Information about 506 original versions of recordings by singer and entertainer Elvis Presley. See when recorded and by whom, with interesting historical data. Hear soundbites of original versions.
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.
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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)
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 had taken his place (note that this is not the same Johnny Moore who sang with the Three Blazers). The Drifters must have had the most unstable lineup in the history of pop groups, but at the time they recorded the original version of "Fools Fall In Love," the group consisted of Johnny Moore, Gerhart Thrasher, Charlie Hughes, and Tommy Evans. The recording was released as a single on Atlantic 1123. Elvis's recording was first released as the B-side of "Indescribably Blue."
Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear To Tread) recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 18 May 1971;Studio
Written by: Mercer: Bloom
Originally recorded by Bob Crosby and His Orchestra in 1940
Hear Elvis's version on: Elvis Now
Bob Crosby and His Orchestra recorded the original of "Fools Rush In" on 18 March 1940 and it was released as a single on Decca 3154 that same year. Both Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey also recorded this number in 1940, along with numerous other artists—Frank Sinatra provided the vocals on Dorsey's version. Elvis's version copied the arrangement of the 1963 recording of Ricky Nelson, on which James Burton played lead guitar. An informal home recording, dating from 1966, of Elvis singing this number at a much gentler pace, was released officially on the CD "In A Private Moment."
For Ol' Times Sake recorded by Elvis on Monday, 23 July 1973;Studio
Written by: Tony Joe White
Originally recorded by Tony Joe White in 1973
Hear Elvis's version on: Raised On Rock; Walk A Mile In My Shoes Disc 2
Tony Joe White recorded the original for inclusion on his LP, "Homemade Ice Cream" (Warner Bros. BS 2708). Elvis also recorded Tony Joe White's "Polk Salad Annie" and "I've Got A Thing About You Baby."
For The Good Times recorded by Elvis on Monday, 27 March 1972;Studio
Written by: Kristofferson
Originally recorded by Bill Nash in 1968
Hear Elvis's version on: Elvis as Recorded at Madison Square Garden; Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 4
Bill Nash released this song as a single on the Smash label (Smash 2178). Composer Kris Kristofferson cut his own version in 1970, but Ray Price scored the biggest hit that same year, when he reached number one in the C&W charts. The version on the album "Elvis as Recorded at Madison Square Garden" was recorded on June 10, 1972, whereas the studio version that appears on Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 4 was recorded on March 27, 1972.
For The Heart recorded by Elvis on Thursday, 5 February 1976;Studio
Written by: Linde
Originally recorded by Teresa Brewer in 1975
Hear Elvis's version on:
Writing about the February 1976 sessions in his book, "Elvis Presley: A Life In Music," Ernst Jorgensen refers to this number as "a new song by Dennis Linde." This, however, was not the case, for it had already been recorded and released by Teresa Brewer. "For The Heart" appeared on her album "Unliberated Woman," released in 1975 on the Signature label (BSL1-0935). Born Teresa Breuer on 7 May, 1931, in Toledo, Ohio, Brewer was a talented child, who toured the USA and appeared as a regular for seven years on the radio show, "Major Bowes Amateur Hour." By 1948 she had changed her name to Brewer and was singing and dancing in New York. She was signed to the British record label, London, and in late 1949 recorded "Music, Music, Music," the song which is probably still most associated with her. In 1951 she signed for Coral and the following year recorded her biggest selling record, "Till I Walz Again With You." A fan of that song was Elvis Presley, who sang it during a show in Humes High School. Teresa Brewer died in October 2007.
Forget Me Never recorded by Elvis on Monday, 7 November 1960;Studio
Written by: Wise; Weisman
Originally recorded by Frank Coombs in 1911
Hear Elvis's version on: Wild In The Country FTD
This is speculation, but it seems extremely likely that when Ben Weisman wrote the music for "Forget Me Never," he was in some way influenced by the old pre-US Civil War song, "Lorena" (also known as "Sweet Lorena"). The melody is uncannily similar, if not to say the same. Indeed, Fred Wise's lyrics in many ways reflect the feelings of "Lorena," too. "Lorena" was written by Reverend Henry Webster in 1856, with music provided by Joseph Webster (no relation). Written originally as a poem directed at his long-lost love, her name was changed in the text to Lorena. Some commentators link this to the Lenore of Edgar Allen Poe's poem "The Raven," but it is more likely to be the Lenore of that same writer's poem "Lenore," which also deals with lost love. The song became extremely popular during the US Civil War, especially among soldiers from the South. "Lorena" was the song recorded by Frank Coombs on 7 April, 1911 and released on Columbia A5291 the following 11 July. Although recorded in 1960 during the "Wild In The Country" sessions, "Forget Me Never" was not released until four years later, when it became part of the "Elvis For Everyone" LP.
Frankie And Johnny recorded by Elvis on Thursday, 13 May 1965;Studio
Written by: Gottlieb; Karger; Weisman
Originally recorded by Al Bernard with Carl Fenton's Orchestra in 1921
Hear Elvis's version on: Frankie And Johnny
Al Bernard was an American vaudeville singer, known as "The Boy From Dixie," who was popular from the 1910s to the early 1930s. He was born in New Orleans in November 1888 and died in New York in March 1949. He made the first recording of "Frankie and Johnny" in May 1921 for release on Brunswick 2107 (backed with W.C. Handy's composition, "Memphis Blues"). Frankie Crumit with the Biese Trio recorded the number shortly after, in June 1921 and their recording was released on Columbia A3459. These are just two of many recordings of the song, made under a variety of titles, throughout the 1920s and subsequent decades. (Earlier recordings dealing with the same storyline, but with different titles and different tunes, such as Mamie Smith's February 1921 "Frankie's Blues" are ignored here.) The oldest known publication of the tune dates from 1904, under the title "He Done Me Wrong (The Death Of Bill Bailey)" (not to be confused with Marion Harris's recording "He Done Me Wrong," made in 1920—totally different), written by Hughie Cannon, and the song was first published as "Frankie And Johnny" in 1912, with composer and lyricist credits going to The Leighton Brothers and Ren Shields. The songs origins, however, go back much further, but would require their own book to be fully investigated. The number, then, is a traditional, though the version for the film seems to have merited its own writers credits.
