This is the original site of information about original versions of numbers recorded by Elvis Presley, which I began in about 1995. Other sites have copied it, some have translated it, but this site is the one that is best maintained. This list only includes numbers that were recorded by someone before Elvis's own version: it does not include numbers that Elvis recorded first. If you have any information or comments, contact me.
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I've Got Confidence recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 18 May 1971;Studio
Written by: Crouch
Originally recorded by Sherman Andrus in 1968
Hear Elvis's version on: Amazing Grace (CD2)
"I've Got Confidence" is a modern gospel number. Sherman Andrus recorded the number originally in 1968 for use in his album of the same name (Impact 3019, released in 1969). The Imperials recorded the number in 1969. Elvis heard this version, liked the song and went on to record it himself. Sherman Andrus has been involved in gospel music since the mid-1960s, being an original member of Andrae Crouch and The Disciples from 1964 to 1970 (Crouch wrote "I've Got Confidence"). Sherman became the lead singer of The Imperials in 1971, remaining with them for five years. He then went on to co-found Andrus, Blackwood & Company, together with Terry Blackwood, singing with them for nine years. Sherman Andrus has been a successful solo performer since 1986. Since 1997, Sherman has toured regularly with "Elvis The Concert." He was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1998.
I've Lost You recorded by Elvis on Thursday, 4 June 1970;Studio
Written by: Howard; Blaikley
Originally recorded by Matthews' Southern Comfort in 1969
Hear Elvis's version on: That's The Way It Is; Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 1
Ian Matthews was a former member of Fairport Convention. Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley were prolific writers of hits for British groups of the sixties and seventies. Matthews' Southern Comfort are probably best remembered for their number "Woodstock."
I, John recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 9 June 1971;Studio
Written by: Johnson; McFadden and Brooks
Originally recorded by Arizona J. Dranes, Sara Martin and Richard M. Jones in 1926
Hear Elvis's version on: Amazing Grace
Here's a song that doesn't let its origins be easily found! This version was written in 1961 and the earliest recording that I can find was released in 1962 on an LP called "A Festival Of Spiritual Songs" on the King label by the "Mighty Faith Increasers". The track was then called "I John Saw A Mighty Number." Not all sources agree on the authorship of the number, and in Jorgensen's "A Life In Music," the number is listed on p.205 as having been written by William Gaither. Similarly-titled songs ("John Saw a Mighty Number," "John Saw De Holy Number," etc.) were already included in the earliest collections of negro Spirituals, dating from the 1870s. Recordings made prior to 1961 exist with such titles and one of these, "John Said He Saw A Number," by Arizona Dranes, Sara Martin and Richard M. Jones, is clearly at least a major inspiration for "I, John," if not the "real" original. The recording was made on 17 June 1926 in Chicago and was released on the Okeh label, number 8352. The lyrics are based on the biblical text Revelation 21.
If Every Day Was Like Christmas recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 12 June 1966;Studio
Written by: West
Originally recorded by Bobby West in 1965
Hear Elvis's version on: If Every Day Was Like Christmas; From Nashville To Memphis (CD3)
Red West was a highschool friend of Elvis's who went on to become one of the most (in)famous members of the so-called Memphis Mafia, the group of friends and hangers-on who accompanied Elvis everywhere. The infamy came because of somewhat excessive bodyguarding activities and, in 1977, his participation in the book, "Elvis, What Happened?" But West was something of a songwriter, too, and he provided Elvis with several half-decent numbers, including this one. He wrote "If Every Day Was Like Christmas" in 1965 and recorded his own version on the Brent label, which was his own label, named after his son. Although the writing credits on the label show Red West's own name, the artist is shown as Bobby West. 2,000 copies were pressed and sold locally in the Memphis area around Christmas 1965.
If I Loved You recorded by Elvis on Autumn 1960;Informal
Written by: Hammerstein; Rodgers
Originally recorded by Bing Crosby in 1945
Hear Elvis's version on: In A Private Moment
Elvis made a home recording of this number in the autumn of 1960, when staying on the west coast of the USA. A second home recording, made in 1966, has been released on a CD called, appropriately, "The Home Recordings." The tape containing this latter version was made at Rocca Place, Hollywood, though was only discovered in Graceland in 1996. "If I Loved You" was written for the 1945 musical "Carousel". The song was performed in the musical by John Raitt, but his studio recording was only made at some time between 9 and 21 May, whereas Frank Sinatra's version was recorded on 1 May 1945. The very first recording of the number, however, seems to be that made by Bing Crosby on 18 April 1945 and released as the A-side of Decca 18686. Incidentally, Elvis officially recorded the number "You'll Never Walk Alone" from the same musical.
If I Were You recorded by Elvis on Monday, 8 June 1970;Studio
Written by: Nelson
Originally recorded by Gerald Nelson in 1962
Hear Elvis's version on: Love Letters From Elvis
Nelson wrote an unfortunate bunch of rubbish for Elvis, much of which was rejected and only one of which was not included in a film—this one. It's the only half-decent song amongst a bad lot and, unlike the others, it probably wasn't even written specifically for Elvis, anyway, as Nelson himself recorded it in 1962, some eight years before Elvis's own recording. The original was released in July 1962 (recording date unknown) on Atco 45-6233.
