Covered by Elvis Presley

There’s an art to covering someone else’s song. Whether you stick to the original or create an entirely new arrangement, it’s up to you to put your own stamp on it. Elvis Presley could take any song and make it his own. Elvis’ catalog included songs written especially for him and a collection of cover songs, and no matter what he sang, he always put that special ‘Elvis’ touch on each and every song. He loved all genres of music and sang songs he loved, songs that meant something to him. If Elvis covered your song, it was like the ultimate compliment. It meant he was a fan of your work. Elvis covered many terrific songs, but for this week’s Graceland Blog, we’ll take a look at just a few fan-favorite covers and covers that meant a lot to Elvis. “See See Rider” Is it C.C. Rider or See See Rider? Either way, it’s been around a while. This traditional blues song was originally recorded as “C.C. Rider” by William Lee Conley, or as he was better known, Big Bill Broonzy, in the 1920s. Ma Rainey made it popular in 1925 as the “See See Rider Blues,” and both Ma Rainey and Big Bill’s versions are much slower than Elvis’ version. Once rock bands took a hold of the song, they sped it up a bit. Both The Animals and Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels covered the song (as both “See See” and “C.C.” respectively). LaVern Baker’s 1962 version is sped up, too, but it’s also bluesy. Elvis’ version is maybe the most energetic version of them all. The king took plenty of cues from Baker’s version when he and his band readied it for his tours. Elvis actually never recorded “See See Rider” for an album, but it was used in his live concerts. You can hear Elvis’ versions of “See See Rider” on “Aloha from Hawaii” and “Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis,” to name a few. “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” If you think of “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” chances are you think of Elvis’ version, or Willie Nelson’s version, or both. The beautiful country song was written by Fred Rose, who wrote a number of country hits, including a few tunes written with Hank Williams. Roy Acuff first recorded the song in 1947, and Willie Nelson recorded his slower version...
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Elvis Presley’s #1 Hits

Elvis Presley had a lot of hit singles. A lot. Seriously. A lot. If you’ve ever visited Graceland, you’ve no doubt been a little blown away by Elvis’ countless Gold, Diamond and Platinum Records. It’s fun to pick out your favorite songs on the walls and even snap a selfie with your favorite Gold Record. To celebrate Elvis’ iconic and groundbreaking music, we’re going to cover Elvis’ #1 hits here on the Graceland Blog. We’ll share the backstory of each song, who played on it, where it landed on various charts and more. We’ll tackle a few at a time, and every few months or so. Here are the stories of a few of Elvis’ #1s, picked at random. “Don’t Be Cruel” “Don’t be cruel to a heart that’s true I don’t want no other love, baby, it’s just you I’m thinking of…” Elvis recorded this song at RCA Studios in New York on July 2, 1956. The track was written by Otis Blackwell. Elvis’ manager, Col. Tom Parker, struck a deal so that Elvis would receive a cut of the publishing ownership on many songs he recorded, so Elvis’ name appears in the writing credits for “Don’t Be Cruel.” Elvis was not happy with that deal, however, so soon this practice was scrapped. For “Don’t Be Cruel,” Elvis was backed by his band: Scotty Moore on guitar, Bill Black on bass and D.J. Fontana on drums. Shorty Long played piano, and The Jordanaires performed backing vocal duties. Ernie Ulrich was the engineer. Elvis asked for personal copies of the acetates from this recording so he could study them. He wanted to make sure his live performances had the same feel as his recordings. The single “Don’t Be Cruel” shipped on July 13, 1956 (remember – he’d only recorded it 11 days earlier). It sold so quickly that five gold records were given to Elvis on one plaque. “Don’t Be Cruel” hit #1 on all three major U.S. charts, and it was #1 on Billboard’s pop single charts for 11 weeks, staying a total of 27 weeks on the chart. It also landed at #1 on the country singles chart, where it stayed for 10 weeks, with a total of 28 weeks on the chart. It stayed at #1 on the R&B singles chart for a week and spent 17 weeks on the chart. In 2002, “Don’t Be Cruel”...
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Trivia: Elvis Presley’s 1957

Last year on the Graceland Blog, we focused quite a bit on Elvis Presley’s 1956 and his many accomplishments made during that year. But as we all know, Elvis’ incredible shot to stardom didn’t end in that year. He enjoyed many more successes in 1957, including making more movies, purchasing Graceland and recording more music. How well do you know Elvis’ 1957? Take the quiz below, and stay tuned to the Graceland Blog this year. We’ll highlight many of these milestones, as well as other important anniversaries from Elvis’ legendary life and career. Before you take the quiz, don’t forget to go head over to Graceland.com and book your visit to the king’s castle. If you want to learn everything about Elvis, Graceland is the place to...
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What’s Happening at Elvis Presley’s Graceland in 2017

