Elvis Elvis Presley covered more than 500 originals Presley
The Originals

Information about 514 original versions of recordings by singer and entertainer Elvis Presley. See when the original was 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.

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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Last update: Tuesday, 25 July 2023; 514 numbers listed!List available as free ebook (epub format)

You Belong To My Heart recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 4 December 1956; Informal Original Recording Label of You Belong To My Heart by Manuelita Arriola con la Orquesta Juan S. Garrido
Written by: Gilbert; Lara
Originally recorded by Manuelita Arriola con la Orquesta Juan S. Garrido in 1941 Play button Pause button
Written as "Solamente Una Vez" in 1941, with both lyrics and music by Agustin Lara, known as the "Cole Porter of Mexico" for composing some of the country's most beloved classic melodies. The number was first performed by Ana María González and José Mojica in the film "Melodia de America," which was made in 1941, but this seems not to have been released as a commercial recording. (Shortly after making the film, Mojica became a Franciscan monk and was to die in utter poverty in 1974.) The first commercial recording was then made later that same year by Manuelita Arriola con la Orquesta Juan S. Garrido and released on the Mexican label Peerless (matrix 1298-41). Some reports refer to Peerless 1779, but I have been unable to confirm this, having found definite reference only to Peerless 1996. Note that Manuelita Arriola was also known as Manolita Arriola.
English lyrics were written in 1943 by Ray Gilbert, and introduced by the voice of Dora Luz on the soundtrack of Walt Disney's feature-length Donald Duck cartoon "The Three Caballeros" in 1944, but this also seems not to have been released as a commercial recording.
A recording of Agustín Lara himself singing "Solamente Una Vez" was made in 1953 by RCA.
You Better Run recorded by Elvis on Friday, 31 March 1972; Studio
Written by: Traditional
Originally recorded by Gospel Light Jubilee Singers in 1939 Play button Pause button
Probably a number that has to be classified as "traditional"—it is at the very least extremely difficult to find any information about it! The first recording I have been able to find with the title "You Better Run" dates from 1923, on the Document label, number DOCD-5520, by the Homer Rodeheaver and Wiseman Sextet. However, this is a different number altogether. The Gospel Light Jubilee Singers recorded their version on 1 February 1939 in the Andrew Jackson Hotel, Rock Hill, North Carolina, as "You Better Run On." It was released that same year on Bluebird B-8196, as the B-side of "Sit Down, Child." The August 1939 recording of the number by the Norfolk Jubilee singers on Decca 7758 more closely matches the song as later recorded by Elvis.
Some commentators link "You Better Run" to another song, "(You Better) Let That Liar Alone." Personally, the link sems very tenuous to me, but this just helps to indicate the difficulties in locating the origins (and originals) of such traditional numbers.
You Can Have Her (I Don't Want Her) recorded by Elvis on Saturday, 11 May 1974; Concert Original Recording Label of You Can Have Her (I Don't Want Her) by Roy Hamilton
Written by: Cook
Originally recorded by Roy Hamilton in 1960 Play button Pause button
Bill Cook, who wrote this number, was Roy Hamilton's manager. This was Roy Hamilton's last hit. He recorded it on 28 November 1960 and it was released together with "Abide With Me," also written by Cook, on Epic 9434 in late 1960 or early 1961. Hamilton died in 1969, aged just 40, following a stroke. He was a great influence on numerous performers, including Jackie Wilson, Roy Brown and The Righteous Brothers.
The version by Elvis was sung during the afternoon show at the Forum, Inglewood, Los Angeles, on 11 May 1974, where it was recorded by a member of the audience.
You Don't Have To Say You Love Me recorded by Elvis on Saturday, 6 June 1970; Studio Original Recording Label of You Don't Have To Say You Love Me by Pino Donaggio (in Italian)
Written by: Pallavicini; Donaggio
Originally recorded by Pino Donaggio (in Italian) in 1963 Play button Pause button
The Italian original is titled "Io Che Non Vivo Piu d'Un Ora Senza Te" and was the entry for the San Remo Song Festival in 1965, sung by Pino Donaggio. The label showed the title as "Io Che Non Vivo (Senza Te)." Giuseppe "Pino" Donaggio was born in Burano near Venice, Italy, on October 24, 1941. He began studying violin at the age of ten and at the age of 14 made his solo debut in a Vivaldi concert for Italian radio, later playing for both the Solisti Veneti and the Solisti di Milano. Donaggio's classical career ended when he made his singing debut with Paul Anka. He then began to write his own songs and established himself as one of Italy's prominent singer-songwriters. His biggest succes came with this number. Dusty Springfield got Simon Napier-Bell and Vicky Wickham to provide English lyrics and scored a number one in the UK and a number 4 in the US Hot 100 in 1966.