If I'm A Fool (For Loving You) recorded by Elvis on Friday, 21 February 1969;Studio
Written by: Kesler
Originally recorded by Bobby Wood or Jimmy Clanton in 1964
Hear Elvis's version on: From Nashville to Memphis (5)
Jimmy Clanton is perhaps best remembered, if at all, for his starring role in Alan Freed's 1959 film "Go, Johnny, Go." He was drafted in 1961 but fared less well than Elvis, having just one post-service hit, "Venus In Blue Jeans," in late 1962. The latter number was, of course, the inspiration for that great British eccentric and rocker Screaming Lord Sutch's own "Monster In Black Tights"! His recording of "If I'm A Fool For Loving You" (no brackets) was released in June 1964 on the Philips label (Philips 40208) as the B-side of "A Million Drums." Bobby Wood's recording of "If I'm A Fool For Loving You" (also without the brackets) was issued in April 1964 on Joy 285, but it is not known if his recording preceded that of Clanton's. Wood was a keyboard session musician; amongst the artists he backed were Elvis, for whom he worked on his 1969 "From Elvis In Memphis" album and other sessions. One of the numbers he played on for Elvis was "If I'm A Fool (For Loving You)."
Recording dates for Clanton's and Wood's versions, please!contact me.
If That Isn't Love recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 16 December 1973;Studio
Written by: Rambo
Originally recorded by The Rambos in 1969
Hear Elvis's version on: Amazing Grace (CD2)
Dottie Rambo, who wrote this number, formed The Rambos together with husband Buck and released her composition on Vista. It is said that Dottie Rambo has written more than 1,500 songs!
If The Lord Wasn't Walking By My Side recorded by Elvis on Friday, 27 May 1966;Studio
Written by: Slaughter
Originally recorded by Weatherford Quartet in 1960
Hear Elvis's version on: How Great Thou Art; Amazing Grace (CD1)
Soon after being married in 1945, Earl and Lily Weatherford started singing together in California. The group had already been set up by Earl as the typical male gospel quartet, but Lily added a female element that, at the time, was daringly modern, and the quartet-plus gained steadily more following across the South. Various personnel changes occurred during the subsequent years; one of the members was piano-player Henry Slaughter (later to play with the Imperials), who wrote this number. The Weatherford Quartet (also known at various stages of their career as The Weatherfords and the Weatherford Trio) recorded the original of "If The Lord Wasn't Walking By My Side" in 1960, as part of their LP "Gospel Favorites," on the Rite Record Productions label. The story goes that Elvis was so pleased with his own recording, on which he duets with Jake Hess, that he had the Meditation Garden in Graceland built.
If We Never Meet Again recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 30 October 1960;Studio
Written by: Albert Brumley
Originally recorded by Blackwood Brothers Quartet in 1945/1946
Hear Elvis's version on: His Hand In Mine; Amazing Grace (CD 1)
Albert Brumley was born in the Choctaw Nation (now part of Oklahoma) in October, 1905. He is probably the best-known 20th century gospel music writer in America. He wrote his most successful gospel song in 1929—"I'll Fly Away"—and it was first published in 1932. "Turn Your Radio On" was another of an estimated 600 to 800 compositions. Another Brumley song recorded (though unofficially during the "Million Dollar Quartet" session) by Elvis is "Blessed Jesus Hold My Hand" (see above). Brumley died in November 1977. The Blackwood Brothers made the first recording in late 1945 or early 1946, so more than likely preceding the Brown's Ferry Four's 1946 recording. The Blackwoods' recording was released on the "Blackwood Brothers Recordings" label as recording number 10. Later, they rerecorded the number for release on the White Church label and that same recording was used on the Christian Education label. At the same time, the rerecorded version was released on a colour-variant of the Blackwood Brothers Recordings label. (Brown's Ferry Four's version of "If We Never Meet Again" was recorded in 1946 and released on King 577 in 1947.)
If You Don't Come Back recorded by Elvis on Saturday, 21 July 1973;Studio
Written by: Leiber; Stoller
Originally recorded by The Drifters in 1963
Hear Elvis's version on: Raised On Rock
The Drifters were originally formed in 1953, with no less than Clyde McPhatter as the lead singer of the quartet. Their debut single, "Money Honey" (also recorded by Elvis) became a number one in the USA, with the label reading "Clyde McPhatter and The Drifters." Other successes followed, despite McPhatter's having to leave the group to do national service (and after that he decided on a solo career). Problems between the group and its manager, who owned the name, led to the group being fired in 1958 and the members of another group, The Five Crowns, being given the name. This new Drifters group gained perhaps even more success than the original. At one time, Ben E. King was the lead singer, but it is Johnny Moore who takes the lead on "If You Don't Come Back." (Note that this is not the same Johnny Moore who sang with the Three Blazers.)
If You Love Me (Let Me Know) recorded by Elvis on Friday, 6 June 1975;Studio
Written by: Rostill
Originally recorded by Olivia Newton John in 1974
Hear Elvis's version on: Elvis In Concert; Moody Blue
John Rostill was a former member of the famous British guitar group, The Shadows. He died in 1973, aged just 31. See also Let Me Be There. Olivia Newton John is a right mixture: she was born in England of a Welsh father and a German mother; she was taken to Australia when she was 5 years old. After winning an Australian talent contest, she moved back to England in 1965 to try for a career in entertainment. After a not too auspicious start, she finally made the big time.
In My Father's House recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 30 October 1960;Studio
Written by: Aileene Hanks
Originally recorded by Wally Fowler And The Oak Ridge Boys in 1954
Hear Elvis's version on: His Hand In Mine; Amazing Grace CD 1
Aileene Hanks was born on 8 September 1933 in Missouri and died on 24 November 1997 in Alabama. Sadly, little information about her seems to be available, yet according to her obituary in the Bangor Daily News of 28 November, 1997, she recorded 18 gospel albums and appeared on the Grand Ole Opry. Wally Fowler And The Oak Ridge Boys recorded their version of "In My Father's House (Are Many Mansions)" in January 1954 and it was released that same year on Dot 1200. In 1977 Fowler teamed up with some of Elvis's recording companions, including J.D. Sumner and The Stamps, and D.J. Fontana, to record his self-penned number "A New Star In Heaven," which was released on Dove-1000, the label of which proclaimed "Wally Fowler sings a tribute to Elvis."
