Covering The King: Elvis Presley Covers On You Tube

EAP was recently remembered with yet another hits package to celebrate his 75th birthday. Julian Marszalek decided to look elsewhere in order to remember him

Assuming that you don’t buy into conspiracy theories, Elvis Presley would have been 75-years-old this year. What he’d be up to now is anybody’s guess but the reverberations of his legacy are still keenly felt to this very day – every rock & roll sneer, low-slung guitar and pelvic gyration can be traced back to the greasy-haired boy from Tupelo.

But more than anything, it’s the music that gets your ass off your seat and firmly on the floor. Forget the piss-poor movies, the jump suits and the re-enforced stages in Las Vegas; the sheer, unadulterated energy of Elvis’ music is what counts and to prove the point, we invite you to sit back and enjoy The Quietus’ own tribute to the King of Rock & Roll.

We’ve avoided Elvis’ performances to concentrate on 10 hip-swiveling covers by a range of artists that we feel infuse the songs with as much energy and passion as the King did. Of course, if you want the real deal, then grab yourself a copy of the latest Elvis 75 collection, a largely excellent compilation of, wait for it, 75 of Elvis’ hits let down only the lack of Sun Sessions material and the inclusion of superfluous contributions from Junkie XL and Paul Oakenfold.


Jim Jones Revue – Big Hunk o’ Love

The animal magnetism of The King runs amock throughout the Jim Jones Revue’s riotous reading of this 1958 hit by a factor of ten. The fact that it sounds like Little Richard and the MC5 having a knee-trembler in a back alley simply adds to its primordial charm.

Pet Shop Boys – Always on my Mind

Undoubtedly the most unusual rendition on this selection and certainly one of the best. At once dispassionate and bleeding emotion from every pore, Pet Shop Boys enter that select pantheon of artists who can take someone else’s song and make it wholly their own.

John Cale – Heartbreak Hotel

As cover versions go, former Velvet Underground drone master John Cale doesn’t sound so much as he’s staying in Heartbreak Hotel as moved in on a permanent basis. The only water flowing here is the bitter sting of tears.

Dead Kennedys – Viva Las Vegas

If anyone knew the rotten core at the heart of the American Dream, it was Dead Kennedys. A teeth-grinding rollercoaster ride, this is a molten blast of disgust and fury in the hands of San Francisco’s finest.

Cowboy Junkies – Blue Moon

As with their versions of ‘Sweet Jane’ and ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’, Cowboy Junkies don’t so much cover songs as crawl into their soul and re-emerge with something totally new in their hands.

Fine Young Cannibals – Suspicious Minds

About as far as you can get from the original without being Pet Shop Boys, Andy Cox’s bandy-legged dance was either a twisted form of tribute or a serious vitamin C deficiency.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – In the Ghetto

Cave’s fascination with the Elvis myth pre-dates the visceral car crash of The Birthday Party and his take on one of Elvis’ more controversial numbers is approached with a sense of reverence befitting a disciple.

Johnny Thunders & Patti Palladin – Crawfish

With the evident ache in Johnny Thunders’ cracked and pleading voice, the suspicion that he’s after something stronger than crawfish is evident here.

Rockpile with Robert Plant – Little Sister

Before Live Aid and all its self-congratulatory off-shoots, charity gigs were modest little affairs. Here, the Led Zeppelin frontman joins Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe at the 1979 Concert for Kampuchea at the Hammersmith Odeon.

Queen – Jailhouse Rock

From a King to Queen in one easy step. You know what to expect…

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