Priscilla Presley Will Never Forget Elvis’ Cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’
Elvis Presley moved millions of fans with his emotional cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” One of those fans was none other than Priscilla Presley, who remembered Elvis singing the song to her during a difficult time in her life. Paul Simon himself discussed how the cover compared to Simon & Garfunkel’s original tune.
Priscilla Presley reacted to the lyrics of Elvis Presley’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’
In 2015, Priscilla served as an executive producer on the album If I Can Dream. It featured classic Elvis tunes with new arrangements by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. During a 2015 interview with USA Today, Priscilla discussed the album’s tracklist. “The song choices are very diverse,” she said. “They’re songs that Elvis liked.”
Priscilla said Elvis was a fan of songwriters like Simon, Neil Diamond, and James Taylor because they were storytellers. That’s why the album includes renditions of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Diamond’s “And The Grass Won’t Pay No Mind” and Taylor’s “Steamroller Blues.” These were all songs the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll covered when his music had become very sentimental during his Las Vegas years.
Priscilla revealed that Elvis sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water” to her after her horse died. “His father had come over to tell me, with Elvis present,” she recalled. “Elvis was very upset with his father for telling me, especially before he was going on stage.” Elvis then dedicated the song to her. “[He] looked over at me and he said, ‘This is for you,'” she recalled. “The words mean a lot to me in the song.”
Paul Simon revealed Art Garfunkel didn’t want to sing ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ himself
“Bridge Over Troubled Water” remains one of Simon & Garfunkel’s signature tunes. During a 1972 interview with Rolling Stone, Simon discussed what it was like collaborating with Art Garfunkel. “If I’d say, ‘We’ll do this with a gospel piano and it’s written in your key, so you have the song,’ it was his right in the partnership to say, ‘I don’t want to do that song,’ as he said with ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water,'” Simon revealed.
Simon said Garfunkel kept “Bridge Over Troubled Water” at arm’s length. “He didn’t want to sing it himself,” Simon said. “He couldn’t hear it for himself. He felt I should have done it. And many times I think I’m sorry I didn’t do it.”
What Paul Simon thought of Elvis Presley covering his song in such a dramatic fashion
According to Rolling Stone, Simon felt the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s cover was a “touch on the dramatic side.” “But so was the song,” he added. If any tune puts the “power” in “power ballad,” it’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
Simon didn’t see Elvis’ dramatics as a bad thing. “When I first heard Elvis perform ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water,’ it was unbelievable,” he remembered. “I thought to myself, ‘How the hell can I compete with that?'”
Priscilla loved Elvis’ “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and Simon felt he couldn’t compete with it. What greater compliment could a singer ask for?