Froggy Went a'Courtin' recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 29 July 1970;Informal
Written by: Peretti; Creatore; Rodgers
Originally recorded by Bradley Kincaid in 1928
Hear Elvis's version on: Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70s Masters, CD 5
Born on 13 July 1895 in Point Leavell, Kentucky, Bradley Kincaid was a folk musician who was a popular radio act in the late 1920s. He learned many traditional British ballads from his mother. To these perhaps 80 songs he added more folk ballads after meeting John H. Smith when studying at Bellea College in 1914. After serving two years in France during the First World War, Kincaid married and moved to Chicago, where by 1926 he was taking part in the National Barn Dances radio variety show, which later led to a series of highly successful concerts. In December 1927 Kincaid made his first recordings for Chicago-based Gennet Records. During his second session, in February 1928, one of the songs recorded was "Froggie Went a-Courtin'," which appeared on Gennett 6462, Champion 15466, Silvertone 5188 and Supertone 9209. Kincaid continued performing into the 1960s and was nominated for the Country Music Hall of Fame in the late 1980s. He died in September 1989. Exactly what Peretti and Creatore, who are more associated with Elvis as part of the team that came up with "Can't Help Falling In Love," had to do with the writing of this traditional ballad (which dates back to the 16th century), is a mystery.
From A Jack To A King recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 22 January 1969;Studio
Written by: Miller
Originally recorded by Ned Miller in 1957
Hear Elvis's version on: Back In Memphis; From Nashville to Memphis (4)
Ned Miller was born on 12 April, 1925, in Raines, Utah, and started writing and singing songs as a teenager. After his discharge from the US Marine Corps, he became a fulltime songwriter and in 1956 wrote "Dark Moon," which became a major hit the following year when it was recorded by Bonnie Guitar and Gale Storm. Ned Miller recorded the original version of his own composition, "From A Jack To A King," in 1957, when it was released as a single on the Dot 45-15601, but failed to chart. It was reissued in 1962 on Fabor 114, then reaching number 2 on the Billboard Country chart and number 6 on the Hot 100 chart. It was released yet again on a single in 1966, on Capitol 6092.
Funny How Time Slips Away recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 7 June 1970;Studio
Written by: Nelson
Originally recorded by Billy Walker in 1961
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; Elvis as Recorded at Madison Square Garden
Billy Walker was born on 14 January, 1929, in Ralls, Texas. As a teenager, he saw Gene Autry in a film and decided that he, too, could be a singer. By 1949 he was signed to Capitol Records, moving to Columbia Records in 1951. On 30 July, 1954, Walker, together with Slim Whitman, was headlining a show that was held at the Overton Shell in Memphis: a newcomer was also appearing, advertised as "Ellis Presley:" this was Elvis's first professional appearance after his recording of "That's All Right Mama." Billy Walker's original recording of "Funny How Time Slips Away" was made on 21 April, 1961, and issued on Columbia 4-42050. Composer Willie Nelson recorded his own version in 1962. Walker remained an active performer right up until his death in a traffic accident on 21 May, 2006, at age 77. A concert version of "Funny How Time Slips Away" by Elvis recorded at Shreveport, Louisiana on June 7, 1975 is included in the box set "Elvis Aron Presley."
Gentle On My Mind recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 14 January 1969;Studio
Written by: John Hartford
Originally recorded by John Hartford in 1967
Hear Elvis's version on: From Elvis in Memphis; From Nashville to Memphis (4)
Surely one of the highlights of the "From Elvis In Memphis" album, which itself must rank as one of Elvis's very best. If you want only one Elvis album in your collection, get this one and forget about the rest. I can stick the headphones on, set the CD player to replay, and listen to this number over and over again. A real gem! John Hartford was something of an eccentric; as well as being a musician and composer, he was also an author and riverboat captain and could dance a mean soft-shoe shuffle. He died in 2001. 3 February, 1967. RCA Victor 47-9175
Get Back recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 12 August 1970;Concert
Written by: Lennon; McCartney
Originally recorded by The Beatles in 1969
Hear Elvis's version on: Elvis Aron Presley (silver box set); Live In Las Vegas
Although listed as a Lennon-McCartney composition, it was Paul McCartney who was solely responsible for "Get Back," composed at a difficult time for The Beatles and in an attempt to "get back" to their roots. The recording featured Paul on lead vocal and Billy Preston on organ, who was also credited on the record label. Elvis sometimes coupled "Get Back" with "Little Sister" during live appearances in the 1970s. A recording of Elvis rehearsing the number on 29 July 1970 also exists.
Ghost Riders In The Sky recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 15 July 1970;Informal
Written by: Jones
Originally recorded by Burl Ives in 1948
Hear Elvis's version on: The Way It Was
Stan Jones was born on 5 June, 1914, in Douglas, Arizona. After moving to California and following his discharge from the US Navy, he had various jobs, but during his free time he wrote songs. The most famous of these was "Ghost Riders In The Sky" (variously known as "Riders In The Sky," "Ghost Riders," and "A Cowboy Legend," in addition to its more common title). Burl Ives was a folksy type of singer who was already popular and successful in 1949, when a Los Angeles publisher offered him a new song by a new songwriter, Stan Jones. The song was "(Ghost) Riders In The Sky (A Cowboy Legend)" and he liked it so much that he recorded it immediately. His recording, made on 17 February, 1949, and released on Columbia 38445, reached number 14 in the charts, but the song had also been picked up by Vaugh Monroe, who recorded his own version shortly after Ives, but released it earlier, on RCA 20-3411) and that recording made it to the top position, where it remained for eleven weeks. Many others recorded the song, and Jones had a new career and major Hollywood representation. Stan Jones recorded his own version of the number in May 1949, which was released on Mercury 5320. Some sources indicate that Jones recorded his version before Ives, but its matrix number indicates that it was made in late April or early May, 1949. Elvis's recording is taken from a rehearsal and was not originally intended for release; indeed, it was not released officially for over thirty years!
