Elvis Presley was a lot of things - a singer, the world's greatest entertainer, an actor, the King of Rock 'n' Roll - but he was also a music fan.
Elvis loved all different kinds of music, from gospel to blues to rock 'n' roll to country. You could tell if Elvis loved a song you'd written and released because he'd cover it himself.
While Elvis sang plenty of songs written just for him, he also made a habit of covering songs he liked throughout his career. If he really liked your tune, you might hear it in concert or on an album.
In this series on the Graceland Blog, we're discussing some of the tunes that Elvis covered and made his own. Check out the first part of this series here.
Get to know a few of these songs a bit better - find out who wrote them, when Elvis covered them and more.
"Polk Salad Annie"
The documentary "Elvis: That's The Way It Is" was Elvis' first non-dramatic movie.
Louisiana native Tony Joe White wrote and performed the song in 1968. Elvis jumped on the tune quickly: He introduced the swamp rock jam to his live shows in 1969, and it quickly became a concert staple. You can find his live versions of "Polk Salad Annie" on albums like "On Stage," "Elvis: As Recorded at Madison Square Garden," and the "That's The Way It Is" soundtrack.
A number of artists have sang the story of "Polk Salad Annie," including Tom Jones and Los Lonely Boys.
"From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee," was released in May 1976.
This lovely, but sorrowful, song was first recorded in 1972 by Neil Sedaka, who co-wrote this song with Phil Cody. The Carpenters covered it a few years later in 1975 - which may be the best-known version of the song - and Elvis recorded it in February 1976.
Elvis recorded the song in the famous Jungle Room at Graceland. The track can be heard on the "From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee" album, as well as in the 2016 release, "Way Down in the Jungle Room," a compilation of Elvis' Jungle Room sessions.
Other artists who have tackled the song include Sheryl Crow, Johnny Mathis, The Searchers and Andy Williams. The lyrics are sometimes changed in a few of these versions, too.
"The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"
Other cover songs included on this album include "Hey Jude" and "Until It's Time for You to Go."
This moving love song was written by folk singer/songwriter Ewan MacColl for singer Peggy Seeger (who he later married).
Elvis, inspired by the Peter, Paul and Mary version, recorded his own take "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" in 1971 in Nashville. You can find Elvis' versions of the song on the FTD releases of "Elvis Now" and "Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis."
Roberta Flack made the song famous in 1972. Her version has been used in many movies and television shows, including "Mad Men," Clint Eastwood's directorial debut, "Play Misty For Me" and an X-Men movie. Numerous artists have recorded their own versions, including Johnny Cash, Leona Lewis, Celine Dion, Gordon Lightfoot, Harry Connick Jr. and George Michael.
"Why Me Lord"
Elvis' live album, "As Recorded Live in Memphis, Tennessee," was released in the summer of '74.
Elvis and J.D. Sumner & the Stamps covered this Kris Kristofferson gospel tune in March 1974 at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis - and that show became "Elvis as Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis." That show was a bit of a homecoming show for Elvis, as he hadn't performed in the Bluff City since 1961. Elvis introduced the song, calling it one of his favorites.
Kristofferson wrote and recorded "Why Me" in 1972, and it became one of his biggest hits. A number of country and gospel artists have recorded their own versions of "Why Me," including Merle Haggard, George Jones, Johnny Cash, the David Crowder Band and CeCe Winans.
Which of these tunes are your favorites? Remember - you can buy some of your favorite Elvis albums now on Shop Graceland.
Dig deep into Elvis' incredible career at Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum here at Graceland. You can see all of his Gold Records, his famous jumpsuits and much, much, much more - start planning your visit now!