Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Are You Lonesome Tonight by Elvis Presley
Album: The Top Ten HitsReleased: 1960Charted:
This song was written in 1926 by Tin Pan Alley songwriters Roy Turk and Lou Handman. It was a hit in 1927 for a number of artists including Vaughan Deleath (A female despite the name), Henry Burr and Gene Austin. In 1950 it was revived by the bandleader Blue Barron with his vocalist Bobby Beers, and Al Jolson cut a version in 1953. Elvis' manager Colonel Parker asked him to try the song because it was a favorite of Parker's wife, Marie.
Elvis did not believe he could do the song justice and asked for the tape to be thrown out. Steve Sholes, the RCA producer at the recording session, believed the recording would be a hit and directed its release.
Elvis had the studio lights completely turned off while recording the song. As he finished, Elvis blundered into a chair, knocking it over, and the sound can be heard if you listen to the record on headphones.
Elvis' arrangement is generally considered closest to the arrangement of Blue Barron and his Orchestra. Elvis' narration is modified from the original narration of the Blue Barron release (which was later copied by Al Jolson).
The famous "Laughing Version" came from a 1969 Las Vegas performance unofficially recorded, and was released years after Elvis' death.
Producer Bill Porter drenched the first take in echo by mistake but didn't say anything because he figured there would be more attempts. However, all they did was record the end part over again due to a mistake on the guitar and what the listener hears is basically take one.