In this new section of the Elvis Telegraph we want to invite our readers to mail us their review of an Elvis cover and tell us why they like, or dislike it. This can be done from two points of view, a song made famous by Elvis and covered by another artist, or a famous song covered by Elvis. The intention of this series is not to start a discussion, but to have a reader share his personal view on one of the King's covers.
In this first King’s Cover we will give an example for both points of view.
Starting with Elvis’ cover of Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline (on the On Stage album)
Elvis never recorded a studio version of this song; he only played it live. Listening to Neil Diamond you miss something in this beautiful song, the emotion. This is exactly what Elvis added to the song one year later, but of course we are a bit prejudiced. Neil just tells about finding happiness, with Elvis we really hear the relief of finding it. How we wish Elvis recorded a few more Diamond-songs than this one and "And the Grass Won’t Pay No Mind".
The second example we want to give you, is a lot harder to come up with … not many covers can live up to the version recorded by Elvis. But we think we have found a good one. Always On My Mind covered by The Pet Shop Boys.
Listening to the Pet Shop Boys version you recognise the song immediately because of the lyrics, even though their version is a dancefloor hit in stead of the tender love song Elvis originally recorded. Most of all it was a big relief after the Willie Nelson rape of this song. The Pet Shop Boys’ version replaced Elvis’ sad emotion with a joyful dancebeat, keeping the melancholic feeling of the original by the way Neil Tennant "sings" this song.
"Quite why we ever agreed to perform one of Elvis’ hits for a TV-show is lost in the mists of time. But this was the song we chose and recorded in a version that was meant to sound as unlike as Elvis Presley as possible. Everyone said, "it should be a single", and so it became the British Christmas number one in 1987." Pet Shop Boys 1991.
Of course the above reflects our opinion on both songs, but it just an example how we would like to see your contribution to this column.