Love Me Tender (song)

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"Love Me Tender"
Single by Elvis Presley
B-side "Any Way You Want Me"
Released October 6, 1956
Format 7" single
Recorded August 24, 1956
Genre Country
Length 2:41
Label RCA Records
Writer(s) Elvis Presley
George R. Poulton
Ken Darby (uncredited)
Vera Matson (pseudonym of Ken Darby)
Producer(s) Ernie Oelhrich
Thorne Norgar
Elvis Presley singles chronology
"Shake, Rattle and Roll"
(1956)
"Love Me Tender"
(1956)
"Too Much"
(1957)
"Love Me Tender"
Single by Richard Chamberlain
from the album Richard Chamberlain Sings
B-side "All I Do Is Dream of You"
Released 1962
Format 7" single
Label MGM Records
Writer(s) Elvis Presley, Vera Matson
Richard Chamberlain singles chronology
"Theme From Dr. Kildare (Three Stars Will Shine Tonight)"
(1962)
"Love Me Tender"
(1962)
"All I Have to Do Is Dream" / "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo"
(1963)

"Love Me Tender" is a 1956 song recorded by Elvis Presley and published by Elvis Presley Music from the eponymous 20th Century Fox film. The words and music are credited to Ken Darby under the pseudonym "Vera Matson", the name of his wife, and Elvis Presley. The RCA Victor recording by Elvis Presley was no. 1 on both the Billboard and Cashbox charts in 1956. The song was adapted from the tune of "Aura Lee" (or "Aura Lea"), a sentimental Civil War ballad.

History[edit]

The 1956 song "Love Me Tender" puts new words to a new musical adaptation of the Civil War song "Aura Lee," published in 1861. "Aura Lee" had music by George R. Poulton and words by W. W. Fosdick. It later became popular with college glee clubs and barbershop quartets. It was also sung at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

Elvis Presley performed "Love Me Tender" (the updated "Aura Lee") on The Ed Sullivan Show on September 9, 1956, shortly before the single's release and about a month before the movie, Love Me Tender (for which the reworded song was originally written) was released. On the following day, RCA received 1 million advance orders, making it a gold record before it was even released. The studio, 20th Century Fox, originally wanted to call the movie The Reno Brothers but instead re-titled it Love Me Tender to capitalize on the song's popularity.

Movie producer David Weisbart would not allow Presley's regular band (Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and D.J. Fontana) to play on the soundtrack. Instead, The Ken Darby Trio provided the musical backing with Red Robinson on drums, Charles Prescott on bass, Vita Mumolo on guitar, and Jon Dodson on background vocals, with Presley providing only lead vocals.

The song is credited to Presley and Vera Matson because of the publishing agreement reached for the assignment of royalties (Presley had songwriting input on only a very small number of the many songs he recorded). The principal writer of the lyrics was Ken Darby (Matson's husband). The song was published by Elvis Presley Music.[1] Darby also adapted the Civil War tune, which was in the public domain. When asked why he credited his wife as co-songwriter along with Presley, Darby responded, "Because she didn't write it either."

Presley received co-songwriting credit due to his Hill & Range publishing deal which demanded songwriters concede 50 percent of the credit of their song if they wanted Presley to record it; Presley never wrote any of his own songs according to Peter Guralnick.[2] But he did co-write "You'll Be Gone" and "That's Someone You Never Forget". As with nearly all his early RCA recordings, Presley took control in the studio despite not being credited as producer. He would regularly change arrangements and lyrics to the point the original song was barely recognizable. This, arguably, justified the cowriting credit in this case.[3]

Ken Darby described Elvis Presley's role in the creation of the song: "He adjusted the music and the lyrics to his own particular presentation. Elvis has the most terrific ear of anyone I have ever met. He does not read music, but he does not need to. All I had to do was play the song for him once, and he made it his own! He has perfect judgment of what is right for him. He exercised that judgment when he chose 'Love Me Tender' as his theme song."[4]

Ken Darby and Elvis Presley working on the soundtrack recordings for the 20th Century Fox film Love Me Tender, Hollywood, 1956.

Elvis Presley recording[edit]

The single debuted at #2 on the "Best Sellers in Stores" pop singles chart, the first time a single made its first appearance at the #2 position.[5]

The song hit #1 on the Billboard charts the week ending November 3, 1956, remaining in the position for 5 weeks and reached no. 11 on the charts in the UK. "Love Me Tender" also reached number three for three weeks on the R&B chart.[6] It was also an achievement as "Love Me Tender" succeeded another Presley single, "Hound Dog/Don't Be Cruel" at #1. This occurrence marked two important events in Billboard history. During this time, Elvis accomplished another record; the longest consecutive stay at number one by a single artist, sixteen weeks, though this was tied by Boyz II Men in 1994 and stood for eight years until being surpassed by R&B singer Usher in 2004 who spent 19 weeks at the top of the charts.

This version was ranked #437 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

In 1968, Presley recorded a 52-second track entitled "Violet (Flower of N.Y.U.)" for the soundtrack of the film The Trouble with Girls. Unreleased until after Presley's death, the song was Presley's second adaptation of "Aura Lee".

Although Presley never re-recorded "Love Me Tender" in a studio setting, two live recordings of the song were released on the albums: NBC-TV Special (1968) and Elvis: As Recorded at Madison Square Garden (1972), with additional performances from concert and television appearances being released after Presley's death. The song was also performed in the Golden Globe-winning concert film Elvis on Tour (1972). As seen in that film, and in other filmed and recorded accounts, Presley generally performed only a portion of the song's lyrics live, instead usually using the song as a device to interact with (usually) female members of the audience.

Versions[edit]

  • Love Me Tender - 2:41 - Recorded Aug 24, 1956
  • Love Me Tender (End title version) - 1:08 - Recorded Oct 01, 1956
  • Love Me Tender (Unreleased stereo version) - 2:42 - Recorded Aug 24, 1956

The 1997 compact disc reissue with bonus tracks of the Jailhouse Rock EP contains these three versions.

Other recordings[edit]

Preceded by
Don't Be Cruel
Cash Box magazine best selling record chart
#1 record

October 27, 1956–November 24, 1956
Succeeded by
"Singing the Blues" by Guy Mitchell
Preceded by
"Green Door" by Jim Lowe
Billboard Top 100 number-one single
November 24, 1956 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Singing the Blues" by Guy Mitchell

References[edit]

  1. ^ Roger Lee Hall, Free As The Breeze: Confestions of a Struggling Songwriter, PineTree Press, 2007, p.98.
  2. ^ Peter Guralnick, Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley, Little, Brown & Company, 1995, ISBN 978-0-316-33225-5
  3. ^ Love Me Tender recording sessions.
  4. ^ Love Me Tender recording sessions.
  5. ^ "Billboard: 20 Oct 1956". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 1956-10-20. Retrieved 2013-02-20. 
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 467. 
  7. ^ Song title 834 - Love Me Tender. tsort.info.
  8. ^ Love Me Tender. Second Hand Songs.
  9. ^ http://www.billboard.com/album/original-soundtrack/the-princess-diaries-2-royal-engagement/643088#/album/original-soundtrack/the-princess-diaries-2-royal-engagement/643088
  10. ^ Nakashima, Ryan (October 14, 2008). "Sony BMG split-up gives Sony more options". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 

External links[edit]