John Lennon Disliked This Elvis Presley Hit Even Though He Had a Copy

John Lennon owned quite a few Elvis Presley records, however, he didn’t like all of them. In fact, one of Elvis’ songwriters wasn’t a huge fan of one of the tracks John disliked. Here’s a look at how the public reacted to the song — and its legacy.

Elvis Presley with a dark background
Elvis Presley | Frank Carroll/Gary Null/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

John Lennon put his Elvis Presley singles into good and bad piles

According to The Guardian, John and Yoko Ono sat down for an interview in the St. Regis Hotel in New York City in 1971. In his bedroom, John had a box filled with Elvis singles. John explained why he had them. “I asked someone to get all his old singles for me,” he said. He also discussed his plan for the singles. “I’m gonna have a jukebox with just Elvis records on it. Isn’t it great?”

In front of the interviewers, John sorted the Elvis singles into two piles. One included songs like “Hound Dog,” “My Baby Left Me,” “One Night.” The other included supposedly inferior songs like “Bossa Nova Baby”. “Bossa Nova Baby” reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, but that doesn’t mean John was a fan. 

“Bossa Nova Baby”

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One of Elvis Presley’s songwriters had an opinion similar to John Lennon’s

John wasn’t the only one who took issue with “Bossa Nova Baby.” In addition, one of the song’s co-writers had reservations about Elvis’ version of the song.  Mike Stoller was one member of the legendary songwriting duo Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Together, Leiber and Stoller wrote several classic Elvis songs, including “Trouble,” “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “Don’t.” During an interview with Elvis Australia, Ken Sharp mentioned how some of the Leiber/Stoller songs that Elvis performed were originally by other artists. Sharp asked Stoller if he ever preferred the original versions to Elvis’ covers.

“That’s hard to say,” Stoller said. “I think Elvis’ performance of the songs that we wrote for him were generally better than those that were written for someone else…. I like the original version of ‘Bossa Nova Baby’ done by Tippie & the Clovers better than Elvis’ version. It’s got a Latin feel and it had certain elements of bossa nova, but it wasn’t the real thing. The Clovers’ version was much cooler than Elvis’ version, which was in the film Fun in Acapulco.”

The title track of Fun in Acapulco

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While neither John nor Stoller were huge fans of Elvis’ “Bossa Nova Baby,” the track has a bit of a legacy. It’s appeared in pop culture more times than a lot of other Elvis singles. For example, the Taco (Bob Saget in a taco costume) performed it on an episode of The Masked Singer. In addition, it appeared in a Henikein commercial and the soundtrack of the Ashton Kutcher/Natalie Portman romantic comedy No Strings Attached. “Bossa Nova Baby” stuck around — even if John and Stoller disliked it.