The Writers of 1 Elvis Presley Hit Song Weren’t Proud of It

TL;DR:

  • The writers of one of Elvis Presley’s songs didn’t think it was very good. 
  • The song inspired very positive fan mail.
  • The track appeared on the soundtrack of one of Elvis’ movies and became a hit.
Elvis Presley with a microphone
Elvis Presley | NBC / Contributor

Many songwriters composed for Elvis Presley multiple times. One songwriter wasn’t a huge fan of one of the hits he penned for the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Despite this, he received letters from fans saying it was the best song in Elvis’ catalog.

A songwriter revealed how Elvis Presley’s songs got to him

Paul Evans is a pop songwriter who penned some of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s songs. In his 2021 book Happy Go Lucky Me: A Lifetime of Music, he discussed working with the singer’s music publisher, Freddy Bienstock. “Perhaps the most important publishing company in the Brill Building was Julian and Jean Aberbach’s publishing company, Hill & Range Music,” he said. “It was noted for its great success in Nashville’s country music industry and had an office located on the top floor of the Brill Building.” Songwriters outside of Nashville had to go through Bienstock if they wanted to write for the “Heartbreak Hotel” singer.

“The Aberbachs’ cousin, Freddy Bienstock, ran their sub-company, Elvis Presley Music,” Evans added. “The only way to get your songs to Elvis outside of Nashville was to play your song for Freddy and hope that he liked it well enough to tell you to make a demonstration recording that he would then send to Elvis’ producers in Nashville.”

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Paul Evans said 1 of his songs proved ‘popular music is so unpredictable’

Subsequently, the first two Evans songs Elvis recorded were “I Gotta Know” and “Something Blue.” “‘Blue River,’ my third Elvis recording, released in 1965, was not a favorite for either my co-writer, Fred Tobias, or me,” Evans noted. 

Fans were more receptive to “Blue River.” “However, I did get several fan letters proclaiming the song to be their favorite Presley recording,” he wrote. “That’s what makes popular music so unpredictable.”

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How Elvis Presley’s ‘Blue River’ performed on the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom

“Blue River” became a minor hit in the United States. The song reached No. 95 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for one week. “Blue River” appeared on the soundtrack of Elvis’ film Double Trouble. The soundtrack reached No. 47 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 20 weeks.

“Blue River” was far more popular in the United Kingdom. According to The Official Charts Company, the song peaked at No. 22 there and remained on the chart for seven weeks. Meanwhile, Double Trouble reached No. 34 on the chart for one week.

While “Blue River” was not one of Elvis’ bigger hits, some fans were clearly moved by it.

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