Saturday, July 14, 2012

Elvis Covers, Part I: Love Me Tender

Beth Nielsen Chapman: Love Me Tender


Like so many of The King's greatest hits, Love Me Tender is a many-covered thing, a gem in the collections of crooners Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennet, an R&B charter in the hands of Percy Sledge, a slight and subtle soundtrack whisper in the sultry tones of Norah Jones, a piano bar swan song from the waning days of Scatman John. (Not all covers are so successful, of course; though Willie Nelson's more recent live versions of the song are as heartfelt and poignant as you might imagine, his studio version, recorded for 1985 frat-boy film Porky's Revenge, oozes with orchestral smarm.)

Which is to say: I've heard this song done soaringly, and with broken wisdom; with disdain, and with tenderness. So have you, I warrant. But sometimes, simplest is best. And so as we approach the end of our thematic journey, we turn to one of our favorite lullaby collections for this Beth Nielsen Chapman gem, soothing as a mother's arms. So are great love songs transformed, in service to our parental dreams.

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