Ten Classic Covers of Elvis Presley's Hit Songs

Updated on January 28, 2019
MarshFish profile image

Marshall Fish is currently a remote trivia writer for Hasbro, Screenlife Games, and other pop culture websites.

Source

When it comes to influential musical icons, Elvis Presley has to be at the top of the list. Over the past several decades, numerous artists have recorded or performed their own versions of his famous songs. So, climb aboard the “Mystery Train” and check out ten of the best interpretations of "The King’s" hits in chronological order.

Classic Covers of Elvis Presley's Hit Songs

  1. “Love Me Tender” by Linda Ronstadt, 1978
  2. “Little Sister” by Rockpile with Robert Plant, 1979
  3. “Suspicious Minds” by Fine Young Cannibals, 1985
  4. “Don’t Be Cruel” by The Judds, 1987
  5. “Always On My Mind” by Pet Shop Boys, 1987
  6. “Viva Las Vegas” by Bruce Springsteen, 1990
  7. “All Shook Up” by Paul McCartney, 1999
  8. “Blue Moon of Kentucky” by Ricky Skaggs featuring John Fogerty, 2000
  9. “That’s Alright Mama” by Scotty Moore and Eric Clapton, 2005

1. “Love Me Tender” by Linda Ronstadt, 1978

This is a beautiful rendition of the famous song from Presley’s first movie. This song has also been covered by such artists as Frank Sinatra, Merle Haggard, B.B. King, and Amy Grant. Following Presley’s passing, Ronstadt began performing “Love Me Tender” in concert as a tribute to him. She would later record the track for her American chart topping Living in the USA album. Ronstadt’s version featured herself, Waddy Wachtel on acoustic guitar and harmony vocals, and Don Grolnick on organ.

2. “Little Sister” by Rockpile with Robert Plant, 1979

During the last month of the 1970s, a series of benefit concerts were held in London to provide monetary help for the victims of war-torn Cambodia. Paul McCartney and Wings were the headline act on December 29th, the final night of the shows. Elvis Costello and the Attractions and Rockpile, featuring Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds, also performed short sets that evening. Robert Plant joined Rockpile on stage to sing lead on “Little Sister,” the b-side of Presley’s 1961 single “(Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame.” Rockpile’s Edmunds and Billy Bremner provided nice guitar work, with an enthusiastic vocal from Plant. The Rockpile and Plant performance was released on 1981’s double vinyl album The Concerts for The People of Kampuchea. Ry Cooder released a studio version of “Little Sister” in 1979 as well.

3. “Suspicious Minds” by Fine Young Cannibals, 1985

The group, made up of singer Roland Gift and former Beat members Andy Cox and David Steele, had major success with their 1988 album, The Raw and the Cooked, featuring the hit single “She Drives Me Crazy.” Three years earlier, on their self-titled debut album, they recorded a cover of Presley’s last number one single on the U.S. Billboard charts, “Suspicious Minds.” With a twangin’ guitar from Cox and orchestration and background vocals by ex-Bronski Beat and Communards singer Jimmy Somerville, the FYC’s rendition would go to number eight on the U.K. singles chart. The song was first written and recorded by Mark James in 1968, with Presley’s version released the next year.

4. “Don’t Be Cruel” by The Judds, 1987

This version of Presley's 1956 number one hit featured understated, pleasant singing from the mother/daughter duo of Diana Ellen Judd (Naomi) and Christina Ciminella (Wynonna). Backing vocals were provided by The Jordanaires, who appeared on Presley's studio sessions from 1957 to 1970. The 1987 Judds recording peaked at number 10 on Billboard’s Hot Country Chart. The tune was also covered by Cheap Trick, who's version reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1988.

5. “Always on My Mind” by Pet Shop Boys, 1987

In 2014, a BBC music poll named this track as the best cover version ever. Pet Shop Boys duo Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe took Presley's 1972 country ballad and added their own synth-pop touch to the song. The Pet Shop Boys' recording took place following their performance of the tune on 1987’s “Love Me Tender” ITV-UK special, which commemorated the 10th anniversary of Presley’s passing. Tennant and Lowe’s version of “Always on My Mind” topped the U.K. singles chart for four weeks in December 1987. It also reached the top five in the U.S. Four years earlier, Willie Nelson’s rendition of the tune won the Grammy award for Song of the Year.

