Love Me Tender (song)

"Love Me Tender" is a 1956 song recorded by Elvis Presley and published by Elvis Presley Music from the 20th Century Fox film of the same name. The words are credited to Ken Darby under the pseudonym "Vera Matson", the name of his wife, and Elvis Presley. The RCA Victor recording by Elvis Presley was no. 1 on both the Billboard and Cashbox charts in 1956. The song was adapted from the melody for "Aura Lee", a sentimental Civil War ballad. The song is also featured in many other films and television shows such as FM, Touched By Love, This is Elvis, Porky's Revenge, Wild at Heart, Die Hard 2, Honeymoon in Vegas, Backbeat, Gaudi Afternoon, Machine Gun Molly, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, William Eggleston in the Real World, California Dreamin', Love in Space, Masters of Sex, Devil's Due, Just Before I Go, 90 Minutes in Heaven, and Ready or Not.

"Love Me Tender"
Single by Elvis Presley
from the album Love Me Tender
B-side"Any Way You Want Me"
ReleasedSeptember 28, 1956
Format7" single
RecordedAugust 24, 1956, 20th Century Fox Studios, Los Angeles, California
GenreFolk, rockabilly[1]
LabelRCA Victor
Songwriter(s)Music: George R. Poulton
Lyrics: Ken Darby (uncredited, credited to Elvis Presley & Vera Matson)
  • Ernie Oelhrich
  • Thorne Norgar
Elvis Presley singles chronology
"Shake, Rattle and Roll"
"Love Me Tender"
"Too Much" / "Playing for Keeps"
"Love Me Tender"
Single by Richard Chamberlain
from the album Richard Chamberlain Sings
B-side"All I Do Is Dream of You"
Format7" single
LabelMGM Records
  • Elvis Presley
  • Vera Matson
Richard Chamberlain singles chronology
"Theme From Dr. Kildare (Three Stars Will Shine Tonight)"
"Love Me Tender"
"All I Have to Do Is Dream" / "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo"
"Love Me Tender"
Stuart sutcliffe love me tender.jpg
Single by Stuart Sutcliffe
Released11 October 2011
LabelStuart Sutcliffe Estate


The 1956 song "Love Me Tender" puts new words to a new musical adaptation of the Civil War song "Aura Lee," published in 1861. "Aura Lee" had music by George R. Poulton and words by W. W. Fosdick. It later became popular with college glee clubs and barbershop quartets. It was also sung at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

The principal writer of the lyrics was Ken Darby, who also adapted Poulton's Civil War tune, which was in the public domain. The song was published by Elvis Presley Music.[3] and credited to Presley and Darby's wife Vera Matson. Presley received co-songwriting credit due to his Hill & Range publishing deal which demanded songwriters concede 50 percent of the credit of their song if they wanted Presley to record it; Presley had songwriting input on only a very small number of the many songs he recorded[4]

As with nearly all his early RCA recordings, Presley took control in the studio despite not being credited as producer. He would regularly change arrangements and lyrics to the point that the original song was barely recognizable.[citation needed] Ken Darby described Elvis Presley's role in the creation of the song:

He adjusted the music and the lyrics to his own particular presentation. Elvis has the most terrific ear of anyone I have ever met. He does not read music, but he does not need to. All I had to do was play the song for him once, and he made it his own! He has perfect judgment of what is right for him. He exercised that judgment when he chose 'Love Me Tender' as his theme song.[5]

Elvis Presley performed "Love Me Tender" on The Ed Sullivan Show on September 9, 1956, shortly before the single's release and about a month before the movie, Love Me Tender, was released (for which the reworded song had been written). After that, RCA received more than a million advance orders, making it a gold record before it was even released. The studio, 20th Century Fox, originally wanted to call the movie The Reno Brothers, but instead re-titled it Love Me Tender to capitalize on the song's popularity.

Movie producer David Weisbart would not allow Presley's regular band (Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and D.J. Fontana) to play on the soundtrack.[citation needed] Instead, The Ken Darby Trio provided the musical backing with Red Robinson on drums, Charles Prescott on bass, Vita Mumolo on guitar, and Jon Dodson on background vocals, with Presley providing only lead vocals.[citation needed]

Elvis Presley recordingEdit

Ken Darby and Elvis Presley in the studio.

The single debuted at #2 on the "Best Sellers in Stores" pop singles chart, the first time a single made its first appearance at the #2 position.[6]

The song hit #1 on the Billboard charts the week ending November 3, 1956, remaining in the position for 5 weeks and reached no. 11 on the charts in the UK. "Love Me Tender" also reached number three for three weeks on the R&B chart.[7]

This version was ranked #437 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

In 1968, Presley recorded a 52-second track entitled "Violet (Flower of N.Y.U.)" for the soundtrack of the film The Trouble with Girls. Unreleased until after Presley's death, the song was Presley's second adaptation of "Aura Lee".

Although Presley never re-recorded "Love Me Tender" in a studio setting, two live recordings of the song were released on the albums: NBC-TV Special and Elvis: As Recorded at Madison Square Garden, with additional performances from concert and television appearances being released after Presley's death. The song was also performed in the Golden Globe-winning concert film Elvis on Tour (1972). As seen in that film, and in other filmed and recorded accounts, Presley generally performed only a portion of the song's lyrics live, instead usually using the song as a device to interact with (usually) female members of the audience.

"Love Me Tender" was also included in the four song extended play (EP) album Love Me Tender of the songs from the film. The reprise of the song was not included on the EP.


  • Love Me Tender - 2:41 - Recorded Aug 24, 1956
  • Love Me Tender (End title version) - 1:08 - Recorded Oct 01, 1956
  • Love Me Tender (Unreleased stereo version) - 2:42 - Recorded Aug 24, 1956

The 1997 compact disc reissue with bonus tracks of the Jailhouse Rock EP contains these three versions.

Other recordingsEdit

Chart historyEdit


  1. ^ Douglas Brode; Shea T. Brode; Cynthia J. Miller (5 October 2017). The American Civil War on Film and TV: Blue and Gray in Black and White and Color. Lexington Books. p. 221. ISBN 978-1-4985-6689-6.
  2. ^ Joe Stuessy (1990). Rock and Roll: Its History and Stylistic Development. Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-13-782426-7.
  3. ^ Roger Lee Hall, Free As The Breeze: Confestions of a Struggling Songwriter, PineTree Press, 2007, p.98.
  4. ^ According to Peter Guralnick, Presley never wrote any of his own songs (Peter Guralnick, Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley, Little, Brown & Company, 1995), though he did co-write "You'll Be Gone" and "That's Someone You Never Forget".
  5. ^ MANUEL (2014-08-07). "BLOGINROLL: Love Me Tender 1". Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  6. ^ "Billboard: 20 Oct 1956". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 1956-10-20. Retrieved 2013-02-20. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 467.
  8. ^ "Song title 938 - Love Me Tender". Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ "Original versions of Love Me Tender by Julie Andrews & Johnny Cash". Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  11. ^ "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  12. ^ Nakashima, Ryan (October 14, 2008). "Sony BMG split-up gives Sony more options". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
  13. ^ " - Demis Roussos - Reflection". Retrieved 2017-10-29.
  14. ^ " - Demis Roussos - Love Me Tender". Retrieved 2017-10-29.
  15. ^ "Official Charts Company". Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  16. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 467.
  17. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, November 24, 1956
  18. ^ Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 29, 1956

External linksEdit