When Eurovision artists cover Elvis Presley hits
This year sees the release of the biographical musical drama 'Elvis' focussing on the life and career of singer and actor Elvis Presley.
Before the film hits cinema screens, Eurovision 2021 winners Måneskin have released a cover of Elvis Presley's ballad 'If I Can Dream' for the new film by Australian director Baz Luhrmann.
Måneskin performed a snippet of 'If I Can Dream' as part of the interval act during the Eurovision 2022 Grand Final in Turin.
To celebrate the release of Måneskin's cover, we take a look at the King of Rock ’n Roll’s connections with the Eurovision Song Contest.
Although Presley never competed at Eurovision himself, that doesn’t mean that there are no links between him and our beloved Contest.
Presley's song 'Please Don't Stop Loving Me', released in 1966 for the film picture 'Frankie and Johnny', is believed to be inspired by the Eurovision 1964 winning song 'Non ho l'età' by Gigliola Cinquetti. Both songs share a similar melody and comparable verse structures.
Other Eurovision connections come courtesy of the covers of his music by Eurovision artists.
Let's take a look at some of covers:
Céline Dion - 'If I Can Dream'
Represented Switzerland at Eurovision in 1988
Eurovision 1988 winner Céline Dion performed a special duet with Elvis himself (thanks to a lot of editing from the Idol team and extensive filming by Ms Dion) on season six of American Idol back in 2007.
The song is taken from the compilation album 'The Best of Celine Dion & David Foster'. It has become one of the most memorable posthumous performances by Elvis.
Cliff Richard - 'Blue Suede Shoes'
Represented the United Kingdom at Eurovision in 1968 and 1973
Cliff Richard was appearing on the music charts during Elvis's lifetime. Richard was in fact referred to as the English Elvis for a time.
The pair would go on to “duet” on a cover of Presley's infamous 'Blue Suede Shoes' in 2017 for Richard's album of covers 'Just... Fabulous Rock 'n' Roll'.
The song was originally released by Carl Perkins in 1955, but Presley went on to give it his own spin in 1956, far outselling the original version.
Dave Benton - 'Love Me Tender'
Represented Estonia at Eurovision in 2001
Dave Benton won Eurovision in 2001 with the song 'Everybody', performing alongside Tanel Padar and 2XL. Benton, who became the oldest singer ever to win Eurovision, has released many albums over his long music career.
In 2019 Benton released a Christmas album called 'Wintertime and Christmas Songs' that featured many covers, including Presley's 'Love Me Tender'.
The original ballad by Presley became his fifth No. 1 in the US.
Engelbert Humperdinck - 'Can’t Help Falling In Love'
Represented the United Kingdom at Eurovision in 2012
Engelbert Humperdinck has been performing for over seven decades and in that time he has released many singles, album and covers.
As recently as 2020 Humperdinck sang a duet of Presley's 'Can’t Help Falling In Love' with Northern Irish singer-songwriter Janet Devlin. He originally released his solo cover of the song in the 1970s.
Humperdinck represented the United Kingdom at Eurovision in Baku in 2012, taking with him a lucky charm from Elvis himself! Humperdinck was in Presley's inner circle and had been given one of the King’s TCB (Taking Care of Business) necklaces.
Jessica Mauboy - 'Love Me Tender'
Represented Australia at Eurovision in 2018
Back in 2010 Australia's representative at Eurovision 2018 Jessica Mauboy recorded a version of 'Love Me Tender' along with Presley as part of a Viva Elvis Collection duet bundle.
The bundle features nine versions of 'Love Me Tender' with nine artists duetting with Presley. A music video was also released.
Mauboy would go on to perform at Eurovision twice! The first time in 2014 as part of a semi-final interval act and then in 2018 as Australia’s entrant with 'We Got Love'.
Johnny Logan - 'Miss You Nights'
Represented Ireland at Eurovision in 1980 and 1987
Now this isn't a cover of a Presley song (its actually a cover of a Cliff Richard original, which went on to be covered by Westlife) but this song does have a connection with Presley.