We have a busy year ahead of us here at Elvis Presley’s Graceland. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ passing and fans from around the world will be traveling to Graceland to honor his life and legacy. In addition to our annual celebrations, we’re anticipating the largest Elvis Week ever, and we’re opening up our new entertainment complex, Elvis Presley’s Memphis. Nothing but the best for the king, right? Here’s what you can expect at Graceland in 2017. Elvis Presley’s Memphis Do you love Elvis? Do you want to learn more about him and his career? Of course you do. You won’t want to miss Elvis Presley’s Memphis, our new, state-of-the-art entertainment complex, which will open March 2-5, 2017, across the street from the Graceland Mansion. It’s five times the size of our current visitors center, which it will replace. This $45 million, 200,000 square-foot complex is Graceland’s largest and most significant expansion since first opening to the public in 1982. Inside the Graceland mansion, you can explore the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s home life, from his lush living room to the famous Jungle Room. But at Elvis Presley’s Memphis, you can explore every facet of his astonishing career, thanks to new museums, exhibits and “Discovery” spaces. The cornerstone of the Elvis Presley’s Memphis experience will be “Elvis: The Entertainer,” a 20,000-square-foot museum celebrating Elvis’ music, movie and live touring career.  This museum will feature hundreds of artifacts from the extensive Graceland Archives, from Elvis’ early days in Tupelo, Mississippi, through his first recording session in Memphis, rise to fame, Hollywood career, service in the U.S. Army, life at Graceland, the Las Vegas years and more.  “Elvis: The Entertainer” will be the largest and most comprehensive Elvis museum in the world. A signature exhibition will present the incredible story of music visionary and legendary producer Sam Phillips, who essentially created Rock ‘n’ Roll and discovered so many incredible artists at Memphis Recording Service/Sun Records. Graceland will partner with the Phillips family to develop an extensive exhibition that showcases Sam’s life and work in an unprecedented and engaging way. Featuring rare artifacts, photos, videos and documents from the Phillips family archives, the exhibition will shine a light on the great artists that Sam produced, starting with the early blues recordings that profoundly influenced Elvis and continues to impact the music of today. A 20,000-square-foot “Graceland Soundstage” is also part of Elvis...
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Elvis Presley on Ed Sullivan: ‘The First Big Bang’

Sixty years ago today, one television appearance changed the world as we know it. Elvis Presley’s third and final appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” took place on January 6, 1957. The almost 22-year-old had spent the previous year topping the charts, starring in his first movie and causing a stir on several other television appearances. For that final “Ed Sullivan Show” appearance, he was only shown from the waist up for all of his performances except for his performance of “Peace in the Valley.” Sixty years later, we’re still talking about Elvis on “Ed Sullivan.” People often forget that Elvis was on the show three times, and that only his last appearance was “waist up,” but the fact that he was filmed that way for any performance gave him a cool, dangerous, rebellious – truly, a rock ‘n’ roll – reputation. Whether it’s some version of the “filmed from the waist up” story, or just about the rawness and energy of all three of his performances, Elvis’ appearances on “Sullivan” are still heralded as some of the most pivotal moments in the history of both television and pop culture. Elvis’ “Ed Sullivan” performances influenced hundreds of young musicians, thrilled an entire generation of teenagers and rocked the status quo. And while Elvis deserves all of the credit for his powerful performances, another reason Elvis’ appearances were so impactful was a bit of “right place, right time.” As a society, America was ready for a thrill and a shock, and the new television technology brought Elvis right into millions of homes. Producer, writer and director Andrew Solt, who owns “The Ed Sullivan Show” library and who wrote and directed the documentary “This is Elvis,” spoke with the Graceland Blog about why Elvis’ “Ed Sullivan Show” appearances were so important to his career, to the show and to the world. Solt is one of our special guests for Elvis’ Birthday Celebration at Graceland. Picture it: America, 1956. “It was post-World War II when (Elvis) hit the scene. In the mid-50s, it was a kind of sleepy America,” Solt said. “Most people were trying to get into a two-bedroom house with a garage. Life was kind of calm, but there was this brewing rebellion, and Elvis represented that.” Sullivan’s show, which ran from 1948-1971, featured all kinds of entertainers and guests, from musicians like Elvis to comedians, Broadway performers, opera singers,...
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