Girl Next Door Went A Walkin' recorded by Elvis on Monday, 4 April 1960;Studio
Written by: Rice; Wayne
Originally recorded by Thomas Wayne in 1959
Hear Elvis's version on: Elvis Is Back!; From Nashville to Memphis (1)
Thomas Wayne, co-writer and original recording artist, was a graduate of L.C. Humes High School, just like Elvis! His original single carried the title "Girl Next Door;" early pressings of "Elvis Is Back!" listed the number as "The Girl Next Door" and later pressings as "The Girl Next Door Went a-Walking." Wayne's original was recorded in 1959 on Scotty Moore's own short-lived Fernwood record label and released in May 1960 on Fernwood 122. Thomas Wayne was born Thomas Wayne Perkins in 1940 and was the brother of Luther Perkins, who played guitar for Johnny Cash. Thomas Wayne died in 1971.
Girl Of Mine recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 24 July 1973;Studio
Written by: Reed; Mason
Originally recorded by Engelbert Humperdinck in 1972
Hear Elvis's version on: Raised On Rock
Les Reed and Barry Mason were major songwriting forces in the 1960s, especially in the UK, where seldom did a week go by without at least one of their numbers in the charts. They worked together, individually, or with other partners, to produce such hits as "Tell Me When" (Applejacks), "Here It Comes Again" (Fortunes), "Delilah" (Tom Jones, though written for P.J. Proby) and "The Last Waltz" (Engelbert Humperdinck), along with many others. Engelbert Humperdinck was born Arnold George Dorsey, in Madras, India, in 1936. After taking the name of a German opera composer as his stage name, Humperdinck became an internationally successful pop singer in the 1960s and 1970s. Humperdinck's original version of "Girl Of Mine" appeared on his 1972 album "In Time," but may have been recorded earlier, as at least one site (www.lesreed.com no less) indicates that it was already released in 1970.
Can you provide the recording date of Humperdinck's version?contact me.
Girls! Girls! Girls! recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 27 March 1962;Studio
Written by: Leiber; Stoller
Originally recorded by The Coasters in 1961
Hear Elvis's version on: Double Features: Kid Galahad & Girls! Girls! Girls!
The Coasters, one of THE groups of the 50s and early 60s, recorded many Leiber and Stoller numbers. They recorded the original version of "Girls! Girls! Girls!" for Atlantic in February 1961. The original title did not include the exclamation marks. The Coasters recorded the number as a two-part song, Part 1 being recorded just before "Little Egypt" and Part 2 some time later during the same session. Both parts were released together on the Atco 6204 single, which reached number 96 in the US pop charts in August 1961. "Little Egypt" was another Leiber and Stoller number that both the Coasters and Elvis recorded.
Give Me More, More, More Of Your Kisses recorded by Elvis on 1955 ?;Studio
Written by: Price; Frizzell
Originally recorded by Lefty Frizzell in 1951
Hear Elvis's version on: Uncle Pen (unofficial 2-track CD)
Frizzel was a real innovator in style and presentation and a major influence on others singers. After a less than successful spell as a boxer, Frizzell turned to singing, with considerably more success: in 1951 he held the number one position in the Country charts for more than half the year. And Elvis's rhinestone-encrusted jumpsuits can also be traced back to Lefty! Frizzell was the first singer to wear rhinestones on stage, in an outfit designed by none other than Nudie Cohen—now where have we heard that name before? Lefty Frizzell died in 1975. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1982. As for Elvis's version of this number, well, it appeared on a rather mysterious 2-song CD put out on the Suedes label (KAYS 1955-578-1) which might be a recording of Elvis performing the number live on a radio show. The cover reads, "We cannot make any statements about the identity of the singer, firstly because of legal reasons and secondly because we really dont know." However, another source indicates that this and the other song on the Suedes release ("Uncle Pen") are really by Paul Ansell who fronts the group No.9, with some sound effects to "age" the recording.
Good Rockin' Tonight recorded by Elvis on Friday, 10 September 1954;Studio
Written by: Brown
Originally recorded by Roy Brown with The Bob Ogden Orchestra in 1947
Hear Elvis's version on: The Sun Sessions CD; The Complete 50's Masters 1
Was Roy Brown's "Good Rockin' Tonight" the first Rock'n'Roll record? Brown first offered his number to Wynonie Harris, who turned it down. Brown recorded it himself and the number reached the R&B Top 20, so Wynonie Harris then recorded it and scored a number one R&B hit in 1948. Pat Boone (!) sung the only version to get into the American top 100. Sorry, but can you really imagine Pat Boone singing "Good Rockin' Tonight..."?
Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues recorded by Elvis on Thursday, 13 December 1973;Studio
Written by: O'Keefe
Originally recorded by The Bards in 1967
Hear Elvis's version on: Good Times; Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 4
Composer Danny O'Keefe recorded this number on no less than three separate occasions! He probably recorded the first version in 1967, either for the Jerden label, or for Piccadilly, but it was not released; then came a version on the Cotillion label in 1971; finally O'Keefe recorded his hit version for the Signpost label in 1972. In the meantime, however, a relatively unknown group called The Bards, from Moses Lake, Washington, recorded the number and released it in 1968 on the Parrot label (Parrot 45-337) and in 1969 on the Jerden label (Jerden 907). Elvis did not sing the lines "I got my pills to ease the pain, Can't find a thing to ease my brain."
