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Elvis Presley: The Best Cover Versions

Strong covers from the king of rock and roll...

Top best covers of the king of rock and roll Elvis Presley

Everyone must have heard Elvis Presley's hits! However, despite a rich repertoire of more than 700 songs, the king of rock and roll did not write any of them himself ... His co-writing was limited, but he was undeniably a master at choosing good songs. Presley, who was only 42 years old when he died on August 16, 1977, listened carefully to the songs offered to him and had an excellent flair ... Today, many know him for such hits as "Hound Dog" and "Suspicious Minds", while some his covers are often associated with the Beatles and The Carpenters. So: we have prepared for you ten of the most unexpected Elvis Presley cover versions that definitely deserve attention. Let's start...

"Early Morning Rain" (Gordon Lightfoot)

Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley

"Early Morning Rain" is a 1966 song by singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot that was covered by Elvis Presley in 1972: his version features a sparkling harmonica played flawlessly by Charles Ray McCoy, the musician's constant assistant.

Lightfoot wrote this song about his homesickness that prompted him to drive to LAX to watch planes on a rainy day and think about his home in Canada...

"When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano" (The Ink Spots)

Elvis Presley and jazz drummer Gene Krupa, accompanied by his orchestra (including singer Anita O'Day), recorded only one song - the romantic "When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano" ...

A love song written by Leon René in 1940 tells of the yearly spring return of the rock swallows to Mission San Juan Capistrano (Orange, California). When Presley was a boy, it was a well-known hit by The Ink Spots that played regularly on the radio.

The recording of Elvis was made in 1960: we can also hear backing vocals from his then girlfriend, actress Anita Wood.

"Too Much Monkey Business" (Chuck Berry)

Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley were mutual admirers (Berry described Elvis, nicknamed "The King", as "the greatest that ever existed...")

One day, Presley made Berry happy: during a jam session with the Million Dollar Quartet in 1956, Presley sang three parts of "Brown-Eyed Handsome Man", Berry's Chess Records single.

Elvis also performed "Too Much Monkey Business", and a later version of "Johnny B Goode". In the mid-70s, the king of rock and roll recorded a cover of "Promised Land"...

"Waiting At The End Of The Road" (The Dixie Jubilee Singers)

One of the oldest songs Elvis Presley ever sang was an uptempo version of Irving Berlin's "Waiting At The End Of The Road", which was written specifically for a 1929 theater show starring The Dixie Jubilee Singers. Presley recorded his version in 1956. Presley really liked the writings of the writers of the Great American Songbook era: he also covered Cole Porter's "True Love"!

"Solitaire" (Carpenters)

The fast-paced ballad "Solitaire" was written by Neil Sedaka and Phil Cody. The most famous version of this piece was released in 1975 by The Carpenters. However, as Karen Carpenter herself said, she never liked this song ...

Elvis Presley recorded approximately ten takes of "Solitaire" in October 1976 at The Jungle Room in Graceland, Memphis before releasing a version later that year that he liked...

"Steamroller Blues" (James Taylor)

"Steamroller Blues" was a parody that James Taylor wrote for his 1970 album Sweet Baby James.

"It was a joke," Taylor said in 2015. “There were a lot of white guys playing the blues and college students singing Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters and I thought it was funny. “Steamroller” was supposed to be a takeoff…”

In the 70s, Elvis Presley added "Steamroller Blues" to his live repertoire and included it on his live album Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite. Presley clearly loved the blues, as he covered the songs of Jimmy Reed, Lowell Fulson and Willie Dixon ...

"Yesterday" (The Beatles)

Many of the world's best-selling artists have covered The Beatles' hit "Yesterday" and Elvis Presley is no exception...

The song was recorded by Presley for a live album in 1970. His brief introduction consisted of the words "my version of 'Yesterday'...", after which he showed the audience his take on The Beatles' famous heartbreak hit. Presley also recorded the classic "Hey Jude".

"I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" (Hank Williams)

Few country stars have managed to write something romanticized and insightful ... But Hank Williams clearly succeeded!

When Elvis Presley recorded a live version of "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" in 1973 in Hawaii, he said:

“I would like to sing a song that is probably the saddest song I have ever heard…”

"Bridge Over Troubled Water" (Simon & Garfunkel)

“When I first heard Elvis perform Bridge Over Troubled Water, it was incredible!” Paul Simon said. "I thought to myself, 'How the hell can I compete with this?'"

Presley recorded his version of the Simon & Garfunkel classic in 1970 and it became a staple of his live performances for the next seven years. Presley performed a poignant version at what turned out to be his last live performance: at the Market Square arena in Indianapolis on June 26, 1977...

"I Shall Be Released" (Bob Dylan)

“When I first heard the voice of Elvis Presley, I just knew that I would not work for anyone and no one would be my boss. Hearing him for the first time was like getting out of prison…,” said Bob Dylan.

Presley was a fan of Dylan and in 1971 recorded versions of popular Dylan anthems such as "Blowin' In The Wind" and "I Shall Be Released"...

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