In The Garden recorded by Elvis on Friday, 27 May 1966;Studio
Written by: Miles
Originally recorded by Rodeheaver and Asher in 1916
Hear Elvis's version on: How Great Thou Art; Amazing Grace (CD 1)
C. Austin Miles wrote this number, whose complete title is "(He Walks With Me) In The Garden," in 1912 after music publisher Adam Geibel asked him to write a hymn text that would be "sympathetic in tone, breathing tenderness in every line; one that would bring hope to the hopeless, rest for the weary, and downy pillows to dying beds." Well, it's a nice song and Elvis sings it wonderfully! Homer Rodheaver was a pioneer in gospel music recording, making his first records for Victor in 1913, but he also made records for several other companies. He continued to record until the 1940s. He recorded "In The Garden" 9 times, the earliest version probably being in duet with Virginia Asher, made in February 1916 and released the following July on Victor 18020. (A recording by Ada Jones and George Ballard of a number called "In The Garden" and made in 1914, concerns a different song.)
It Ain't No Big Thing (But It's Growing) recorded by Elvis on Saturday, 6 June 1970;Studio
Written by: Merritt; Joy; Hall
Originally recorded by Charlie Louvin in 1967
Hear Elvis's version on: Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters (CD 3)
In 1955 Elvis was the opening act for a show starring Charlie Louvin as part of the Louvin Brothers. Elvis's recording came about after he picked up a guitar during a session and started playing the intro to the number. Charlie Louvin's version was recorded on 5 December 1967 and released a year later on his second album "Hey Daddy" on Capitol ST-142. The track was listed as "It's Not A Big Thing." The copyright to this song dates from 1965, however, so perhaps an earlier version exists.
It Hurts Me recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 12 January 1964;Studio
Written by: Daniels
Originally recorded by Jerry Jackson in 1963
Hear Elvis's version on: From Nashville To Memphis (Essential 60's Masters) CD 3
Sadly, little is known about the singer of the original of this wonderful ballad. The most detail that the sleevenotes of a CD collection of his work say is, "Jerry Jackson was an R&B-pop singer in New York in the early 1960s and his New York ska version of Shrimp Boats has become a cult club favorite in Europe," and that's just about as much as anyone seems to know! He recorded for two labels, Kapp and Columbia, between 1961 and 1964, but enjoyed little success. His original version of "It Hurts Me" was recorded for Kapp on 2 July 1963, but, although it was given a master number (K543), it was not released at the time and, indeed, had to wait until 1990 to finally appear on a Bear Family compilation. Charlie Daniels, who wrote this song together with Joy Byers, is the same Charlie Daniels who had a big hit with "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" at the end of the next decade.
It Is No Secret (What God Can Do) recorded by Elvis on Saturday, 19 January 1957;Studio
Written by: Hamblen
Originally recorded by Stuart Hamblen in 1950
Hear Elvis's version on: Elvis' Christmas Album; The Complete 50's Masters 3; Amazing Grace (CD 1)
Elvis's version was originally released as part of the "Peace In The Valley" EP in 1957. Stuart Hamblen was a western film star and the leader of a C&W band before his conversion to Christianity. He then went on to write and record several gospel numbers, of which this is undoubtedly the most well known (another of his numbers recorded by Elvis is "Known Only To Him"). He also had his own radio programme, "Cowboy Church Of The Air" from 1938 until 1952. The story goes that Stuart Hamblen got the idea for the song from John Wayne, who said the title to him as Hamblen, a sometime film actor, was leaving his home in a depressive mood. Hamblen's own original recording was released on Columbia ZSP 5543, with the title "It's No Secret."
It Keeps Right On A Hurtin' recorded by Elvis on Thursday, 20 February 1969;Studio
Written by: Johnny Tillotson
Originally recorded by Johnny Tillotson in 1962
Hear Elvis's version on: From Elvis in Memphis; From Nashville to Memphis (5)
Elvis co-star Shelley Fabares (California Holiday, Clambake, Girl Happy) recorded this number in 1962. Perhaps she mentioned it to him on the film set... Tillotson's original reached number 3 in Billboard's Hot 100 chart and number 4 in the Country chart. Tillotson recorded the number whilst doing his army service (in fact, he recorded a full album!) and some advertisements for the record showed him in army uniform, naming him Private Johnny Tillotson!
It Wouldn't Be The Same (Without You) recorded by Elvis on Monday, 4 January 1954;Studio
Written by: Wakely; Rose
Originally recorded by Al Rogers With The Rocky Mountain Boys in 1950 (?)
Hear Elvis's version on: Sunrise
Elvis visited the Memphis Recording Service to make his second personal recording in January 1954, coupling "I'll Never Stand In Your Way" with "It Wouldn't Be The Same Without You." Al Rogers only had a few records released, two for Capitol, three for MGM, including the original of "It Wouldn't Be The Same (Without You)," recorded on 1 April 1950, on MGM 10709 as the B-side of "Shuffle Boogie Bellhop," and two for X, where recording credits went to the slightly differently named Al Rogers And His Rocky Mountain Boys.
It's A Sin recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 12 March 1961;Studio
Written by: Rose; Turner
Originally recorded by Eddy Arnold in 1946
Hear Elvis's version on: Something For Everybody; From Nashville to Memphis (1)
Eddy Arnold's original version of "It's A Sin" was recorded on 24 september 1946 and released on RCA Victor 20-2241, with the label showing the artist as "Eddy Arnold, The Tennessee Plowboy and his Guitar." In 1947 it stayed at the number 1 position of the US Contry charts for five weeks. Tom Parker managed Eddy Arnold for several years before dropping him (or was it a case of Arnold dropping Parker...?) when he saw great big dollar signs in the shape of Elvis Presley. Eddy Arnold died in May 2008.