Got My Mojo Working recorded by Elvis on Friday, 5 June 1970;Studio
Written by: Foster
Originally recorded by Muddy Waters in 1956
Hear Elvis's version on: Love Letters From Elvis; Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 3
Muddy Waters was born McKinley Morganfield on 4 April, 1913, in Issaquena, Mississippi. As a child he was given the nickname "Muddy." In 1941, Alan Lomax and John Work travelled around the Mississippi delta, recording local bluesmen. One of these was Muddy Waters. Further recordings were made for Lomax, as well as radio appearances, and in 1947 he obtained a recording contract with Chess. Muddy Waters learned "Got My Mojo Working" from Ann Cole, who sang it as part of her warm-up act at Muddy's concerts during a tour of the southern states of America in November 1956. Cole recorded her version on 27 January 1957 (Baton 237), but Waters beat her to the studio, making the original recording on 1 December 1956 (Chess 1652). Muddy's version had the benefit of better distribution and so became the bigger hit. Others identify far older numbers as the original, including for example, Coot Grant and Kid Wilson's 1932 "Keep Your Hands Off My Mojo" and Leadbelly's "Keep your Hands Off Her" (along with numerous other candidates, too many to list). None of these, however, match in tune or lyrics the song that Elvis sang, even if the sentiment might be similar. Both this number and "Keep Your Hands Off Of It" seem to come from the same root, the one developing more in the Country area (Hands), the other (Mojo) in the R&B area.
Green, Green Grass Of Home recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 11 March 1975;Studio
Written by: Putman
Originally recorded by Johnny Darrell in 1965
Hear Elvis's version on: Today; Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 2
Curly Putman's own version also dates from 1965, but Johnny Darrell's recording was first. Johnny Darrell was born on 23 July, 1940, in Hopewell, Alabama, but grew up in Marietta, Georgia. After a stint in the Army, he moved to Nashville to manage a Holiday Inn hotel near Music Row. It was in this way that he made a few music-business contacts. In particular, he got to know United Artists producer Kelso Herston Darrell signed with UA, and issued his first single, "Green, Green Grass of Home," on United Artists UA 869 in 1965. The song had initially been offered to Bobby Bare, but he had other things on his plate, so Darrell was allowed to record it instead. That same year also saw versions by Porter Wagoner, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Ferlin Husky. Welshman Tom Jones's UK number one version was recorded in 1966. Darrell went on to record the original versions of "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town" and "The Son of Hickory Holler's Tramp", but both would be bigger successes for other artists. Johnny Darrell died on 7 October 7, 1997.
Guadalajara recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 23 January 1963;Studio
Written by: Guízar
Originally recorded by Pepe Guízar in 1938
Hear Elvis's version on: Double Features: It Happened At The World's Fair & Fun In Acapulco
José Guízar Morfín, better known as Pepe Guízar, was born on 12 February, 1912, in Guadalajara, Mexico. He moved to Mexico City in 1928 and studied music at the National Conservatory. One of his professors, Erasmo Castellanos Quinto, instilled in him a love of poetry. Combining music and poetry, Guízar became known as "El pintor musical de México" (the musical artist of Mexico), with his numerous compositions that painted with music the geography of that country. He took folk-inspired music out of the bars and had it compete with the boleros and tangos. Pepe Guízar wrote "Guadalajara" in 1938 and then went on to perform it in the film "Caminos de Ayer" (also called "La Mano de Dios"). His recording was released in Mexico on the Peerless label, number 1905. Other notable compositions by Pepe Guízar include "Corrido del Norte," Tehuantepec" and "Como México No Hay Dos." Pepe Guízar died on 27 September 1980.
Guitar Man recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 10 September 1967;Studio
Written by: Hubbard
Originally recorded by Jerry Reed in 1966
Hear Elvis's version on: Elvis in Nashville; From Nashville to Memphis (3); NBC-TV Special
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 he left the company in 1958. By 1961, Jerry had completed his miltary 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. He recorded the original version of "Guitar Man" on 10 October, 1966 and it appeared on his 1967 LP, "The Unbelievable Guitar and Voice of Jerry Reed" (LSP-3756). His first top 20 hit also 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. Jerry played guitar on Elvis's recording of "Guitar Man." See also "A Thing Called Love," "U.S. Male" and "Talk About The Good Times."
Hands Off recorded by Elvis on Autumn 1960;Informal
Written by: Bowman; McShann
Originally recorded by Jay McShann's Orchestra in 1955
Hear Elvis's version on: The Home Recordings
This was McShann's biggest hit, featuring Priscilla Bowman on vocals. It was released as a single on Vee-Jay VJ 155 with the grammatically incorrect title of "Hand's Off.". According to the sleeve-notes of "The Home Recordings," Elvis's recording of this number was recorded in Perugia Way, Bel Air; the book, "A Life In Music," however, gives Monovale Drive, Hollywood, as the recording location. The number itself isn't original, being a rewrite of a country song called "Keep Your Hands Off Of It (Birthday Cake)."
