Little Sister (as made famous by Elvis Presley)

“Little Sister” is a rock and roll song written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman.[1] It was originally released as a single in 1961 by American singer Elvis Presley, who enjoyed a No. 5 hit with it on the Billboard Hot 100. The single (as a double A-side with “(Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame”) also reached No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart.[3] Lead guitar was played by Hank Garland, with backing vocals by the Jordanaires featuring the distinctive bass voice of Ray Walker.

Presley performs the song as part of a medley with “Get Back” in the 1970 rockumentary film Elvis: That’s the Way It Is. The song would later be covered by such artists as Dwight Yoakam, Robert Plant, The Nighthawks, The Staggers, Pearl Jam, and Ry Cooder. Cooder’s version was a number-one hit in New Zealand.[4]

The song lyric makes mention of “Jim Dandy” which was the title of a 1956 song “Jim Dandy” by LaVern Baker. An answer song to “Little Sister”, with the same melody but different lyrics, was recorded and released under the title “Hey, Memphis” by Baker on Atlantic Records (Atlantic 2119-A) in September 1961.

Acoustic guitar, Scotty Moore
Electric guitar, Hank Garland
Bass, Bob Moore
Drums, D. J. Fontana and Buddy Harman
Organ, Floyd Cramer
Vocals, The Jordanaires

Rubberneckin’ (as made famous by Elvis Presley)

“Rubberneckin'” is a song performed by Elvis Presley, which was recorded at American Sound Studio. It was used in the film Change of Habit and subsequently issued as the B-side of “Don’t Cry Daddy” (RCA single 47-9768) in conjunction with the movie premiere.[1] It reached number six in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969.[2]

Polk Salad Annie (as made famous by Elvis Presley)

“Polk Salad Annie” is a 1968 song written and performed by Tony Joe White.[1] It was recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Its lyrics describe the lifestyle of a poor rural Southern girl and her family. Traditionally, the term to describe the type of food highlighted in the song is polk or poke sallet, a cooked greens dish made from pokeweed.[2] Its 1969 single release peaked at Number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100. In Canada, the song made #10 on the RPM Magazine Hot Singles chart. Elvis Presley also made the song very popular as well.

The song vividly recreates the Southern roots of White’s childhood and his music reflects this earthy rural background. As a child he listened not only to local bluesmen and country singers but also to the Cajun music of Louisiana, that rare hybrid of traditional musical styles introduced by French settlers at the turn of the century.

His roots lie in the swamplands of Oak Grove, Louisiana, where he was born in 1943. Situated just west of the Mississippi River, it’s a land of cottonfields, where pokeweed, or “polk” grows wild, and alligators lurk in moss-covered swamps. “I spent the first 18 years of my life down there,” said White. “My folks raised cotton and corn. There were lotsa times when there weren’t too much to eat, and I ain’t ashamed to admit that we’ve often whipped up a mess of polk sallet. Tastes alright too.. a bit like spinach.”[3]

Sallet is an old English word that means “cooked greens,”[4] not to be mistaken for “salad”; in fact, a great many cases of pokeweed poisoning result from this linguistic mistake.[citation needed] While it may be that record companies labeled the song “salad,” the dish in question was a “sallet” made of pokeweed.[citation needed]

In a January 17, 2014 interview with music journalist Ray Shasho, Tony Joe White explained the thought process behind the writing of “Polk Salad Annie” and “Rainy Night in Georgia.”