You Don't Know Me recorded by Elvis on Wednesday, 22 February 1967; Studio Original Recording Label of You Don't Know Me by Eddy Arnold
Written by: Walker; Arnold
Originally recorded by Eddy Arnold in 1955 Play button Pause button
Eddy Arnold was born on 15 May, 1918, near Henderson, Tennessee. By the age of sixteen, he was singing on local radio stations and by 1943 had performed as a solo artist on the Grand Ole Opry. Tom Parker (yes, that Tom Parker), became his manager and he signed to RCA Victor in 1944. He enjoyed a remarkable recording career and was also active in television and films. He sacked Parker in 1953.
In 1955 Arnold had a storyline for a song and asked songwriter Cindy Walker to write something based on it. That was the genesis of "You Don't Know Me." Arnold's original version was recorded on 1 December, 1955, and released as a single on RCA Victor 20-6502 and 47-6502 in April 1956. Eddy Arnold may have made the first recording of this number, but Jerry Vale's was first released. The best known version, however, is probably that of Ray Charles who had a huge hit with it in 1962.
Eddy Arnold died on 8 May, 2008.
Elvis recorded "You Don't Know Me" twice: firstly the film version (used in "Clambake") and then again on Monday, September 11, 1967, for record release.
You Gave Me A Mountain recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 14 January 1973; Concert
Written by: Robbins
Originally recorded by Marty Robbins in 1966 Play button Pause button
It is said that Marty Robbins wrote this number especially for his friend Frankie Laine, but Laine did not record "You Gave Me A Mountain" until 1968. Robbins' original version was made on 9 May 1966 for Columbia, but was not released until 1995, when it appeared on the Bear Family collection, "Country 1960-1966." He later recorded another version that was released on his "It's A Sin" LP in 1969, perhaps about the time that Frankie Laine made his recording of "You Gave Me A Mountain." Laine disliked the line "Despised and ignored by my father," changing it to, "Deprived of the love of my father." Laine's recording reached number 24 in 1969 in the Billboard pop chart and number 1 in the Adult Contemporary (easy listening) chart in the USA in March 1969. went gold early the following year.
You'll Be Gone recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 18 March 1962; Studio Original Recording Label of You'll Be Gone by Xavier Cugat and His Waldorf-Astoria Orchestra
Written by: Presley; Hodge; West
Originally recorded by Xavier Cugat and His Waldorf-Astoria Orchestra in 1935 Play button Pause button
Cole Porter wrote the number "Begin The Beguine" in the early thirties, basing it on a dance from Martinique. It seems that this was his favourite song. Elvis liked the number, too, but there were problems involved with him recording it, so he decided to rewrite it, which he promptly did, with the help of friends Charlie Hodge and Red West. The tune was also changed, but elements of the Cole Porter "original" (heck, even he wasn't original!) can clearly be heard.
"Begin The Beguine" was first performed by June Knight in the stage musical "Jubilee" in 1935. The first commercial recording, however, was made by Xavier Cugat and His Waldorf-Astoria Orchestra, on 5 September, 1935, and released the following month on Victor 25133. The vocalist on the recordinging was Don Reid.
Xavier Cugat was born on 1 January, 1900, in Gerona, Spain. His family moved to Cuba in 1905. There he studied violin and played in an orchestra in Havana. Between 1915 and 1918, Cugat played in New York as a member of The Gigolos. He later formed his own orchestra and played in the earliest sound films, continuing his film career into the 1980s.
Xavier Cugat died on 27 October, 1990, in Barcelona, Spain.