It's A Sin To Tell A Lie recorded by Elvis on ?, 1966;Informal
Written by: Mayhew
Originally recorded by Freddy Ellis and His Orchestra in 1936
Hear Elvis's version on: In A Private Moment
Billy Mayhew copyrighted his number, "It's A Sin To Tell A Lie," in 1933, so it is possible that an earlier recording than that of Freddy Ellis's exists. Ellis's recording was made on 18 February 1936 and was released on Conqueror 8707, Perfect 6-04-11, and Melotone 6-04-11. Seymour Richards provided the vocal refrain. The number has been recorded by just about everyone, from Billie Holliday to Vera Lynn—quite a contrast! Elvis's home recording, however, is based more on that of the wonderful Ink Spots, a group he was very fond of—and rightly so!—and he even provides a Bill Kenny-like recitation.
It's Been So Long Darling recorded by Elvis on After April 1959;Informal
Written by: Tubb
Originally recorded by Ernest Tubb in 1945
Hear Elvis's version on: Platinum, A Life In Music; In A Private Moment
This was a number one on the Country Chart for Tubb and one of his biggest hits during his long career. On the set "Platinum: A Life In Music" the number is included as part of a track called "The Bad Nauheim Medley," (Elvis's house was in Bad Nauheim), which further includes "I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen," "I Will Be True," "Apron Strings" and "There's No Tomorrow."
It's Different Now recorded by Elvis on Saturday, 21 July 1973;Studio
Written by: Westlake
Originally recorded by Cilla Black in 1970
Hear Elvis's version on: Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 4
Clive Westlake composed many, many pop hits during the 1960s and 1970s, for artists such as The Hollies, Dusty Springfield, Billy J. Kramer and The Dakotas, and Tom Jones. He was born in Wales, but moved to Nashville in 1980, where he died in 2000. Other Westlake songs recorded by Elvis are "How The Web Was Woven," "Twenty Days And Twenty Nights" and "It's A Matter Of Time." Cilla Black was born Priscilla White in Liverpool in 1943. She worked as a cloakroom attendant (and for American readers, that's not the same as a toilet lady) in The Cavern, where she became friendly with the still-to-become-famous Beatles and other Liverpool acts. She would occasionally perform at The Cavern and in 1963 became manager Brian Epstein's only female act. She went on to enjoy great recording successes and then to become a top television personality. Her version of "It's Different Now," probably written for her by Clive Westlake, appeared on her album "Images," released in early 1971. For some reason, Elvis's version drops the first verse and is often listed as "It's Diff'rent Now."
It's Impossible recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 16 February 1972;Studio
Written by: Dieval; Rivgauche; Wayne
Originally recorded by Colette Deréal in 1964
Hear Elvis's version on: Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 5
Perry Como's 1971 hit version is the original with the same title, but the song has a far more complicated history, dating back as far as 1960. It was then that the singer Frédérica took part in the national elimination rounds to find the song to represent France in that year's Eurovision Song Contest. One of the numbers she sang was entitled "J'ai le mal de toi," with music by Jack Dieval and lyrics by Michel Rivgauche. The song did not make it to the ESC and seems not to have been recorded at the time, but in 1964 French singer Colette Deréal provided what seems to be the original recording as the B-side of Polydor 66404, which was then released as the A-side of Polydor 66405. In 1965 "J'ai le mal de toi" reappeared in Belgium as an entry in a BRT radio programme (Muziek Ohne Grenzen), sung by Lily Castel; again it would seem that no recording was made. The text was then translated into both English and Dutch and recorded by the delicious Kathy Kirby as "The Way of Love" and by Conny Vandenbos as "Je Doet Me Pijn" respectively. Kirby's recording was made in June 1965 and Vandenbos's in September of that same year. Other recordings and languages followed (including the Spanish version "Somos Novios" by Armando Manzareno) until Sid Wayne provided the famous "It's Impossible" lyrics in 1970, leading to Perry Como's comeback version that went on to be covered by many, many others.
It's My Way recorded by Elvis on Monday, 17 February 1969;One-liner
Written by: Walker
Originally recorded by Wayne Walker in 1956
Hear Elvis's version on: From Nashville to Memphis
Wayne Walker recorded his own composition on 26 July 1956. It was released on ABC-Paramount 45-9735. Elvis sings just a line or two of the song (almost unrecognizable as such) at the start of his February set of American Studios sessions.
It's Nice To Go Trav'ling recorded by Elvis on Saturday, 26 March 1960;One-liner
Written by: Cahn; Van Heusen
Originally recorded by Frank SInatra in 1957
Hear Elvis's version on: Live In The 50s vol.4
Well, the first problem is the title: there are many variations of it, including the one given on the sheet music, which is what I have used above as being presumably the "official" one, and then the English linguistic variations, found all over the place, including track listings, and including "It's Nice To Go Travelling" (UK spelling variation), "It's Nice To Go Traveling" (American English variation), versions wher the -ing is replaced by in', the extended "It's Very Nice To Go Travelling" (based on the first line and in all its variations, too), and so on. Not that it matters much, as Elvis only sang one line of the song near the start of The Frank Sinatra Timex Show , which was recorded on 26 March 1960. The show is now better known as "Frank Sinatra's Welcome Home Party For Elvis Presley," which is quite a mouthful, especially considering the amount of time that Elvis was actually seen, some eight minutes in all, and the ticket inspector's uniform he wore as he entered the stage to sing his one line of this number (I really can't believe that was a real army uniform!). Sinatra himself had made the original commercial recording of the number on 8 October, 1957 and it was included on his 1958 album, "Come Fly With Me," issued on Capitol W-920.
