallers. Quite a heritage! Elvis does not actually sing on the recording made during the Million Dollar Quartet session.
Everybody Loves Somebody recorded by Elvis on Monday, 23 February 1970; One-liner
Written by: Taylor; Lane
Originally recorded by Peggy Lee in 1947
Hear Elvis's version on: On Stage January 26th/February 23rd 1970—True Love Travels On a Gravel Road
Elvis sang about 4 lines of "Everybody..." during the closing show of one of his stints in Las Vegas. Dean Martin was in the audience at the time, and it was he who had a huge hit with the song in 1964. Perhaps Elvis thought that Deano had made the original recording, but then, Elvis didn't have the benefit of this site! It seems that Norma Deloris Egstrom was the first to record the number, but under her far better-known professional name of Peggy Lee. Her recording was made on 20 November 1947. Frank Sinatra soon followed, with a recording made on 4 December.
Faded Love recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 7 June 1970; Studio
Written by: Wills; Wills
Originally recorded by Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys in 1946
Hear Elvis's version on: I'm 10,000 Years Old: Elvis Country; Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 3
Bob's big success with "Faded Love" came in 1950, but his original recording of the number was made on the Tiffany label four years earlier. The song was originally just a fiddle tune, made up by Bob Wills' father, John Wills. His 1946 original on the Tiffany label was an instrumental version. Later Bob provided the words together with his bother, Billy Jack, and in 1950 he recorded the vocal version.c
Fairytale recorded by Elvis on Monday, 10 March 1975; Studio
Written by: Pointer; Pointer
Originally recorded by The Pointer Sisters in 1974
Hear Elvis's version on: Today; Elvis In Concert
The Pointer Sisters' original version was awarded a Grammy in the category Best Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. The number first appeared on their LP, "That's A Plenty," (Blue Thumb Records, BTS 6009), released in February 1974, before being issued as a single in September 1974 on Blue Thumb BTA 254.
Farther Along recorded by Elvis on Friday, 27 May 1966; Studio
Written by: Stevens; Baxter
Originally recorded by Howell Carolina Hillbillies in 1938
Hear Elvis's version on: The Complete Million Dollar Session; How Great Thou Art; Amazing Grace (CD 1)
W. B. Stevens wrote the words to this hymn in 1937, basing them on the older "Farther Alone," which dates back to the 19th century. The song was recorded by numerous artists between 1938 and 1940, but the Howell Carolina Hillbillies' February 1938 recording seems to have been the first. Elvis originally recorded this number during the jam session at the Sun Studios, known as "The Million Dollar Quartet." He included it in the "How Great Thou Art" sessions, almost ten years later.
Feelings recorded by Elvis on Monday, 1 November 1976; Studio
Written by: Albert
Originally recorded by Morris Albert in 1975
Hear Elvis's version on:
Brazilian singer/songwriter Morris Albert scored a big hit in South and Central America with his number "Feelings" before it was released in the USA, where it reached the top ten. It went on to become a worldwide hit. The Paris Appeals Court convicted Albert of plagiarism in 1987, forcing him to pay half a million dollars to French composer Louis Gasté who had accused Albert of using his composition Pour Toi as the basis of Feelings.
Pour Toi was written for the film Le Feu Aux Poudres and was originally recorded in 1957 by Dario Moreno. It is said that "Feelings" was the last song recorded by Elvis during a studio session (October 31-November 1, 1976), but that it was never completed. Elvis's version has never been released.
Fever recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 3 April 1960; Studio
Written by: Cooley; Davenport
Originally recorded by Little Willie John in 1956
Hear Elvis's version on: Elvis Is Back!; Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite
Talented Little Willie John's career was cut short in 1966 when he was convicted of manslaughter. He died in prison just two years later. The Davenport in the composer credits is a pseudonym for none other than Otis Blackwell. Davenport was the name of Blackwell's stepfather and was used because Little Willie John recorded for one music publisher, while Blackwell was under contract to another. Though Elvis almost certainly knew Little Willie John's version (Elvis's knowledge of black music was extensive), his own version is clearly based on Peggy Lee's (from 1958), which has different lyrics and the same emphasis on the bass-line.
Find Out What's Happening recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 22 July 1973; Studio
Written by: Crutchfield
Originally recorded by The Spidells in 1964
Hear Elvis's version on: Raised On Rock
The Spidells were formed in the early 1960s at Tennessee State University. Although based around Nashville, genereally regarded as the home of country music, the Spidells were a acentral part of the city's R&B scene. They are perhaps best known for their Coral release "Don't You Forget That You're My Baby," in 1967, but earlier had released tracks on the Monza label, including the 1964 original of "Find Out What's Happening," as the B-side of "That'll Make My Heart Break" on Monza 1122 . A British group, The Downliners Sect, soon covered the number. The Sect was one of the many British R&B groups of the early 1960s. The group was formed in 1963 by Mick O'Donnell (AKA Don Craine), after the break-up of his previous group, The Downliners. The original formation of the Sect was Don Craine (vocals and rhythm guitar), Melvin (?) (lead guitar, but soon replaced by Terry Gibson), Keith Grant (bass) and Jonny Sutton (drums). Despite some excellent releases on single, EP and LP, the lack of commercial success led to the end of the The Downliners Sect in 1967.