You'll Never Walk Alone recorded by Elvis on Monday, 11 September 1967; Studio Original Recording Label of You'll Never Walk Alone by Frank Sinatra
Written by: Rodgers; Hammerstein
Originally recorded by Frank Sinatra in 1945 Play button Pause button
"You'll Never Walk Alone" was written for the musical, "Carousel." Although Frank Sinatra recorded his version on 1 May 1945, before that of the Carousel cast, John Raitt, Christine Johnson, Jan Clayton, and Chorus, whose own version was made at some time between 9 and 21 May. Sinatra's original recording was rleeased as a single on Columbia 36825, coupled with "If I Loved You." Gerry And The Pacemakers topped the UK charts for four weeks with the number in 1963.
You're The Boss recorded by Elvis on Thursday, 11 July 1963; Studio Original Recording Label of You're The Boss by LaVern Baker and Jimmy Ricks
Written by: Leiber; Stoller
Originally recorded by LaVern Baker and Jimmy Ricks in 1960 Play button Pause button
A duet with delicious Ann-Margret from the film, "Viva Las Vegas" or "Love In Las Vegas" (depending on where you live). It might sound as if it were written especially for these two, but the original recording was made by LaVern Baker and Jimmy Ricks on 14 November 1960 and released the following year on Atlantic 2090. Jimmy Ricks had a resonably successful solo career, but is best remembered for his involvement with the early R&B group The Ravens. Ricks died in 1974 and Lavern Baker in 1997.
You're The Only Star In My Blue Heaven recorded by Elvis on Tuesday, 4 December 1956; Informal Original Recording Label of You're The Only Star In My Blue Heaven by Gene Autry
Written by: Autry
Originally recorded by Gene Autry in 1935 Play button Pause button
Gene Autry wrote "You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven)" after having received a letter from a mentally disturbed fan, who used the title words in her letter. Autry recorded the original version of the song on 5 December, 1935 (matrix C-1177-1). "You're The Only Star…" was released as a single, coupled with "Mexicali Rose," on various labels, including ARC (Banner, Melotone, Oriole, Perfect, Romeo) 6-05-59, Vocalian 03097, Conqueror 8652 and 9098, and Columbia (Canada) C255. The song was used in the film, "Springtime In The Rockies," in 1937. Later pressings of Vocalion 03097 and Conqueror 9098 and all pressings of OKeh 03097, use matrix LA-1849, which was a rerecording, made on 13 April, 1939.
Elvis is heard on the backing vocals of the Million Dollar recording, with Jerry Lee Lewis taking the lead.
You're The Reason I'm Living recorded by Elvis on Saturday, 22 March 1975; Concert Original Recording Label of You're The Reason I'm Living by Bobby Darin
Written by: Darin
Originally recorded by Bobby Darin in 1962 Play button Pause button
Bobby Darin was born Robert Walden Cassotto in New York in 1936. He changed his name to Darin and became a professional singer in 1956. His first three singles flopped, but he scored a big hit with the rocker "Splish Splash." Not wishing to be typecast as a rocker, Darin then adapted an old number into "Mack The Knife," winning the Grammy for Record Of The Year and getting himself voted as Best New Artist. He starred in several lightweight films before becoming recognized as a serious actor in such films as "Pressure Point" and "Captain Newman MD," before winning an Oscar nomination for his performance in "Newman." Following open-heart surgery, Bobby Darin died in 1973 aged just 37.
Darin recorded "You're The Reason I'm Living" on 25 September 1962. The number was released on 31 December 1962 on Capitol 4897.
The CD on which Elvis's version originally appeared was sold with the book "Growing Up With The Memphis Flash" by Kate Wheeler. The song was later "officially" released.
You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' recorded by Elvis on Monday, 10 August, 1970, etc; Concert Original Recording Label of You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' by Righteous Brothers
Written by: Mann; Weil; Spector
Originally recorded by Righteous Brothers in 1964 Play button Pause button
Phil Spector took his "wall of sound" recording technique to its utmost for this US Hot 100 number 1 hit. The Righteous Brothers was a duo consisting of bass-baritone Bill Medley and high tenor Bobby Hatfield. Medley was born on 19 September, 1940, in California, and Hatfield on 10 August, 1949, in Wisconsin. Medley had been a member of the Paramours, while Hadley had sung with a group called the Variations. They were brought together by a mutual friend, in the hope of forming a new lineup for the Paramours, but together they went on to form the Righteous Brothers and were discovered by Phil Spector when performing at a gig that also involved Spector's own Ronettes. The Righteous Brothers original version of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" was recorded over several days in October 1964 and released as a single on Philles Records 124. Because it was felt that the duration of the track (3m 46s) was too long to be acceptable to radio stations, the original label of the single version showed it to be just 3:05.