It's Now Or Never recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 3 April 1960;Studio
Written by: Capurro; di Capua; Mazzucchi; Schroeder; Gold
Originally recorded by Francesco Daddi in 1901
Hear Elvis's version on: From Nashville to Memphis (1); ELV1S 30 #1 Hits
What counts as an original? Elvis liked a 1949 Tony Martin number called "There's No Tomorrow" and recorded private versions of the song whilst on army service in Germany. But "There's No Tomorrow" was itself based on a much older Italian number called "O Sole Mio," which was written in 1898 by Di Capua when he was travelling in the Ukraine. In 1973, documents were presented to the Italian court, showing that Mazzucchi was co-author of the number. Just three years after its composition, the Italian tenor Francesco Daddi made a recording of "O Sole Mio" at the end of 1901 in Milan for Zonophone (matrix 532), which was released, probably in 1902, on the Gramophone label, number 52271. Daddi was born in 1864 and made his stage debut in Milan in 1891. He became the foremost tenor in Italy, but moved to the USA in 1907 to perform at the Manhattan Opera. Later he performed comic bass roles in Chicago until 1920. Daddi died in 1945. New lyrics were provided for Elvis by Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold and a demo was made by David Hill.
It's Only Love recorded by Elvis on Thursday, 20 May 1971;Studio
Written by: Mark James; Steve Tyrell
Originally recorded by B.J. Thomas in 1969
Hear Elvis's version on: Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 1
B.J. (Billy Joe) Thomas enjoyed considerable success in the USA from the mid 1960s to the late 1980s in both pop and country fields. He also had some international success, notably with his recording of "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head." "It's Only Love" was issued on Scepter 12244. Since the late 1980s he has been active in the field of Christian music. Mark James also wrote "Always On My Mind," "Moody Blue," and "Suspicious Minds."
It's Over recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 14 January 1973;Concert
Written by: Rodgers
Originally recorded by Jimmie Rodgers in 1966
Hear Elvis's version on: Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite; Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 5
Jimmie Rodgers was born on 8 September, 1933, in Camas, Washington (USA). After having appeared in the Arthur Godfrey television talent show, he was signed to Roulette Records and in 1957 had the biggest hit of his career with a song called "Honeycomb," but is perhaps better known in the UK for the follow-up, "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" and his 1962 hit, "English Country Garden." In 1962, Rodgers moved to the Dot label and a few years later he recorded the original version of his self-penned number, "It's Over." The song is not to be confused with Roy Orbison's 1961 success of the same name. The original artist is not to be confused with the "real" Jimmie Rodgers, "The Singing Brakeman."
It's Still Here recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 19 May 1971;Studio
Written by: Hunter
Originally recorded by Ivory Joe Hunter in 1964(?)
Hear Elvis's version on: Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 4
Ivory Joe Hunter was born in Kirbyville, Texas, in 1914. He made his first recording on a Library of Congress cylinder in 1933, but it was not until the mid-1940s that he would start to make commercial recordings, initially with Johnny Moore's Three Blazers. By the 1950s he was enjoying regular R&B chart success, but in the 1960s he turned to country music and made regular appearances at the Grand Old Opry. He recorded "It's Still Here" as part of his mid-1960's LP "This Is My Country." A smoker, Ivory Joe Hunter died of lung cancer in 1974. Elvis admired Ivory Joe Hunter and sang several of his songs throughout his career: "My Wish Came True," "I Need You So," Ain't That Loving You, Baby" and "I Will Be True," as well as "It's Still Here." Although issued as studio recordings, both "I Will Be True" and "It's Still Here" are examples of Elvis singing for himself at a studio piano, during a break in the actual recording proceedings (as, indeed, is "I Will Take You Home Again Kathleen").
Can you provide a recording date for Ivory Joe Hunter's original?contact me.
It's Your Baby, You Rock It recorded by Elvis on Friday, 5 June 1970;Studio
Written by: Milete; Fowler
Originally recorded by Jesse Brady in 1969
Hear Elvis's version on: Elvis Country; Walk A Mile In My Shoes CD 3
Jesse Brady was given "It's Your Baby, You Rock It" by his producer, Billy Joe Burnette. He recorded it in the spring of 1969 and it was released on BJB Records 1040. The Milete in the writing credits refers to Shirl Milete, who wrote "Life" and recorded the original version of that number. Jesse Brady was the professional name of a performer who has now reverted to his real name of Allen Wright. Brady had three reasonably successful singles, but left the music business for some years before returning as Wright, writing and singing country and gospel music.
Jambalaya (On The Bayou) recorded by Elvis on Saturday, 7 June 1975;One-liner
Written by: Williams
Originally recorded by Chuck Guillory And His Rhythm Boys in 1948
Hear Elvis's version on: A Profile CD 3: Lake Charles 4/5/75 (unofficial release)
Surely everyone knows that "Jambalaya" and Hank are inseparable, with his studio recording dating from 13 June, 1952. Maybe so, at least with that title, but "Jambalaya" is based on a slightly earlier number by Julius Lamperez, recording under the name Papa Cairo And His Boys, in 1949. The original title was "Big Texas", so perhaps "Jambalaya (On The Oilfield)" would have been more appropriate. But wait, Julius "Papa Cairo" Lamperez had previously been the singer with Chuck Guillory and His Rhythm Boys and they had already recorded their own version in 1948, which was released as the B-side of "Chère Petite" on Modern 20-612 as "Big Texas" and on Colonial (a subsidiary of Modern), with one side listed as "Big Texas" and the other as "Gran' Texas" (I have been unable to confirm this). In his book, "South to Louisiana: The Music of the Cajun Bayous," John Boven writes that, "Cairo claims that Hank Williams stole the tune in 1952 and turned it into the world-famous 'Jambalaya (On The Bayou)'; some say that writing credits should go to Moon Mullican of 'New Jole Blon' fame." Indeed, under an arrangement with Acuff-Rose, Mullican received 50% of the royalties of the song, even though his name did not appear in the writing credits. There is no doubt that the resemblance between "Jambalaya" and "Gran' Texas" is striking and Williams was certainly not wont to taking others work and making it his own: he did the same with "Cold, Cold Heart," the melody of which is taken directly from Texas Tyler's 1945 release, "You'll Still Be In My Heart." An even earlier claimant to the original version of the song is a Cajun recording made in 1940 by Happy Fats and His Rayne-Bo Ramblers, called "Gran Prairie," though the resemblance is far less. Some sources indicate the tune as "traditional" and indeed, still older influences can be heard, as is the case with the 1937 recordings of "Alons Kooche Kooche" [sic] by the Louisiana Rounders (Decca 17040) and "Abbeville" by the Jolly Boys Of Lafayette (Decca 17026).