Happy Birthday recorded by Elvis on Thursday, 21 August 1969;Concert
Written by: Hill; Hill; Coleman
Originally recorded by Leningrad Philharmonic and Academic Choir (but see note) in 1927
Hear Elvis's version on: Collectors Gold
Yes, "Happy Birthday To You." But that's not how the song started out! The sisters Mildred and Patty Hill wrote the original song for children and published it in 1893 as "Good Morning To All." Robert Coleman published the song again in 1924 without the sisters' permission, adding a second verse—"Happy Birthday To You." This verse became so popular that everyone forgot about the first! Enter sister number three, Jessica Hill: she, together with Patty (Mildred died in 1916), sued for and won ownership of the song. The family now legally owns the song and is entitled to a royalty payment each time it is played for commercial purposes! The version on "Collectors Gold" was sung in concert in Las Vegas for James Burton. Some unofficial releases also provide renditions of the song by Elvis in concert: at Fort Worth for sound engineer Bruce "Goose" Jackson, 3 June 1976 ("Cajun Tornado")and on Tuesday, May 3, 1977, he sang it at a concert in Saginew for Linda Thompson ("Springtime in Saginew"). So what's all this got to do with the Leningrad Philharmonic, I hear you ask? Well, composer Shostakovich included the tune in the trumpet solo of his Symphony Number 2, written to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution! This was a performance, rather than a recording, but it looks good, doesn't it? As for the first recording, this was probably made by Shirley Temple in her 1934 film, "Baby Take a Bow" (her first film, incidentally).
Happy, Happy Birthday Baby recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 28 May 1958;Informal
Written by: Lopez; Sylvia
Originally recorded by Tune Weavers in 1957
Hear Elvis's version on: Forever Young, Forever Beautiful (unofficial release)
Gilbert Lopez and his sister, Margo Sylvia, wrote "Happy, Happy Birthday Baby" in 1952. Together with their cousin, Charlotte Davis, and Margo's husband, John, they formed the Tune Weavers and recorded the number in 1957, reaching number 5 on Billboard's Top 100 and number 4 on the R&B chart. The recording of Elvis singing the song was made by his friend, Eddie Fadal, when Elvis was visiting his home in Waco Texas, during his national service.
Harbor Lights recorded by Elvis on Monday, 5 July 1954;Studio
Written by: Grosz; Kennedy
Originally recorded by Roy Fox and his Orchestra, vocal by Barry Gray in 1937
Hear Elvis's version on: The Sun Sessions CD; The Complete 50's Masters 1
Harbor Lights is not an American, but a British original, so the correct spelling of the original is Harbour Lights. The original recording was by Roy Fox and His Orchestra with vocal refrain by Barry Gray, made on 29 January, 1937. The recording was released in the UK later that year as a 10-inch 78rpm disk on His Master's Voice B.D.5172. To add to the British-American confusion, Roy Fox was a born and bred American, but he moved to Britain in the early 1930s, leading his band until the early 1950s. Roy Fox died in London in 1982, aged 80. Lyricist Jimmy Kennedy was born in Omagh, Northern Ireland. Because of the sort of lyrics he wrote, many thought that he was American. He was, indeed, one of the most successful British songwriters ever, with more hits in the USA than anyone until Lennon and McCartney. Among his other compositions are "Red Sails In The Sunset" and "Teddy Bear's Picnic." The first American spelling version was also made in 1937 by Claude Thornhill, recorded on 14 June and released on Vocalion 3595. The tune was used as the theme music for the 1940 film, "The Long Voyage Home," starring John Wayne. Some entries list Williams and Kennedy as the writers—there is no difference, as Hugh Williams was merely a pseudonymn employed by Austrian-born composer Wilhelm Grosz (who, incidentally, wrote "Tomorrow Night"). Kennedy also wrote "South Of The Border."
Hava Nagila recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 15 July 1970;Concert
Written by: Idelsohn (?)
Originally recorded by Abraham Zvi Idelsohn in 1922
Hear Elvis's version on: Electrifying (Bilko 5100 unofficial CD)
Based on a traditional tune, perhaps originating in the Ukraine. The tune itself is in the public domain, so anyone can publish, arrange and play about with it, though an exact reproduction of the originally published lead sheet (1932) would be an infringement of so-called mechanical rights. But wait, a lead sheet dated 1932, but the original recording in 1915—how can this be? Well, the history of "Hava Nagila" is a mystery—note the question-mark next to the writer's name! It seems that one of two people, or perhaps both of them, were responsible for the song we today know as "Hava Nagila." It was first recorded in 1922: this recording was made by Abraham Zevi Idelsohn, known as the father of Jewish Musicology, who recorded the number as played and sung"by a group by the name of Sadigura Hasidim. The recording was made for the Polyphon Record company, based in Berlin. Idelsohn claimed to have composed the number himself. However, after Idelsohn's death, Moshe Nathanson, one of Idelsohn's students claimed authorship. Follow the "Biography of Abraham Zvi Idelsohn" to read a lot more about Idelsohn and "Hava Nagila" and also to hear the original recording.
Have I Told You Lately That I Love You recorded by Elvis on Saturday, 19 January 1957;Studio
Written by: Wiseman
Originally recorded by Gene Autry in 1945
Hear Elvis's version on: The Complete 50's Masters 3
Scotty Wiseman was a patient in Wesley Memorial Hospital, Chicago, for some weeks in 1944. As his wife, Lulu, was leaving him after a visit, she whispered the words, "Have I told you lately that I love you?" to him. He wrote the song with that title during the coming night and sang it to his wife the next day. A friend took the number to Gene Autry, who made the first recording of it in October or November 1945 on Columbia 37079. At least, that's the story that is usually heard. However, the song featured in the 1944 film, "Sing, Neighbor, Sing," sung by Lulu Belle and Scotty (the same Lulu and Scotty of the hospital tale), though, of course, it might not have been recorded for record release then. (The number would feature just two years later in another film, "Over The Trail," sung by Red Foley. Lulu Belle and Scotty's own version was released on a Vogue Picture Record (R719) in 1946(?). Lulu Belle and Scotty were known as The Sweethearts Of Country Music.
Did Lulu Belle and Scotty record their number before Gene Autry?contact me.