A rehearsal version of the number being sung by Elvis was recorded on 10 August 1970 and released on the "Elvis Aron Presley" silver set. A version sung on 11 August appeared on the "Live In Las Vegas" set, with the original Elvis release being recorded on 12 August, 1970 and available on the sets indicated above.
Young At Heart recorded by Elvis on April 1974; Informal Original Recording Label of Young At Heart by Frank Sinatra
Written by: Richards; Leigh
Originally recorded by Frank Sinatra in 1953 Play button Pause button
Johnny Richards' original instrumental, called "Moonbeam," was given lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, became "Young At Heat" and was recorded by Frank Sinatra in 1953 to become a hit single. The song was so popular that it was added to a film starring Sinatra and Doris Day, which was being made at the time, and the song title was used as the name of the film (which, up to that time, was unnamed).
Elvis is captured singing just a line or two of the song during an informal recording jam at his home in Palm Springs in April 1974.
Young Love recorded by Elvis on Monday, 24 June 1968; Informal Original Recording Label of Young Love by Ric Cartey with The Jiva-Tones
Written by: Joyner; Cartey
Originally recorded by Ric Cartey with The Jiva-Tones in 1956 Play button Pause button
Ric Cartey was born Whaley Thomas Cartey in Atlantic, Georgia, on 18 January, 1937. He composed the music for "Young Love" when he was nineteen years old; the lyricist, Carloe Joyner, was just seventeen. Cartey's original version of "Young Love" was recorded about October 1956 and released in November 1956 on the Stars label, number 539, as the B-side of "Oooh Eeee." The same coupling was released again on RCA Victor 47-6751 some weeks later.
Cartey's original was overshadowed by Sonny James' cover, which spent nine weeks at number one in the US Country charts in 1956-57. James started his career at the age of three (!) as a member of his family's band, The Lodens, well-known on the radio throughout the South of the USA. In total, James had 23 number 1's in those charts between 1956 and 1972. The number was also a big hit for Tab Hunter, both in the USA and the UK.
Ric Cartey died on 5 August, 2009.
Your Cheatin' Heart recorded by Elvis on Saturday, 1 February 1958; Studio Original Recording Label of Your Cheatin' Heart by Hank Williams
Written by: Williams
Originally recorded by Hank Williams in 1952 Play button Pause button
Hank Williams was born on 17 September, 1923, in Mount Olive, Alabama. At just 14 years of age he had his own 15-minute radio show in Montgomery and soon left school to pursue a musical career. His big break came with his recording of "Move It On Over" in 1947. He went on to write and record such hits as "Your Cheatin' Heart," "Hey, Good Looking" and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." His health deteriorated, however, thanks to excessive use of alcohol and pain-killers (he suffered from a bad back). Hank Williams died suddenly in the back of his car on January 1st, 1953, just 29 years old.
His original version of "Your Cheatin' Heart" was released shortly after his death, having been recorded on 23 September, 1952.
Elvis was not pleased with his own recording of the number and it was not released for seven years.
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Thanks to all the people who have provided feedback and additional information that I've been able to use to improve this site and its contents: Garth Bond (UK?), Sebastiano Cecere (Italy), Chris Deakin (UK), Stig Ericsson (Sweden), Mark Hillier (UK), Joop Jansen (Netherlands), Torben Jensen (Denmark), Robin Jones (Saudi Arabia), Bob Moke (USA), Henk Muller (Netherlands), Rami Poutiainen (Finland), Aad Sala (Netherlands), Trevor Simpson (UK), Leroy Smith (Netherlands), Philippe Spard (France), Kris Verdonck (Belgium). If I've forgotten anyone, please forgive me!

The best site for other originals is probably The Originals Project

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