Can you confirm the Colonial release (and hopefully provide a scan of the label)?contact me.
Jingle Bells recorded by Elvis on 1959 (1960?);Informal
Written by: J. S. Pierpont
Originally recorded by Will Lyle in 1889
Hear Elvis's version on: Home Recordings
Pierpoint wrote the number as "The One-Horse Open Sleigh" in order to cheer up the local Sunday-school evening meeting. Will Lyle was a banjo player and made history on 30 October, 1889 by recording the very first Christmas record, his instrumental version of "Jingle Bells." Sadly, no copy of his recording survives. In 1898 the first vocal recording of the number was made and issued on an Edison brown wax cylinder, number 2218, entitled "Sleigh Ride Party," and attributed to the Edison Male Quartette. Elvis can be heard playing a snatch of the song on piano prior to "I Asked The Lord."
Johnny B. Goode recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 24 August 1969;Concert
Written by: Berry
Originally recorded by Chuck Berry in 1958
Hear Elvis's version on: Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite; Elvis In Concert
Chuck wasn't above being influenced: it's well known that his "Maybellene" was based on the much older "Ida Red", for example. His guitar playing in Johnny B. Goode, especially the fantastics runs, are similar to those used by Freddy Slack in his 1942 recording of "I Got A Break Baby," on which the guitar was played by T-Bone Walker; its opening, on the other hand, is a note-for-note version of Carl Hogan's lead in Louis Jordan's "Ain't That Just Like A Woman." Let this not detract, however, from the pure poetry of Chuck's lyrics. In his biography, Chuck allows that the song was more or less about himself, though he had written it for his longstanding pianist Johnnie Johnson. Chuck Berry recorded the original version of "Johnny B. Goode" on 30 December 1957 or 28 February 1958 (sources differ). It was released as a single on Chess 1691. On 20 August, 1977, just a few days after Elvis's death, a Voyager rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral, carrying a gold disc with messages for any aliens that might find it. Several pieces of music were included, one of which was Chuck Berry's version of Johnny B. Goode. Perhaps the aliens will also sing "Roll Over, Beethoven"! Elvis covered numerous Berry numbers — see also "Brown Eyed Handsome Man," "Long Live Rock and Roll (School Days)," "Maybellene," "Memphis, Tennessee," "Promised Land," "Too Much Monkey Business."
Joshua Fit The Battle recorded by Elvis on Monday, 31 October 1960;Studio
Written by: arr. Elvis Presley
Originally recorded by Harrod's Jubilee Singers in 1922
Hear Elvis's version on: His Hand In Mine; Amazing Grace (CD 1)
Harrod's Jubilee Singers recorded the number as "Joshua Fought The Battle of Jericho" in July 1922. This was first released on Black Swan 2057-B (the A-side was "Jacob's Ladder"), but Black Swan went bankrupt in 1923 and the recording was re-released on Paramount 12116 (same A and B sides). A more famous recording was by Paul Robeson in 1925, titled "Joshua Fit De Battle of Jericho" and was released in 1925 on Vic 19743. It is also indicated as "Joshua Fought The Battle of Jericho" and "Joshua Fit The Battle of Jericho." The number is invariably listed as "Traditional" or "Traditional African American," or something similar, but I have found at least one indication of it having been written in 1865—presumably this refers to the first publication of the words (and music?). Interestingly, the Harrod's Jubilee Singers' version is listed on the Paramount label as having been composed by Jay Roberts.
Judy recorded by Elvis on Monday, 13 March 1961;Studio
Written by: Redell
Originally recorded by Teddy Redell in 1960
Hear Elvis's version on: Something For Everybody; From Nashville to Memphis (2)
Redell was born Teddy DeLano Riedel on 7 June, 1937, in Arkansas, USA. His early recordings, dating back to 1952, seem to have been unissued, with his first releases dating only from 1960 or perhaps a bit earlier. Most releases were under the name of Redell, though a 1967 single, probably his final one, used his real name. "Judy" was released as the B-side of "Can't You See" on Atco 45-6162 in March 1960.
Just A Closer Walk With Thee recorded by Elvis on ca. 1956;Informal
Written by: unknown
Originally recorded by Selah Jubilee Singers in 1941
Hear Elvis's version on: Just A Closer Walk With Thee (Czech CD on Memory label)
This gospel number was probably recorded in the studio in 1956 by Elvis; a home recording also exists, made in Waco in 1958. There is some speculation that "Tell Me Why," recorded by Elvis in 1957 (see below), was also based on this tune. It is thought that "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" is a comparitively recent song, perhaps dating from the evangelical crusades of the 1930s, though its origins have already been lost. Red Foley's 1950 recording was one of the first religious hits in Country music (see also "When God Dips His Love In My Heart.") Although the original of "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" was made by the Selah Jubilee Singers on 8 October 1941 (Decca 7872), the number is most associated with Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who recorded her own version on 2 December 1941 (Decca 8594). Sister Rosetta Tharpe was born Rosetta Nubin in 1915. She started using her artist's name in the mid-1930s and had her first hits with Decca in 1938. Tharpe toured with Marie Knight in the 1940s and early 1950s, when they also ventured into blues. Perhaps this is how Knight got the idea for her "Tell Me Why" with which "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" is so associated. Sister Rosetta Tharpe died in 1973.