Hawaiian Wedding Song recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 22 March 1961;Studio
Written by: King; Hoffman; Manning
Originally recorded by Helen Desha Beamer and Sam Kapu in 1928
Hear Elvis's version on: Blue Hawaii
The original title of this number, written in 1926 by Charles King, was "Ke Kali Nei Au" meaning "Waiting Here For Thee." The number formed part of King's operetta "Prince of Hawaii" and was written as a duet for baritone and soprano. It was first recorded by Columbia in 1928 with Helen Desha Beamer and Sam Kapu, accompanied by Don Barriento's Hawaiian Orchestra. Bing Crosby recorded an English language version in 1951, but new English lyrics were provided by Al Hoffman and Dick Manning in 1958, providing Andy Williams with a hit at the time when Hawaii became the fiftieth State of the USA. These are the lyrics used in Elvis's version of the number. It should be noted that these lyrics are not a translation of the original words.
Al Hibbler's original reached number 4 in the US charts in 1955 (The McGuire Sister's cover of the same period got to number 10). Hibbler was born in Mississippi in 1915. He sang with the Duke Ellington Band through the 1940s, leaving in 1951 to pursue a solo career. He often sang in an idiosyncratic manner (as was the case with this number) and sometimes used a "Cockney" accent. Hibbler died in 2001.
"He" was probably released by the Blackwood Brothers in the mid-1950s, but might have been recorded some years earlier. Can you provide the recording date and other relevant information?contact me.
He Is My Everything recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 9 June 1971;Studio
Written by: Frazier
Originally recorded by Charlie Walker in 1968
Hear Elvis's version on: He Touched Me; Amazing Grace (CD2)
Jack Greene had a big hit in 1966 with his original version of Frazier's "There Goes My Everything" (see below)—notice anything about the title? Pretty similar, isn't it? That's because composer Dallas Frazier simply rewrote the lyrics to his earlier secular success to come up with this modern gospel number, the original version of which Charlie Walker included on his 1968 album on Epic BN 26424, also called "He Is My Everything."
He Knows Just What I Need recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 30 October 1960;Studio
Written by: Lister
Originally recorded by Statesmen Quartet in 1955
Hear Elvis's version on: His Hand In Mine; Amazing Grace (CD 1)
It is extremely difficult to discover just who originally recorded this Mosie Lister song. Mosie probably wrote the song for The Statesmen in 1955, and they released the number as "Jesus Knows What I Need" on a 78 (number 1041) on their own Statesmen label, backed with "I Believe In The Man In The Sky," but I have been unable to confirm the recording date. Still, it is likely that this was before that of the Blackwood Brothers, who made their own version, now titled "He Knows Just What I Need," in December 1955 and released it on their 1956 RCA Victor album, "Hymn Sing." Composer Mosie Lister was a founder member of the Statesmen Quartet in 1948, for whom he also wrote and did arrangements. He soon became so popular and prolific as a songwriter that he gave up singing, however, to concentrate on churning out countless superb songs in the gospel tradition. Both the Statesmen Quartet and the Blackwood Brothers were great favourites of Elvis.
He Touched Me recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 18 May 1971;Studio
Written by: Gaither
Originally recorded by Doug Oldham in 1963
Hear Elvis's version on: He Touched Me; Amazing Grace (CD2)
Doug Oldham was born in Indiana, in late 1930. One of the most successful songwriters of Christian music, Bill Gaither was an original member of the renowned gospel music act the Gaither Trio. In the early 1960s, Gaither met Doug Oldham, who had recently begun singing at tent revival meetings. Oldham and Gaither began travelling together, with Oldham singing songs written by Gaither and his wife, Gloria. The story goes that after having attended a revival meeting at which Oldham's father was speaking, the father suggested to Gaither that he should write a hymn with the words, "He touched me, oh, he touched me." Gaither did so and Doug Oldham sang "He Touched Me" the week after Gaither had written it and shortly after became the first person to record the number. Oldham was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2006. He died in 2010.
He'll Have To Go recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 31 October 1976;Studio
Written by: Allison; Allison
Originally recorded by Billy Brown in 1959
Hear Elvis's version on: Moody Blue; Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 4
A number perhaps most associated with "Gentleman" Jim Reeves, who scored a C&W number one with it in 1959, but rockabilly artist Billy Brown recorded it first on Columbia 41380. Joe and Audrey Alison wrote the song as a result of their own difficulties on the telephone: Audrey spoke so softly that Joe would ask her to hold the phone closer to her mouth. Billy Brown's original failed to sell, so Reeves covered it for release as the B-side of "In a Mansion Stands My Love." DJs flipped the record, however, and it went on to become a huge hit in both the country and pop charts. "He'll Have To Go" was the last song that Elvis recorded in an organized session (held in the Jungle Room, Graceland).
Hearts Of Stone recorded by Elvis on Saturday, 15 January 1955;Concert
Written by: Ray; Jackson
Originally recorded by The Jewels in 1954
Hear Elvis's version on: Sunrise
A fairly recent Elvis "find," having first appeared officially on the 1999 "Sunrise" double-CD set—a very early and very scratchy live recording, possibly made in Lubbock, Texas, at a concert attended by Buddy Holly, though more likely to have been made when Elvis performed on the Louisiana Hayride. Johnny Torrence, Dee Hawkins, James Brown and Rudy Jackson released a record as The Marbles, then added a new member to the group's lineup and renamed it The Jewels. Their first release was "Hearts Of Stone," which had been written by Rudy Jackson and Eddie Ray (although the original label makes no mention of Jackson and instead lists Torrence alongside Ray). A cover version by Otis Williams and The Charms received better promotion and became the bigger hit. The Jewels had several more releases, but broke up in 1956.
Help Me recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 12 December 1973;Studio
Written by: Gatlin
Originally recorded by Kris Kristofferson in 1972
Hear Elvis's version on: Promised Land; Amazing Grace (CD2)
It is possible that Larry Gatlin recorded his own version of his composition in 1972, but I have been unable to verify this. Johnny Cash featured the song in a film that year, but did not record it until considerably later. Former Golden Gloves boxer Kris Kristofferson turned down an offer to teach at the USA military academy at West Point and instead moved to Nashville to become a country musician. A big fan of Willie Nelson, he became one of the on-and-off group "The Highwaymen," along with Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Nelson himself. Kris Kristofferson's version featured on his LP "Jesus Was A Capricorn" and is sung as a duet with Gatlin.