I heard “Ode to Billie Joe” on the radio and I thought, man, how real, because I am Billie Joe, I know that life. I’ve been in the cotton fields. So I thought if I ever tried to write, I’m going to write about something I know about. At that time I was doing a lot of Elvis and John Lee Hooker onstage with my drummer. No original songs and I hadn’t really thought about it. But after I heard Bobbie Gentry I sat down and thought … well I know about polk because I had ate a bunch of it and I knew about rainy nights because I spent a lot of rainy nights in Marietta, Georgia. So I was real lucky with my first tries to write something that was not only real and hit pretty close to the bone, but lasted that long. So it was kind of a guide for me then on through life to always try to write what I know about.[This quote needs a citation]

The single, released in 1969 by Monument Records[5] had been out nine months before it finally charted, and had been written off by Monument as a failure. Said White: “They had done given up on it, but we kept getting all these people in Texas coming to the clubs and buying the record. So we would send up to Nashville saying, ‘Send us a thousand more this week.’ They would send us these ‘Do Not Sell’ examples, so we would have to sit down and mark out the ‘Do Not Sell’ and then send them to the record stores. All these stores in South Texas kept calling our house saying, ‘We need more.’ So we just kept hanging on. And finally a guy in L.A. picked it up and got it across. Otherwise, ‘Polk’ could have been lost forever.”[6][better source needed]

Elvis Presley picked up the song, and it became a staple of his live performances of the early 1970s.[13][better source needed] He recorded it, and it became the only version of “Polk Salad Annie” to chart in the UK and Ireland.

If I Can Dream (as made famous by Elvis Presley)

“If I Can Dream” is a song made famous by Elvis Presley, written by Walter Earl Brown[1] and notable for its direct quotations of Martin Luther King, Jr. The song was published by Elvis Presley’s music publishing company Gladys Music, Inc. It was recorded by Presley in June 1968, two months after King’s assassination. The recording was first released to the public as the finale of Presley’s ’68 Comeback Special.

Although the song is not technically gospel music, Presley performed the song with the intensity and intonations of southern gospel. It has since appeared on various Presley gospel and/or inspirational compilations.[2]

Brown was asked to write a song to replace “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” as the grand finale on NBC’s “Elvis” (June 20–23, 1968). He wrote “If I Can Dream”, and when Presley heard it he proclaimed “I’m never going to sing another song I don’t believe in. I’m never going to make another picture I don’t believe in.”[3]

The song was published by Elvis Presley’s company Gladys Music, Inc.

When Colonel Tom Parker heard the song demonstrated by Earl Brown, he said: “This ain’t Elvis’ kind of song.” Elvis was also there, unbeknownst to him, and he said: “I’d like to try it, man.” Earl Brown said that when Elvis recorded the song, Brown saw tears rolling down the cheeks of the three back up singers. One of them whispered to him: “Elvis has never sung with so much emotion before. He means every word.”[4]

Band-related errors prevented the first take from becoming the master. After filming for the TV special was completed for its eventual editing, then broadcast in December of the year, the song was released as a single – “If I Can Dream / Edge of Reality” – in November 1968. It charted on Billboard’s Hot 100 for 13 weeks, peaking at #12, with more than one million sales;[3] though the RIAA has only certified the song as gold (500,000 units shipped) as of March 27, 1992.[5] In Canada the song peaked at 6 on RPM’s top singles chart, lasting more than several weeks.[6]

A Fool Such As I (as made famous by Elvis Presley)

“(Now and Then There’s) A Fool Such as I” is a popular song written by Bill Trader and was published in 1952. Recorded as a single by Hank Snow it peaked at number four on the US country charts [1] early in 1953.

Since the original Snow version, “Fool Such as I”—as the song is sometimes known—has been recorded and released as singles several times, by artists as diverse as Jo Stafford, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and Baillie & the Boys.[2]

A recording by Elvis Presley, initially released as B-side to “I Need Your Love Tonight”, was an even bigger hit, reaching number one in the UK and number two in the United States (1959). It became a platinum record.

The song was recorded on June 10, 1958 at RCA’s Studio B, Nashville, while Presley was on leave from the Army.[4] The recording featured guitar by Hank Garland, Chet Atkins and Presley, bass by Bob Moore, drums by D. J. Fontana and Buddy Harman and piano by Floyd Cramer and backing vocal by the Jordanaires, with the bass voice provided by Ray Walker.[5] It reached number sixteen on the R&B charts.[6]