The country-inspired cover of 'Miss You Nights' was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, with Presley’s backing band The Jordanaires. The song was released in 1990 for Logan's album 'Love Songs'.
The Jordanaires performed background vocals for Presley from 1956 to 1972. The group also performed on songs by Cliff Richard in the 1960s.
Michael Ball - 'If I Can Dream'
Represented the United Kingdom at Eurovision in 1992
Michael Ball finished as runner-up for the United Kingdom at Eurovision 1992 with the song 'One Step Out of Time'. Ball went on to release a follow-up single 'If I Can Dream', a Presley cover. The song peaked at No. 51 on the UK singles chart.
Olivia Newton-John & ABBA - 'Jailhouse Rock'
Olivia Newton-John represented the United Kingdom and ABBA represented Sweden at Eurovision in 1974
Eurovision 1974 artist Olivia Newton-John and Eurovision winners ABBA together performed an amazing rendition of 'Jailhouse Rock'. They are joined by Andy Gibb, the youngest Bee Gees brother.
The performance aired as part of the Olivia Newton-John TV Special in 1978, with the artists performing jam sessions in front of a live audience. The show is definitely worth a watch!!
Newton-John has also duetted with Presley on a Christmas song, 'O Come All Ye Faithful', taken from a Presley compilation of festive tunes.
Sakis Rouvas - 'Suspicious Minds'
Represented Greece at Eurovision in 2004 and 2009
One of Sakis Rouvas' musical idols is Elvis Presley, who inspired Rouvas to learn the guitar. At a young age, he went on to join a band singing Elvis hits.
In 2007 Rouvas covered one of Presley's classics, 'Suspicious Minds', for the film 'Alter Ego'. It was one of five singles released from the movie soundtrack by Rouvas.
In the film Rouvas played Stefanos, the frontman, guitarist and soul of the incredibly popular rock band Alter Ego. It was Rouvas' film debut.
Rouvas represented Greece at Eurovision twice, the first time in 2004 with 'Shake It' before his 2009 return with 'This Is Our Night'. He also hosted Eurovision 2006 alongside Maria Menounos.
Udo Jürgens - 'Kiss Me Quick'
Represented Austria at Eurovision in 1964, 1965 and 1966
'Kiss Me Quick' was originally released by Presley in 1963 from his album 'Pot Luck With Elvis' and charted in the US, the UK, Canada and Germany.
Not long after the release, Udo Jürgens released a German version of the song, but keeping the title in English. He released his Elvis cover before going on to represent Austria at Eurovision on three occasions, eventually winning in 1966 with 'Merci, Chérie'.
Other notable mentions:
Friðrik Ómar Hjörleifsson who represented Iceland at Eurovision in 2008 released a whole album of Presley covers called 'Elvis'.
Eurovision 2019 winner Duncan Laurence has performed a live version of 'Can't Help Falling In Love' on tour.
Alexander Rybak, who won the Contest in 2009 with 'Fairytale', has performed a humorous version of 'Love Me Tender' to entertain his fans during his live shows.
Janne Lucas competed in Sweden's Melodifestivalen in 1980 and 1981. He went on to join a band called 'Cadillac Band' which has covered Elvis songs.
Dutch Eurovision artist Waylon has in the past performed a rendition of Presley's 'Are You Lonesome Tonight' during live shows.
Aldo Blaga, who competed in the Romanian Eurovision 2022 selection 'Selecția Națională 2022' with 'Embers', has covered 'Can't Help Falling In Love'.
Louise Hoffsten, who competed in Melodifestivalen 2013 and came fifth with 'Only the Dead Fish Follow the Stream', released an album of Presley covers in 2014 called 'Bringing Out the Elvis'.
That’s just some of the covers of music by the King of Rock ’n Roll that we've been able to link to artists with a Eurovision connection.
We're sure there are many more out there!
Do you know any?
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