Help Me Make It Through The Night recorded by Elvis on Monday, 17 May 1971;Studio
Written by: Kristofferson
Originally recorded by Kris Kristofferson in 1969
Hear Elvis's version on: Elvis Now
Kris Kristofferson was born in 1936 and started writing songs in the late 1940s. After a spell with the US military he moved to Nashville in 1965 and signed a recording contract with Monument in 1969. On 29 October of that year he recorded the original version of his own composition, "Help Me Make It Through The Night," which was released the following year on his debut album "Kristofferson." Sammi Smith's 1970 recording of the number reached number one in the C&W charts. Smith won a Grammy for best country vocal performance by a female singer in 1971 for "Help Me Make It Through The Night." The song also won Kris Kristofferson a grammy for best country song. Sammi Smith died on 12 February 2005, aged just 61. See also "Why Me Lord."
Here Comes Santa Claus recorded by Elvis on Friday, 6 September 1957;Studio
Written by: Autry; Haldeman
Originally recorded by Gene Autry in 1947
Hear Elvis's version on: Elvis' Christmas Album; If Every Day Was Like Christmas
Born Orvon Grover Autry on 29 September, 1907, in Grayson County, Texas, Gene Autry was the quintessential singing cowboy on the radio, in films, and on television from the early 1930s to the 1950s. By the time he retired from show business in 1964, he had made almost 100 films and over 600 records. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1969 and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame the following year. Gene Autry died on 2 October, 1998, at the age of 91. When Gene Autry took part in the 1946 Santa Claus Lane parade in Los Angeles in November 1946, he heard children shouting "Here Comes Santa Claus" all along the route. This inspired him to write the lyrics of "Here Comes Santa Claus (Down Santa Claus Lane)" with Oakley Haldeman providing the music. Autrey's own original version recording, made on 28 August, 1947, was released on Columbia 20377 and became both a country and a pop hit.
Here We Go Again recorded by Elvis on Thursday, 30 March 1972;One-liner
Written by: Red Steagall; Donnie Henson Lanier
Originally recorded by Ray Charles in 1966
Hear Elvis's version on: Hillcrest Blues: Standing Room Only Tapes Vol.3
Included only because the title is mentioned in the playlist of the unofficial CD of which it forms part. Elvis sings no more than the title of "Here We Go Again" at the breakdown of a take of "Burning Love." Although originally recorded by Ray Charles in 1966, the version manufactured much later as a duet with Norah Jones and included on his last album (Charles died in June 2004) was the one to be awarded a Grammy in 2005 as record of the year. Charles also recorded the original version of "I Got A Woman." Red Steagall was named "Official Cowboy Poet of Texas" in 1991.
Hey Bo Diddley recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 28 December 1976;Concert
Written by: McDaniel
Originally recorded by Bo Diddley in 1957
Hear Elvis's version on: A Hot Winter Night In Dallas (unofficial)
Bo Diddley was born Ellas Bates in December 1928 near McComb, Mississippi. At eight months of age he was adopted by a cousin of his mother, called Gussie McDaniel and was taken to Chicago, where he grew up. He took her name and the McDaniel of the writer's credit is Bo Diddley himself. (Why Bo Diddley? He doesn't know himself, but it was a nickname given to him at school.) He studied classical violin for eight years (or twelve, depending on the source), but taught himself how to play guitar and soon developed a Latin-tinged, highly rhythmic style. He released his first single in 1955 on the Checker label, coupling "Bo Diddley" with "I'm A Man" and went on to have great success until the early 1960s. His original recording, shown on the label as "Hey! Bo-Diddley," was released on Checker 860, with no less than "Mona" on the B-side: what a coupling! Despite his lack of chart success after the early 1960s, he was never really forgotten, and his influence on others is enormous: Buddy Holly, The Rolling Stones, ZZ Top, The Doors, have all clearly demonstrated a debt to Bo Diddley. Elvis's "recording" of "Hey Bo Diddley" is really a showcase for his concert drummer, Ronnie Tutt, with Elvis just scatting along now and then. Indeed, there is as much of Diddley's song "Bo Diddley" in the number as "Hey Bo Diddley," but let's just go with the title used in this case. Bo Diddley died in June 2008.
Hey Jude recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 22 January 1969;Studio
Written by: Lennon; McCartney
Originally recorded by The Beatles in 1968
Hear Elvis's version on: Elvis Now; From Nashville to Memphis (4)
For contractual reasons, John Lennon's name appears in the writer credits, but the number was the sole work of Paul McCartney. He wrote it in the car whilst on his way to visit Lennon; the original title was "Hey Jules"—the Jules in question being Lennon's son, Julian.
Hide Thou Me recorded by Elvis on ?, 1966;Informal
Written by: Harris; Tolbert
Originally recorded by The Chuck Wagon Gang in 1941
Hear Elvis's version on: Today, Tomorrow & Forever
Big problem. This track is listed in official RCA/BMG releases (In A Private Moment; Today, Tomorrow & Forever…) with writing credits to Lowry and Crosby, or Baxter, Lowry, Crosby, or some other similar combination. Even Jorgensen fell into the same trap in his otherwise excellent book, "A Life In Music." The problem arises because the full title of this gospel song is "O Rock Of Ages Hide Thou Me" and it's the "Rock Of Ages" part that causes the confusion. "Rock Of Ages" is one of the most popular non-conformist hymns and was indeed written by Crosby et al., but it has nothing to do with the song song by Elvis. Instead the lyrics were written by either B.N. Hulteman (or was it R.N. Hultsman?), whose version is in the public domain, or by Thoro Harris and L.R. Tolbert, who copyrighted the number in 1926 (renewed in 1954). The 1941 version by the Chuck Wagon Gang set to a more up tempo tune than that used by Elvis, and their version is credited to Hulteman. The same words are published for the Harris and Tolbert version and it is their tune that Elvis follows. All very confusing! The Chuck Wagon Gang recorded their original version as "O Rock Of Ages Hide Thou Me" on 9 March, 1941, and the recording was released on Columbia 20521 and Columbia 54030. Elvis's version was recorded at home in Rocca Place, California, and was never intended for commercial release.
