A Songwriter Nearly Screamed When a Star Other Than Elvis Presley Was Going to Record His Song

Many of Elvis Presley‘s songs were covers; however, others were written for the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll specifically. A songwriter once learned a song he wrote for Elvis was going to be recorded by another 1950s idol. Subsequently, the songwriter “practically shouted” in protest.

Elvis Presley singing a song on the cover of his first album
An Elvis Presley album cover | George Wilhelm/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

1 of Elvis Presley’s hit songs started with a very different title

Paul Evans is a songwriter. He penned some Elvis songs, including “I Gotta Know” and “The Next Step Is Love.” In his 2021 book Happy Go Lucky Me: A Lifetime of Music, Evans discussed the origin of “I Gotta Know.” He revealed he specifically wrote it for the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

“I wrote ‘I Gotta Know’ in 1959 with Matt Williams,” Evans recalled. “We took our time with the lyric that we originally titled ‘And Now You Know.’ We knew that Elvis had recorded our song, but it had not been released yet. Then one day Freddy called me to a meeting at H&R. For some reason he asked me if I would like to have ‘I Gotta Know’ recorded by a new young singer that [music publisher] Freddy [Bienstock] had a lot of faith in.”

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Paul Evans revealed the name of the other singer who he didn’t want to record the song

Evans explained why he didn’t want the other singer to record “I Gotta Know.” “But again, if this new singer recorded it, the Presley recording would never be released,” he recalled. “It seemed like a simple answer: ‘No, no, no. I want Elvis,’ I practically shouted at Freddy.”

Williams wasn’t amused. “Matt was furious with me for turning down an immediate recording for the possibility of a future Presley release — and even more upset when we discovered that the new young singer was Fabian, and we thought, incorrectly, that our song might have been on his first album,” Evans said. 

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How Elvis Presley’s ‘I Gotta Know’ and its associated album performed on the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom

“I Gotta Know” found an audience in the United States. The song hit No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, lasting 11 weeks on the chart in total. Elvis released the song on the compilation album Elvis’ Golden Records Volume 3. The compilation reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200, remaining on the chart for 63 weeks.

According to The Official Charts Company, “I Gotta Know” did not chart in the United Kingdom. On the other hand, Elvis’ Golden Records Volume 3 was a hit there. The album hit No. 6 in the U.K., staying on the chart for 15 weeks.

“I Gotta Know” was not one of Elvis’ biggest hits; however, Evans was happy the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll sang it.

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