Elvis Presley amazed Paul Simon with 'unbelievable' cover
November 1, 2022
Simon was one half of the fantastic folk-rock duo, Simon & Garfunkel. Throughout their years writing and performing songs together, the two Americans earned over a dozen awards for their work.
However, it wasn't until the early 1970s that they caught the eye of Elvis. On January 20, 1970, Simon & Garfunkel released the title track from their fifth studio album: Bridge over Troubled Water.
Simon praised the 'dramatic' version of the song in a 1972 interview. He added: 'But so was the song. When I first heard Elvis perform Bridge Over Troubled Water it was unbelievable'.
He went on to berate himself, however, saying: 'I thought to myself: 'How the hell can I compete with that?'.
At the time, Bridge over Troubled Water was considered Simon & Garfunkel's best song of their career, so to have the King perform it left Simon feeling extremely self-conscious.
There was a bright side, though. 'I’m delighted that I didn’t have to write a Simon & Garfunkel follow-up to Bridge Over Troubled Water', he added. 'Which I think would have been an inevitable let-down for people'.
Simon explained: 'It would have been hard on me - hard on both of us'.
The singer later spoke about how he wrote the seminal track without Garfunkel's help in the first place.
He said: '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 becoming the lead singer on the track.
Simon opened up: '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'.
Eventually, Bridge over Troubled Water was a runaway success for the band. It hit number one in eight singles charts around the world, including Canada, France, UK and USA.
The song sold more than 1.6 million copies, going platinum along the way.
After Elvis covered the song, a number of other British artists have brought the song to life yet again in 2017.
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