Elvis Presley Blues

Album: Time (The Revelator) (2001)

Songfacts®:

  • In this song, Welch is thinking about two mythical American figures: Elvis Presley and John Henry. Welch sees Elvis as a tragic figure, filled with sadness in his later years as he became obsolete. John Henry is a folk hero and the subject of a traditional song on which Welch based the melody. According to legend, John Henry was a railroad worker who outworked a steam drill but died in the process.
  • Tom Jones, who had various encounters with Elvis, recorded this song for his 2015 album Long Lost Suitcase. He worked on the song with his producer, Ethan Johns, but it took a few years before it gelled. "We did it very similar to the way she [Welch] did it and it wasn't doing anything different to what she had done," Jones said in his Songfacts interview. "So Ethan said, 'Look, let's just sit on it for a while and maybe come up with some idea for it.' And then one day, he said, 'What if you just sing it? Pick a key, sing it, and I'll follow you and let's see what happens there.'"

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