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“Love Me Tender” is a 1956 song recorded by Elvis Presley and published by Elvis Presley Music from the 20th Century Fox film of the same name. The words and music are credited to Ken Darby under the pseudonym “Vera Matson”, the name of his wife, and Elvis Presley. The RCA Victor recording by Elvis Presley was no. 1 on both the Billboard and Cashbox charts in 1956. […]
The 1956 song “Love Me Tender” puts new words to a new musical adaptation of the Civil War song “Aura Lee,” published in 1861. “Aura Lee” had music by George R. Poulton and words by W. W. Fosdick. It 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 principal writer of the lyrics was Ken Darby, who also adapted Poulton’s Civil War tune, which was in the public domain. The song was published by Elvis Presley Music. and credited to Presley and Darby’s wife Vera Matson. 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 had songwriting input on only a very small number of the many songs he recorded. When asked why he credited his wife as co-songwriter along with Presley, Darby responded, “Because she didn’t write it either.”
As with nearly all his early RCA recordings, Presley took control in the studio despite not being credited as producer. He would regularly change arrangements and lyrics to the point that the original song was barely recognizable. Ken Darby described Elvis Presley’s role in the creation of the song: “He adjusted the music and the lyrics to his own particular presentation. Elvis has the most terrific ear of anyone I have ever met. He does not read music, but he does not need to. All I had to do was play the song for him once, and he made it his own! He has perfect judgment of what is right for him. He exercised that judgment when he chose ‘Love Me Tender’ as his theme song.”
Paul McCartney played this song during the rehearsals for his 1991 “Unplugged” concert. This rehearsal was officially broadcast as part of the 1995 Oobu Joobu radio show.
Last updated on June 22, 2019
Unofficial live • Released in 2016
0:49 • Studio rehearsal • L1
- Session Recording:
- January 1991
- The Barn, Hog Hill, Rye, UK
Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.