About the song
If you are a fan of Elvis Presley, you might be familiar with his song “Poor Boy” from his first movie “Love Me Tender” in 1956. But do you know the history behind this song and how it was created? In this blog post, we will explore the origins and the meaning of this country pop tune that showcases Elvis’ versatility and charisma.
“Poor Boy” is credited to Elvis Presley and Vera Matson, the wife of Ken Darby, the principal writer and producer of the soundtrack for “Love Me Tender”. Darby was a well-known composer and arranger who worked on many Hollywood musicals, such as “The Wizard of Oz” and “The King and I”. He also wrote songs for Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra and others. Darby used his wife’s name as a pseudonym to share the royalties with Elvis, who was given co-writing credit as a condition of his contract with RCA Victor.
The song was recorded on August 24, 1956 at 20th Century Fox’s Stage One in Hollywood, along with three other songs for the movie: “Love Me Tender”, “We’re Gonna Move” and “Let Me”. The musicians who accompanied Elvis were Vito Mumolo on lead acoustic guitar, Luther Rountree on rhythm acoustic guitar, Dom Frontieri on accordion, Mike Rubin on double bass and Richard Cornell on drums. The backing vocals were provided by Rad Robinson, Jon Dodson and Charles Prescott.
“Poor Boy” is a simple but catchy song that tells the story of a humble man who is happy with his life despite his poverty. He has no money or possessions, but he has love and faith. He sings: “They call me poor boy, poor boy, poor boy / But I ain’t lonesome and I ain’t blue / ‘Cause I could never be a poor boy / As long as I have a darlin’ like you”. The song reflects Elvis’ own humble origins and his gratitude for his success and his fans.
The song was featured in the movie “Love Me Tender”, which was released by 20th Century Fox on November 15, 1956. The movie was a Western drama set during the American Civil War, starring Richard Egan, Debra Paget and Elvis Presley in his acting debut. Elvis played Clint Reno, one of four brothers who join the Confederate Army. He falls in love with his brother’s fiancée, Cathy (Paget), while he is presumed dead. The movie was originally titled “The Reno Brothers”, but it was changed to “Love Me Tender” after the popularity of the title song.
The soundtrack for “Love Me Tender” was released as an RCA Victor EP in November 1956. It contained the four songs from the movie, which were all sung by Elvis. The EP was certified Platinum by the RIAA and reached No. 10 on the Billboard EP chart and No. 22 on the Billboard 200 album chart. “Poor Boy” reached No. 35 on the Billboard pop singles chart in December 1956, in an 11-week chart run.
“Poor Boy” is one of Elvis’ lesser-known songs, but it is a charming and heartfelt expression of his personality and talent. It showcases his ability to sing different genres and styles, from rock and roll to country to gospel. It also demonstrates his charisma and appeal as a movie star and a singer. “Poor Boy” is a song that deserves more recognition and appreciation from Elvis fans and music lovers alike.