Just A Little Bit recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 22 July 1973;Studio
Written by: Thornton; Bass; Washington; Brown; Thompson
Originally recorded by Tiny Topsy in 1959
Hear Elvis's version on: Raised On Rock; Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 4
Tiny Topsy pipped Rosco Gordon to the post to come up with this original, recorded in early 1959 in Chicago and released that same year on the Federal label, number 12357. Before her recording career, Tiny Topsy sang with Al Smith's 8-piece jazz/R&B club band, which was formed in Chicago in 1945. This group broke up in 1952 without having been recorded. Topsy's recording career started in 1957 on the Federal label, but she probably recorded no more than a dozen sides before her recording career ended in 1962. Tiny's real name was Otha Lee Moore and she was anyhing but tiny. She died in 1964, at just 34 years of age. Topsy's recording was made on or before 22 May 1959; Rosco Gordon's perhaps better-known version dates from 16 September of that same year. Rosco Gordon died in July 2002. UK fans might remember a version of "Just A Little Bit" by The Undertakers, recorded in 1964 and their only hit.
Just A Little Talk With Jesus recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 4 December 1956;Informal
Written by: Derricks
Originally recorded by Stamps Quartet in 1938
Hear Elvis's version on: The Complete Million Dollar Session
The Reverend Cleavant Derricks was born in 1910 at Chattanooga, Tennessee. He studied at Cadek Conservatory of Music in Knoxville and at the State University and American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville. He wrote more than 300 songs, including "Just A Little Talk with Jesus," which he copyrighted in 1937as "Have a Little Talk With Jesus," and "When God Dipped His Love In My Heart," both recorded by Elvis. The original Stamps Quartet was formed in 1924 by Frank Stamps and signed a recording contract with RCA in 1927. The Stamps went through various personnel line-ups throughout the coming years. Early in the 1970s the Stamps, headed by bassman J.D. Sumner, started working as Elvis's backing vocalists. Elvis visited the Sun studios on December 4th and ended up in a jam session which has become legendary as the "Million Dollar Quartet." Actually, the quartet was a trio (Johnny Cash, the fourth, was present while pictures were being taken, but left before the recordings started): Elvis, his friend Carl Perkins, and new Sun artist Jerry Lee Lewis. The three ended up in an informal jam session, which Sam Phillips wisely committed to tape. Most of the numbers sung were, like "Just a Little Talk/Walk with Jesus," gospels.
Any earlier version? Did Derricks record the song in 1937?contact me.
Just Because recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 14 September 1954;Studio
Written by: Robin
Originally recorded by Nelstone's Hawaiians in 1929
Hear Elvis's version on: Elvis Presley (Rock 'n' Roll No.1); The Complete 50's Masters 1
Cliff Carlisle's "You'll Miss Me" is subtitled "(Just Because)"and is perhaps the semi-original version of "Just Because." The tune of a march called "Washington and Lee Swing" from 1910 is also a clear influence. The first "real" version, however, seems to be that of Nelstone's Hawaiians, which was recorded on 30 November 1929 and released on Victor V-40273. The group consisted of Hubert Nelson (vocal and steel guitar) and James D. Touchstone (vocal and guitar), both from southern Alabama. The Shelton Brothers' version of "Just Because" was a big hit on the Decca label in 1935 and was listed with writers Shelton, Shelton and Robin—don't know why, as it is clearly the same number as that of Nelstone's Hawaiians!
There is a possible earlier version: a number called "Just Because" was recorded by the Hawaiian Serenaders on 14 November 1928 (a whole year earlier!) for release on Jewel 5510 and Oriole 1442, but was this the same song?contact me.
Just Call Me Lonesome recorded by Elvis on Monday, 11 September 1967;Studio
Written by: Griffin
Originally recorded by Eddy Arnold in 1953
Hear Elvis's version on: From Nashville to Memphis (3)
Surprisingly little is known about Rex Griffin, though he was quite a prolific writer of country songs. His early numbers were influenced by his admiration of Jimmie Rodgers. He recorded 36 tracks for Decca between 1935 and 1939. Griffin was born in 1912 and is believed to have died in 1959. Eddy Arnold recorded "Just Call Me Lonesome" on 30 December, 1953 (RCA 6198), closely followed by Red Foley on 6 January, 1954 (Decca 29626). Both versions were released at about the same time in August 1954. Eddy Arnold died in May 2008.
Just Let Me Make Believe recorded by Elvis on ca. 1966;Informal
Written by: Blackwell
Originally recorded by Roy Orbison in 1966
Hear Elvis's version on: From The Bottom Of My Heart Vol.2 (unofficial release)
The big question is, however, is it really Elvis singing on the recording?! If it is, then he is certainly not taking lead vocal. Former Elvis body-guard/security advisor Dick Grob claimed that Elvis gave him this home recording, which Grob put up for sale in the mid-1990s.
Keep Your Hands Off Of It recorded by Elvis on Friday, 5 June 1970;Studio
Written by: Foster
Originally recorded by Billy Hughes And His Pecos Pals in 1946
Hear Elvis's version on: Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 3
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 "Got My Mojo Working" seem to come from the same root, the one developing more in the Country area, the other (Mojo) in the R&B area. The 1946 release "Take Your Hands Off It (Birthday Cake)" by Billy Hughes And His Pecos Pals, a Country Swing with very suggestive lyrics, approaches the number performed by Elvis and so is tentatively suggested as the original.
