Hopefully by now, everyone has gotten a chance to check the trailers for Baz Luhrmann’s ELVIS, starring Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker and Austin Butler as The King himself, Elvis Presley.
If not, here’s the latest mesmerizing trailer that just dropped a few days ago:
This one looks to be a gorgeous and emotional journey, especially since I grew up in an Elvis-crazy home. My mom saw Elvis live twice, once when he was just a supporting act for Johnny Cash on a Sun Label tour, and the second time at his most opulent in the early 70s.
I can’t remember a time when my brother and I didn’t know his music, and The King (the young version) even renewed my husband’s and my wedding vows for our 20th anniversary in Vegas.
Whether or not the movie turns out be be any good, Elvis’s needs to be front and center. This means it should come with a well-stocked soundtrack with various artists, and that does seem to be the case. This include a cover of Elvis’s 1968 powerful hit “If I Can Dream” by 2021 Eurovision winners Måneskin:
The soundtrack hasn’t been fully released, except for the hip-hop single “Vegas” from Doja Cat, who plays Big Momma Thornton in the movie. The song includes some brief sampling of Thornton’s influential “Hound Dog” she’ll perform in the movie.
The soundtrack also includes music by Gary Clark Jr, Jack White, Tame Impala, Chris Isaak, Stevie Nicks, Ceelo Green and Elvis Aaron Presley himself, among others, but we’ll have to wait to hear more.
In the meantime, here are three other Elvis-loving cover albums to check out:
Honeymoon in Vegas Original Soundtrack (1992)
Everyone knows there was no bigger Elvis fan than Nic Cage, and he was even married to Lisa Marie Presley for a couple of years. Of course, he would star in a rom com with a soundtrack of all Elvis covers. This one really connected Elvis to his rural roots, as the majority of cover were country stars like Willie Nelson, Dwight Yoakum, and Travis Tritt, but it also included some interesting additions from Bono, Jeff Beck Brian Ferry, and Billy Joel. Yoakum’s “Suspicious Minds” was a huge hit for him in the early 90s:
Last Temptation of Elvis: Songs From His Movies (1990)
Unless you are lucky enough to pick up a used version of this at a thrift store or garage sale, this eccentric collection of musicians releases as a charity fundraiser from NME won’t come cheap. Its contributed ranged from mainstream artists to early alternative pioneers from Hall and Oates to The Pogues, to The Cramps to Aaron Neville. I was too broke at the time to buy the double CD set fo $24, and now I’m kicking myself for not doing so.
I mean, listen to Paul McCartney’s cover of “It’s Now or Never”:
I recommend hitting Spotify or YouTube to find what you can, because there is one good stuff on this.
It’s Now or Never: The Tribute to Elvis (1994)
This tribute is a little easier to find, but no less cool. There are some of the usual suspects like Chris Isaak, Aaron Neville and Dwight Yoakum, but there’s also Tony Bennett, Melissa Etheridge, Michael Hutchence, Brian Adams and more.
For example, The Mavericks (featuring Raul Malo’s always beautiful vocals) contribute their version of “Love Me”:
The continued spirit of Elvis’s work has already spanned the generations, and doesn’t look like it will stop anytime soon.
Tributes and imitations aside, no one sang Elvis like Elvis himself. He’s been a parody and a product. He’s been an over-marketed cliche and a cautionary tale of fame. Yet, to hear that incredible voice, passion, and sheer stage presence of Elvis Presley – the real Elvis – possessed, you can’t help but say “yeah, I get it.”
Baz Luhrmann’s ELVIS hits cinemas June 24.