Are You Lonesome Tonight? (1950) (1960)

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Elvis Presley (born Elvis Aron Presley January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi, died August 16, 1977 in Memphis, Tennessee.)

Called the King of Rock 'n' Roll Elvis is generally considered to be the most important, iconic entertainer of the 20th Century. He has sold over one billion records worldwide, more than anyone in record industry history.

He has had 150 albums and singles certified gold, platinum and multi-platinum, 149 charting songs in the US, 114 of which were Top 40 hits, 40 of which were Top 10 hits, and 18 #1 hits.

In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him #3 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

In March 1960, Elvis was honorably discharged from the US army. Soon after, on April 4, he was in a darkened recording studio in Nashville, Tennessee at 4:00 AM, with Chet Atkins as producer.

As a favor to manager Colonel Tom Parker, who had never asked Presley to record any song, Elvis sang the Colonel and his wife's favorite song: "Are You Lonesome Tonight?". Presley liked the tune and the Colonel thought it had hit potential.

As he was singing in the dimly lit room, Elvis kept bumping the microphone stand. Frustrated, Presley felt he could not do justice to the song and wanted to forget about recording it. He was encouraged to get at least one full take of the song.

The first take of "Are You Lonesome Tonight?", even with the sounds of inadvertent bumping, was the recording that became a hit.

Elvis' version was listed at #81 on Billboard's Greatest Songs Of All Time.

Chart position:  #1 (US), #1 (UK).

It was preceded at #1 in the US by "Stay" (Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs) and succeeded by "Wonderland by Night" (Bert Kaempfert).

The Top Ten Songs: November 28, 1960 (US Billboard Hot 100).
  1. "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" (Elvis Presley)
  2. "Last Date" (Floyd Cramer)
  3. "Stay" (Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs)
  4. "Poetry In Motion" (Johnny Tillotson)
  5. "A Thousand Stars" (Kathy Young and the Innocents) 
  6. "New Orleans" (Gary U.S. Bonds)
  7. "North To Alaska" (Johnny Horton)
  8. "Alone At Last" (Jackie Wilson)
  9. "Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go" (Hank Ballard and the Midnighters)
  10. "Georgia On My Mind" (Ray Charles)

Written by:
Lou Handman (born September 10, 1894 in New York, New York, died December 9, 1956 in Flushing, New York) and Roy Turk (born September 20, 1892 in New York, New York, died November 30, 1934 in Hollywood, California.)

It was originally published in 1926.

Also by: Blue Barron (born Harry Freidman November 19, 1913 in Cleveland, Ohio, died July 16, 2005 in Baltimore, Maryland.)

Blue Barron was a big-band orchestra leader in the 1940s and 1950s, who had a #1 hit with "Cruising Down The River" in 1949.

Barron's version of "Are You Lonesome Tonight?", with vocals by Bobby Beers, was the first version to chart, reaching #19 in 1950. It was also the first version to feature the spoken-word middle section, recited by John McCormick.

That section was loosely based on a line from William Shakespeare's As You Like It: "All the world's a stage, and all men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts."

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