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Love Me Tender (song): Wikis


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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 Soft Rock
Length 2:41
Label RCA Records
Writer(s) Vera Matson, Elvis Presley (credited); George R. Poulton, Ken Darby (uncredited)
Producer Ernie Oelhrich, Thorne Norgar
Elvis Presley singles chronology
"Shake, Rattle and Roll"
"Love Me Tender"
"Too Much"
"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) Vera Matson, Elvis Presley
Richard Chamberlain singles chronology
"Theme From Dr. Kildare (Three Stars Will Shine Tonight)"
"Love Me Tender"
"All I Have to Do Is Dream" / "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo"

"Love Me Tender" is a song sung by Elvis Presley, adapted from the tune of "Aura Lee" (or "Aura Lea"), a sentimental Civil War ballad with music by George R. Poulton and words by W.W. Fosdick. "Aura Lee" was published in 1861 and this Civil War song 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.

The King performed "Love Me Tender" on the The Ed Sullivan Show 9 September 1956, shortly before the single's release and about a month before the movie, Love Me Tender, was released, for which the song was originally recorded. (This was Presley's only movie that he died in.) On the following day, RCA received 1 million advance orders for the song, 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 to "Love Me Tender" to capitalize on the song's popularity.

Movie producer Hal Wallis would not allow Presley's regular band made up of 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, but 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.[2] As with nearly all his 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.


Elvis Presley recording

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 [3]. 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 at the time; 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 forty-eight weeks 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 used the same melody as "Aura Lee", the source song for "Love Me Tender".

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).

Other Recordings

  • Richard Chamberlain reached no. 21 on the Billboard Pop singles chart with his version when it was released as a single in 1962 on MGM.
  • Percy Sledge had a Top 40 hit with a cover version in 1967, going to no. 40 on the US Billboard Pop chart, no. 35 on the R&B chart, and no. 35 on the Canadian chart.
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


  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 9780316332255
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 467. 

External links

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