Five Sleepy Heads recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 20 June 1967; Studio
Written by: Tepper; Bennett
Originally recorded by Ernestine Schumann-Heink in 1906
Hear Elvis's version on: Double Features: Easy Come, Easy Go; Speedway
Tepper and Bennett? Add German classical composer Johannes Brahms, for this song is a sort of pop version of his lullaby, "Guten Abend, Gut' Nacht," or "Wiegenlied" opus 49, no.4. Brahms was born in Hamburg, Germany on 7 May 1833 and died in Vienna, Austria, on 3 April 1897. "The song was written in honor of the birth of a child of Brahms's friends Bertha and Artur Faber in 1868. Years earlier, Brahms had briefly fallen in love with Bertha when she was a young visitor to his female choir in Hamburg, and during the playful courtship she used to sing him a lilting 3/4-time Viennese melody. The romance ended, but the friendship endured, and the melody that Brahms later composed for the private lullaby was a creative counterpoint to the earlier love song that the child's mother would remember singing to the composer. When he presented the gift to the Fabers, Brahms included this note to her husband: "Frau Bertha will realize that I wrote the 'Wiegenlied' for her little one. She will find it quite in order . . . that while she is singing Hans to sleep, a love song is being sung to her." Bertha was the first person to sing Brahms's Lullaby" From "Johannes Brahms: A Biography, by Jan Swafford (1997, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.). Schumann-Heink's recording was made in September 1906 and released on the single-faced Victor/Victrola Red Seal label, VBRS 81085 (VBRS 81083, an earlier take made on the same date, was not issued)..
Flip, Flop And Fly recorded by Elvis on Saturday, 28 January 1956; Concert
Written by: Calhoun; Turner
Originally recorded by Joe Turner in 1955
Hear Elvis's version on: A Golden Celebration; Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis
Charles Calhoun is a pseudonym of Jesse Stone, who was also responsible for other Elvis originals "Money Honey" and "Shake Rattle And Roll." Elvis sung "Flip, Flop And Fly" together with "Shake, Rattle and Roll" on the CBS "Stage Show" TV programme—a white man singing black music with the original words, just like a black man (white covers always "toned down" the originals up to then). Was this the start of integration? Elvis continued to use the number in his live performances in the 1970s.
Flowers On The Wall recorded by Elvis on Thursday, 17 February 1966; One-liner
Written by: DeWitt
Originally recorded by The Statler Brothers in 1965
Hear Elvis's version on: Spin In… Spinout (unofficial CD)
Between takes 16 and 17 of "Adam And Evil," Elvis plays with just a couple of lines of "Flowers On The Wall." The number was originally recorded and made famous by The Statler Brothers, a popular harmony quartet in the 1960s and 1970s. Only two of the four were brothers and none was named Statler.) The song was written by one of the members of the group, Lew DeWitt.
Folsom Prison Blues recorded by Elvis on Friday, 14 August 1970; Concert
Written by: Cash
Originally recorded by Johnny Cash in 1955
Hear Elvis's version on: The Entertainer (unofficial release)
Johnny Cash had a big hit on Billboard's country Chart in 1955, reaching number 5. It was his second release on the Sun label and was recorded in July 1955. He rerecorded the number in 1968 and scored another big hit, receiving a Grammy Award for best country and western male vocal in 1969. There is, however, some well-founded speculation
that Cash's number was largely plagiarized from a song called "Crescent City Blues," written by Gordon Jenkins as part of "The Conductor," which itself is a section of an early sort of concept album called "Seven Dreams," recorded in the early 1950s.
Elvis coupled "Folsom Prison Blues" with "I Walk The Line," another Cash hit, at some of his Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe shows.
Fool recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 28 March 1972; Studio
Written by: Sigman; Last
Originally recorded by James Last in 1969
Hear Elvis's version on: Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 2
Although Wayne Newton was the first to record a vocal version of this number with the name "Fool" in 1972, the real "original" was made by composer and band-leader James Last. His purely instrumental version, titled "No Words," recorded in 1969, appeared on his 1971 LP, "Starportrait."
Can you confirm the date of the James Last recording? contact me.
Fool, Fool, Fool recorded by Elvis on January or February, 1955; Informal
Written by: Nugetre
Originally recorded by The Clovers in 1951
Hear Elvis's version on: The Complete 50's Masters 5 (Rare and Rockin') Disc 5
This number was recorded for radio in Lubbock, Texas. Elvis visited Lubbock on January 6 and February 13, 1955, so it was probably recorded on one of these dates. The number was a chart-topper for The Clovers in 1951, released on Atlantic 944. Nugetre? Written in reverse, it spells Ertegun—Ahmet Ertegun was the boss of Atlantic Records and he wrote several decent numbers, including Big Joe Turner's "Chains of Love" and Ben E. King's "Don't Play That Song." Ertegun competed with RCA and others for Elvis's Sun contract in 1955, but was unable to offer more than US$25,000 ("That was everything we had, including my desk," he said to Elvis biographer Jerry Hopkins). And just to put this into perspective, Atlantic had just bought another contract they absolutely had to have, that of Ray Charles, for which they paid US$2,500.
Fools Fall In Love recorded by Elvis on Saturday, 28 May 1966; Studio
Written by: Leiber; Stoller
Originally recorded by The Drifters in 1957
Hear Elvis's version on: From Nashville to Memphis (3)
Originally released as the B-side of "Indescribably Blue." The Drifters were formed in 1953, with ex-Dominoes singer Clyde McPhatter as front man. By the time they recorded this number, however, McPhatter had left the group and Johnny Moore. Note that this is not the same Johnny Moore who sang with the Three Blazers.
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!
The best site for other originals is probably The Originals Project
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