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Any Major Elvis Covers

August 16th, 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments

Where were you when you learned of Elvis” death, 40 years ago on August 16? I was at a church summer camp. At 11 I didn”t really appreciate the importance of Elvis. To me, he was a name and face one just knew, like those of Charlie Chaplin or Bing Crosby “” both of whom also died in 1977. But, as it so often is, the death of an icon kicked off a mania. Suddenly everybody was an Elvis fan, myself included.

A greatest hits type of double album was my introduction to Elvis. It had all the important stuff on it. Some months later I bought a four-album set of Elvis rock & roll stuff. I was blown away by it, and adopted I Want To Be Free as my nominal favourite Elvis song.

It took me longer to get into latter period Elvis, other than the usual suspects (Suspicious Minds, In The Ghetto etc), and only grudgingly came to appreciate some of Movie Elvis period output.

I have previously run two mixes of the originals of songs Elvis had hits with (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2). To mark the 40th anniversary of Elvis” death, here is a mix of artists covering Elvis songs. Almost all were Elvis originals; the three that aren”t “” All Shook Up, Suspicious Minds, Burning Love “”were rather obscure before Elvis recorded them. So no Hound Dog or Blues Suede Shoes here.

James Brown recorded his version of Love Me Tender after Elvis” death, by way of tribute by what he says is one king to another. Humility was never JB”s strong suite. Of the soul covers here, his is not the best: that would be Candi Staton“s In The Ghetto.  And yet I was tempted to include the bizarre cover by Sammy Davis Jr that featured on The Ghetto Vol. 1.

Three covers here are by people who wrote the songs. Otis Backwell“s version of Return To Sender appeared on an album defiantly titled These Are My Songs. Dennis Linde“s recording of Burning Love sounds like it ought to have been a hit for Creedence Clearwater Revival. And Mac Davis took four years before he recorded the Elvis hit he had co-written, A Little Less Conversation.

Most songs here more or less follow the Elvis template, with some variations. So The Pogues” version of Got A Lot O’ Livin’ To Do is reworked in the band”s customary Irish folk-punk sound, but the song retains its intregrity; likewise Albert King gives Jailhouse Rock a blistering blues treatment, but it”s still discernibly Jailhouse Rock. I suppose it might be difficult to immediately recognise Teddy Thompson”s wonderful version of I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone as the rock & roll track Elvis created, but that”s just clever arranging.

Two tracks, however, totally rework Elvis: John Cale“s Heartbreak Hotel has only passing acquaintance with the original. The Jeff Beck Group “” with “Extraordinaire Rod Stewart”, as the sleeve notes have it, on vocals, backed by Beck, Ron Wood and Nicky Hopkins “” stir into All Shook Up a heavy dosed of blues-rock. What, one may wonders, could have been had Elvis adopted that kind of sound in the late”60s. Poor “Colonel” Parker might have spontaneously combusted, leaving behind a pile of dust and a rock where his heart once was.

The benefit of listening to others sing Elvis is that one can understand the lyrics. Presley was a wonderful singer, but his diction was awful. I don”t think there”s a single up-tempo Elvis song which has not required me to innovate some alternative lyrics. So a good number of songs here have helped me disabused me of misheard lyrics. One of those was Devil In Disguise, thanks to candidates for inclusion which I rejected in favour of the one cover here that isn”t in English. It”s in Czech and performed by veteran crooner Karel Gott, “the Sinatra of the East”. It is, let”s say, interesting. I suspect Elvis might have approved as left the building.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on as standard CD-R and includes home-gyrated covers. PW in comments.

1. Albert King – Jailhouse Rock (1969)
2. Roy Orbison – Mean Woman Blues (1963)
3. Buddy Holly – You”re So Square (Baby I Don”t Care) (1958)
4. Otis Blackwell – Return To Sender (1977)
5. Ry Cooder – Little Sister (1979)
6. Dillard & Clark – Don”t Be Cruel (1968)
7. Teddy Thompson – I”m Left, You”re Right, She”s Gone (2007)
8. Mac Davis – A Little Less Conversation (1972)
9. Dennis Linde – Burning Love (1973)
10. Candi Staton – In The Ghetto (1972)
11. The Persuasions – Good Luck Charm (2003)
12. Chuck Jackson – (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear (1966)
13. James Brown – Love Me Tender (1978)
14. PJ Proby – If I Can Dream (2011)
15. Fran̤oise Hardy РLoving You (1968)
16. Sandy Posey – Don”t (1973)
17. Chris Isaak – I Forgot To Remember To Forget (2011)
18. Fine Young Cannibals – Suspicious Minds (1986)
19. The Pogues – Got A Lot O” Livin” To Do (1990)
20. Bruce Springsteen – Viva Las Vegas (2003)
21. Wanda Jackson – Hard Headed Woman (1961)
22. Conway Twitty – Treat Me Nice (1961)
23. Bobby Stevens – Stuck On You (1960)
24. Robert Gordon with Link Wray – I Want To Be Free (1977)
25. Vince Eager – A Big Hunk O”Love (1972)
26. The Jeff Beck Group – All Shook Up (1968)
27. John Cale – Heartbreak Hotel (1975)
28. Karel Gott – Dábel tisíc tvárí má (Devil In Disguise) (2011)


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  1. halfhearteddude
    August 16th, 2017 at 07:36 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. August 16th, 2017 at 10:11 | #2

    An excellent compilation, as always Dude.

    As to where I was this day 40 years ago…


  3. halfhearteddude
    August 16th, 2017 at 12:27 | #3

    I tried to respond to your Top 10, Rol, but have nine of thise registration that are demanded to allow commernt. So, here’s what I was going to comment:

    A Top 10 is too cruel (and don’t be… et cetera). I have always held “I Want To Be Free” as my nominal favourite. But, I think “Hound Dog” must have sounded like an aural assault at the time. So, that one really tops it. Off the top of my head:

    1. Hound Dog
    2. Suspicious Minds
    3. Heartbreak Hotel
    4. I Want To Be Free
    5. Devil In Disguise
    6. Bossa Nova Baby
    7. Don’t Be Cruel
    8. His Latest Flame
    9. Got A Lot O’ Livin’ To Do
    10. Good Luck Charm

  4. Brian S Stanbrook
    August 16th, 2017 at 16:07 | #4

    Well I’ve downloaded it three times now and each time I get…

    ” C:\Users\brian\Downloads\elvis_cov.rar: Checksum error in the encrypted file C:\Users\brian\Downloads\elvis_cov.rar. Corrupt file or wrong password.
    C:\Users\brian\Downloads\elvis_cov.rar: No files to extract”

  5. August 16th, 2017 at 19:44 | #5

    A great list. I know what you mean about Hound Dog: it’s a machine gun.

  6. halfhearteddude
    August 16th, 2017 at 22:37 | #6

    I’m puzzled, Brian. I’ve just tested the file and it opens fine. The file size should be 104,716 KB. If the file sizes you get are much different, then I guess your downloads might be corrupted. If they are identical, then I really don’t know. I wonder if anybody else has had a problem like yours.

  7. Brian S Stanbrook
    August 17th, 2017 at 00:40 | #7

    Your first comment says the password is “amdwah” but when I click on Passwords at the top of the page I find that the password is always “amdwhah”.

    Got there in the end. Thanks Dude!

  8. halfhearteddude
    August 17th, 2017 at 08:28 | #8

    Oh man, what a stupid typo can do…

  9. rekkids
    August 17th, 2017 at 19:32 | #9

    Thank You .

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