High Heel Sneakers recorded by Elvis on Monday, 11 September 1967;Studio
Written by: Higginbotham
Originally recorded by Tommy Tucker in 1963
Hear Elvis's version on: Reconsider Baby; From Nashville to Memphis (3)
Or even "Hi-heel Sneakers", which was how the title of the original was written. Presumably assuming that his given name was not a commercial asset, Robert Higginbotham took Tommy Tucker as his performing nomer. Tucker/Higginbotham was born in Springfield, Ohio, on 5 March, 1933. By the late 1940s he had joined his uncle's band, the Bobby Wood Orchestra, as a pianist. Tucker formed or was a member of several other groups throughout the 1950s and by the early 1960s found himself in Atlantic's A1 Sound Studios. There Tucker recorded his original version of his self-penned "Hi-heel Sneakers" in 1963 as a demo for the Atlantic label. Atlantic, however, wasn't interested in the number and instead in September 1963 leased it to Chess, who promptly issued that same demo version in February 1964 on Checker 1067. The recording became a big hit on both sides of the Atlantic and the number went on to be covered by hundreds of other artists. Alter ego Robert Higginbotham continued as a jazz musician, who played organ, piano, drums, bass and clarinet in a variety of bands. Tucker/Higginbotham died of poisoning on 22 January, 1982 (some sources indicate food poisoning, others carbon tetrachloride poisoning).
High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darlin') recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 10 September 1967;One-liner
Written by: Tiomkin; Washington
Originally recorded by Tex Ritter in 1952
Hear Elvis's version on: Platinum, A Life In Music
Just a one-liner by Elvis during the recording of "Guitar Man." The song "Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darlin'" was the theme song for the 1952 film "High Noon." The film won seven Academy Awards, including one for Best Song for its theme. Tex Ritter sang the song at the first-ever televised Academy Awards show in 1953. The original recording was made on 14 May, 1952. This recording served for the single release on Capitol 2120 in the USA. For the UK single release on Capitol CL13778, Ritter rerecorded the number in August 1952. He would go on to make numerous other recordings of the same number for various releases. Tex Ritter's show-business career started after a university education. He appeared in several Broadway musicals in the late 1920s and early 1930s. He started recording in 1933 and appeared in his first film in 1936. He died in January 1974.
His Hand In Mine recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 30 October 1960;Studio
Written by: Lister
Originally recorded by The Statesmen in 1953
Hear Elvis's version on: His Hand In Mine; Amazing Grace (CD 1)
Mosie Lister, who wrote this number, did the arrangements for The Statesmen, but did not sing in the group. The Statesmen Quartet was formed by Hovie Lister in 1948 and was originally made up of Mosie Lister, Bobby Strickland, Bervin Kendricks and Gordon Hill. Jake Hess, a great favourite of Elvis and possibly an influence on his singing style, replaced Mosie Lister after a few months and sang lead on their original version of this number.
Hot Dog recorded by Elvis on Friday, 18 January 1957;Studio
Written by: Leiber; Stoller
Originally recorded by Young Jessie in 1956
Hear Elvis's version on: Loving You; The Complete 50's Masters Disc 3
Young Jessie recorded this number in 1956 for the Modern label, but it was not issued until 1982 as part of the 14-track "Hit, Git & Split" LP of Young Jessie material on Ace CH 58. A different number by the same name was recorded by Buck Owens under the pseudonym Corky Jones. Young Jessie was actually Obediah Donnell, originally a baritone singer with the Flairs (another member was Richard Berrie, who wrote "Louie Louie").
Hound Dog recorded by Elvis on Monday, 2 July 1956;Studio
Written by: Leiber; Stoller
Originally recorded by Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton in 1952
Hear Elvis's version on: Elvis' Golden Records; Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis ELV1S 30 #1 Hits
Rock'n'Roll in a nutshell: one of the truly great rock songs, written by one of the truly great rock writing teams, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and performed by the truly great performer, Elvis. But before him came Big Mama Thornton's version, which itself sold more than two million copies! Although released in 1953, the original recording was actually made in 1952. Its release was delayed, however, because of Johnny Otis's assertion that he should share in the authors' rights. Although Thornton had the original, Elvis did not base his version on hers. Rather, it would seem that he was heavily influenced by the performance of the number by Freddie Bell and The Bellboys, whom he saw during his first stint in Las Vegas. Indeed, Elvis used Bell's lyrics, rather than those originally penned by Jerry Leiber.
How Do You Think I Feel recorded by Elvis on Saturday, 1 September 1956;Studio
Written by: Walker; Pierce
Originally recorded by Red Sovine in 1954
Hear Elvis's version on: Elvis; The Complete 50's Masters 2
For a long time I had doubts as to whether Jimmie Rodgers Snow or Red Sovine was responsible for the original of "How Do You Think I Feel." Both artists had singles with the song in 1954, but it was indeed Red Sovine who recorded the original version on 12 January, 1954. This recording was released as a single in April 1954 on Decca 29068. Jimmie Rodgers Snow's version was recorded a few weeks later than Sovine's, on 22 February, 1954, and only released in November of that year on RCA Victor 47-59000.
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