50s Music

Elvis Presley – Love Me Tender (1956)

About the song

If you are a fan of Elvis Presley, you probably know his famous song “Love Me Tender”. But do you know the story behind this song and how it became one of his most beloved hits? In this blog post, we will explore the history of “Love Me Tender” and how it was inspired by a Civil War ballad.

The original melody of “Love Me Tender” was taken from a song called “Aura Lee”, which was composed by George R. Poulton and written by W. W. Fosdick in 1861. The song was about a beautiful young woman with golden hair and was popular among soldiers on both sides of the war. It was also sung at West Point and became a graduating class song with different lyrics.

In 1956, Elvis Presley was cast in his first movie, Love Me Tender, which was set during the Civil War. The musical director, Ken Darby, decided to use “Aura Lee” as the basis for a new song for Elvis to sing in the film. He wrote new lyrics with his wife Vera Matson, who was credited as a co-writer along with Elvis Presley, although Elvis did not contribute much to the songwriting process. Darby later said that he credited his wife because “she didn’t write it either”.

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Elvis recorded “Love Me Tender” on August 24, 1956, on the soundstage of the film with session musicians. He performed it on The Ed Sullivan Show on September 9, 1956, before the single and the movie were released. The song received more than a million advance orders and became a gold record before it even hit the shelves. It also reached No. 1 on both the Billboard and Cashbox charts in 1956.

“Love Me Tender” is a simple but heartfelt ballad that showcases Elvis’ tender voice and romantic appeal. It has become one of his signature songs and has been covered by many artists over the years. It has also been featured in many other films and TV shows, such as Die Hard 2, Honeymoon in Vegas, The Princess Diaries 2, and Ready or Not.


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