Elvis Presley: Fans gather at Graceland for funeral in 1977
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Elvis Presley covered a staggering amount of songs throughout his career. This meant he pulled tracks from other artists after they had already become well known in the music industry. One of these songs came from American singer-songwriter duo Simon & Garfunkel.
The song, Bridge Over Troubled Water, was covered by Elvis for his 1970 album That’s The Way It Is, but was never released as a single.
The star’s album was a meagre success, reaching number 21 on the Billboard Hot 200.
However, the King’s version of Bridge Over Troubled Water left the writer of the track, Paul Simon, stunned.
Speaking in 1972, he called the King’s adaptation of the song “dramatic”. He added: “But so was the song.
“When I first heard Elvis perform Bridge Over Troubled Water it was unbelievable.” (Via Rolling Stone)
Simon added: “I thought to myself: ‘How the hell can I compete with that?'”
He went on to say he was happy he didn’t have to continue the song’s story with a “follow-up”.
The singer said: “From that point of view, I’m delighted that I didn’t have to write a Simon & Garfunkel follow-up to Bridge Over Troubled Water, which I think would have been an inevitable let-down for people.
“It would have been hard on me, hard on both of us.”
Simon later spoke about how he wrote the seminal track without Garfunkel’s help.
He explained: “Bridge Over Troubled Water was written while [Garfunkel] was away.
“He’d come back and I’d say: ‘Here’s a song I just wrote, Bridge Over Troubled Water. I think you should sing it.”
Despite wanting Garfunkel to take the lead on the song, Simon ended up singing it.
Legend Paul Simon performs at Hyde Park in 2012
Simon revealed why: “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 & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water reached number one in a number of singles charts, including in Canada, France, UK and USA.
The song sold more than 1.6 million copies, going platinum along the way.
It was later covered by a number of British artists including Stormzy, Jessie Ware, Pixie Lott and Dua Lipa.
The song was produced in aid of the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.
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