Keeper Of The Key recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 4 December 1956;Informal
Written by: Stewart; Howard; Devine; Guynes
Originally recorded by Wynn Stewart in 1956
Hear Elvis's version on: The Complete Million Dollar Session
Wynn Stewart began recording in 1954 for the Intro label. By 1956 he had moved to Capitol, where he recorded "The Keeper Of The Keys," a number he had helped to write. The recording was released on Capitol F3515 15462. This is the same song sung during the so-called Million Dollar Quartet Session and listed on most (all?) releases as simply "Keeper Of The Key." (Elvis sings only background vocals on this number, the lead being taken by Carl Perkins.) The B-side of Stewart's original release contained a number called "Slowly But Surely," but this is not the same number as the song of the same name recorded in May 1963 by Elvis. Wynn Stewart died in 1985.
Known Only To Him recorded by Elvis on Monday, 31 October 1960;Studio
Written by: Hamblen
Originally recorded by Stuart Hamblen in 1952
Hear Elvis's version on: His Hand In Mine; Amazing Grace (CD 1)
Stuart Hamblen was born on 20 October, 1908, in Kellyville, Texas. He started singing on the KFI radio station in Los Angeles in 1927 and in 1934 was signed to the newly-formed MCA Records label. His first major success in C&W came in 1949 with the number, "But I'll Be Chasin' Women." He recorded the original version of his self-penned "Known Only To Him" on 29 July, 1952, and it was released as a single on Columbia Sacred Series 4-21012, being reviewd in Billboard's "This week's New Records" section in the week ending 8 November, 1952. This might indicate a problem, for The Golden Chorus Featuring Jimmy Carroll also recorded Hamblen's "Known Only To Him," and their version, on RCA Victor 47-4895 (45rpm) was listed in "This Week's New Releases on RCA Victor" with the note, "Ships Coast to Coast, Aug. 24", in Billboard for week ending 23 August 1952 (the recording was also issued on 78rop RCA Victor 20-5072). Could it be that they recorded Hamblen's number before Hamblen himself? Stuart Hamblen wrote a number of gospels, including "It Is No Secret (What God Can Do)," also recorded by Elvis. Stuart Hamblen died on 8 March, 1989. Numerous artists, including The Statesmen, have recorded this gospel favourite. Jake Hess, lead singer with The Statesmen, sang this number at Elvis's funeral.
Can you provide a recording date for the version by The Golden Chorus Featuring Jimmy Carroll?contact me.
Lady Madonna recorded by Elvis on Monday, 17 May 1971;Studio
Written by: Lennon; McCartney
Originally recorded by The Beatles in 1968
Hear Elvis's version on: Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 3
In his book "The Originals", Arnold Rypens professes to recognise elements of the Humphrey Lyttleton Band's 1956 EMI recording of "Bad Penny Blues" (notably the piano) in "Lady Madonna". The Beatles recorded their "Lady Madonna" on 3 February 1968.
Lawdy Miss Clawdy recorded by Elvis on Friday, 3 February 1956;Studio
Written by: Price
Originally recorded by Lloyd Price in 1952
Hear Elvis's version on: The Complete 50's Masters 2
Price was born in 1933. He formed his own group in 1949 in New Orleans and in 1952 was signed to Specialty Records in Los Angeles. "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" was his first hit, becoming an R&B number 1 in 1952, featuring Fats Domino on the piano. Price's career was interrupted by military service between 1954 and 1956, after which he set up his own record company before moving to ABC-Paramount, where he became a popular rock'n'roll artist with his first hit, "Stack-O-Lee" (a version of "Stagger Lee," also included in this list). After 1959 Price's popularity diminished, though he continued recording until 1976.
Lead Me, Guide Me recorded by Elvis on Monday, 17 May 1971;Studio
Written by: Doris Akers
Originally recorded by Doris Akers in 1954
Hear Elvis's version on: He Touched Me; Amazing Grace (CD 2)
Doris Akers was born in 1923. She wrote her first gospel song when she was just 10 years old (Keep The Fire Burning In Me). In additiion to Lead Me, Guide Me, Doris Akers also wrote the Elvis favourite "Sweet, Sweet Spirit." Doris died in 1995.
Let It Be Me recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 17 February 1970;Concert
Written by: Delanoë; Bécaud
Originally recorded by Gilbert Bécaud in 1955 (as Je t'Appartiens)
Hear Elvis's version on: On Stage; Walk A Mile In My Shoes—The Essential 70's Masters Disc 5
Gilbert Bécaud was born François Gilbert Léopold Silly on 24 October, 1927, in Toulon, France. At fifteen years of age, he left school to join the French Resistance of World War II. After the war, he started to write songs and, together with Maurice Vidalin and Marie Bizet, formed a successful trio. Encouraged to be a solo siinger by Edith Piaf, Bécaud soon became popular, with numerous successes throughout the 1950s and into the 1980s. His "Je t'Appartiens," which dates from 1955, was translated into English by Mann Curtis as "Let It Be Me" and was recorded first by Jill Corey (Columbia 4-40878), but later became a huge hit for the Everly Brothers long before Elvis covered it. (Later, his "Et Maintenant" would also be translated into English and covered by Elvis as "What Now My Love.") Gilbert Bécaud died on 18 December, 2001.
Let Me Be There recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 20 March 1974;Concert
Written by: Rostill
Originally recorded by Olivia Newton John in 1973
Hear Elvis's version on: Moody Blue; Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis
John Rostill was a former member of the famous British guitar group, The Shadows. He died in 1973, aged just 31. See also "If You Love Me (Let Me Know)." Olivia Newton John is a right mixture: she was born on 26 September, 1948, in Cambridge, England of a Welsh father and a German mother. Olivia was taken to Australia when she was 5 years old. After winning an Australian talent contest, she moved back to England in 1965 to try for a career in entertainment. After a not too auspicious start as a member of the group Toomorrow, she finally made the big time, with the 1973 release of "Let Me Be There" being the real turning point.
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