6. “Viva Las Vegas” by Bruce Springsteen, 1990

"The Boss" covers "The King." In 1990, the U.K.’s New Musical Express released a charity album, “The Last Temptation of Elvis,” to benefit London’s Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Centre. McCartney, Daryl Hall and John Oates, Aaron Neville, and Dion DiMucci were among the artists offering their renditions of the Presley's classics. Springsteen’s track was the title song from Presley’s 15th film. Springsteen sang and played guitar on the track, accompanied by Ian McLagan on piano and organ, Bob Glaub on bass, and Jeff Porcaro on drums.

Springsteen, by the way, is no stranger to performing Presley tunes. “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Good Rockin’ Tonight,” “Burning Love,” and a rearranged version of “Follow That Dream” (with different lyrics) have shown up on his setlists many times over the years.

7. “All Shook Up” by Paul McCartney, 1999

Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and The Pirates' Mick Green back up McCartney on guitar for this rollicking version of Presley’s number one U.S. and U.K. hit from 1957. This version is taken from McCartney’s Run Devil Run album. This release was seen as a return to his roots. It also featured the ex-Beatle’s take on Presley's “I Got Stung” and “Party.” A live recording of McCartney performing “All Shook Up” in 1999 at Liverpool’s Cavern Club was included on the 2007 U.K. compilation CD set The Cavern-The Most Famous Club in The World. Billy Joel also covered “All Shook Up” on the 1992 Honeymoon in Vegas movie soundtrack.

8. “Blue Moon of Kentucky” by Ricky Skaggs featuring John Fogerty, 2000

The tune, the official bluegrass song of Kentucky, was first recorded in 1946 by Bill Monroe as a waltz. Eight years later, Presley cut his version of the song at Sun Studios in Memphis, and it became the flip side of the “That’s Alright Mama” single. “Blue Moon of Kentucky” has been covered by McCartney, Patsy Cline, Ray Charles, and others. Skaggs and Fogerty’s rendition can be found on a salute to Monroe titled “Big Mon: The Songs of Bill Monroe.” It begins with Monroe’s original recording, segueing into Skaggs and Fogerty’s rockabilly style version. In addition, Kayton Roberts, a former member of Hank Snow's Rainbow Ranch Boys Band, plays some tasty steel guitar on the Fogerty track.

9. “That’s Alright Mama” by Scotty Moore and Eric Clapton, 2005

In December 2004, London’s Abbey Road Studios was the site for a one-time tribute concert to The King led by his first lead guitarist, Scotty Moore. Moore was joined at Abbey Road by such musicians as Mark Knopfler, Ronnie Wood, and David Gilmour. On this track, Eric Clapton handled the vocals and played acoustic guitar, while Moore contributed lead guitar. Clapton was relaxed and definitely enjoyed performing with Moore, as seen in the video below. Bill Wyman’s group, The Rhythm Kings, were the backing band for the concert. The performance was released on the 2005 Bear Family Label French CD, Scotty Moore & Friends: Hommage Au Roi Du Rock'n'Roll—Live At Abbey Road, as well as on the Universal Music DVD, A Tribute To The King.

10. “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Chris Isaak, 2011

The “Wicked Game” singer does a fine rendition of the song from Presley’s 1961 film Blue Hawaii. The tune’s melody is based on the 1784 French love song “Plaisir d’amour,” by Jean-Paul Egide Martini. Isaak recorded the track at Sun Studio in Memphis, where Presley set down his first music to disc. Isaak’s musical interpretation was part of the cover album Beyond the Sun, a tribute to Sun Records artists Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

UB40 had a U.S. and U.K. number one hit with their 1993 cover of the song.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Marshall Fish

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, spinditty.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://spinditty.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)