Bruce Springsteen’s Top 12 Elvis Presley covers

FRANK STEFANKO

Bruce Springsteen, in 1978.

After I watched Dennis P. Laverty’s new documentary “If I Can Dream: The Influence of Elvis on Bruce” — which makes the case that Elvis is the primal, No. 1 influence on Bruce — I started thinking, is Elvis also the artist Springsteen has covered the most?

He may be, though it’s a hard thing to quantify.

According to the Brucebase web site, the song Springsteen has covered the most is “Twist and Shout” (414 times), followed by “The Detroit Medley” (406 times). And he’s certainly covered a lot of songs by Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Chuck Berry, Smokey Robinson and John Fogerty. But he’s sung a lot of Presley, too.

I count 15 different Presley songs covered and 14 different Dylan songs (and Springsteen hasn’t performed any Dylan songs as much as he’s done “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and “Follow That Dream”). So if you came up with a formula that took into account both the number of different songs covered, and the frequency with which they have been performed, Presley very well might be the winner.

So, in honor of The King — who was born 82 years ago, today — here are videos for the 12 Presley songs Springsteen has performed the most, followed by the number of times he has done them (according to Brucebase).

Note: By a “Presley song,” I obviously mean a song strongly associated with him, not a song he wrote, since he wrote virtually none of his hits.

(Aug. 16, 2017 Update: As Paul astutely points out in the Comments Section, below, I missed “Mystery Train,” which has been recorded by many other artists as well, but was an important early single for Elvis. According to Brucebase, Springsteen has covered it 22 times. I have added a video, below, as 5.)

(Aug. 17, 2017 Update: Thanks to Drew for also calling “Wear My Ring Around Your Neck” to my attention, in the Comments Section. There were 14 performances, all in the ’70s, according to Brucebase. I have added a video for that, too. I have also changed the numbering since it’s now a Top 12 list.)

1. “Can’t Help Falling in Love” (65 times)

2. “Follow That Dream” (50)

3. “Good Rockin’ Tonight” (24)

3 (tie). “Heartbreak Hotel” (24)

5. “Mystery Train” (22)

6. “Love Me Tender” (18)

7. “Wear My Ring Around Your Neck” (14)

8. “Burning Love (7)”

9. “Viva Las Vegas” (6).

I believe “Viva Las Vegas” is the only Presley song that Springsteen has recorded in the studio (it appears on the the Last Temptation of Elvis tribute album, as well as Honeymoon in Vegas soundtrack album and The Essential Bruce Springsteen). Here is that version:

10. “Jailhouse Rock” (4)

11. “Blue Suede Shoes” (3), shown after “All Shook Up,” with a guest appearance by Nick Ferraro, The Philly Elvis here.

11 (tie): “Blue Christmas” (3).

Other Presley songs Springsteen has performed include “Suspicious Minds” (2), “Hound Dog” (2), “All Shook Up” (1), “It’s Now or Never” (1) and “Don’t Be Cruel” (1).

6 thoughts on “Bruce Springsteen’s Top 12 Elvis Presley covers

  1. “Follow that dream” is not a Presley’s song…it’s Boss’s song with the same title of an other one that Elvis has sung during the sixties…Bruce said one time that he think about the King when he has written it…

    • It is, to a large extent, a reworking of Elvis’ song (with some added lyrics), but the lyrics are too similar to view them as two separate songs. Also, Bruce, in the clip included here, describes it as “a favorite Elvis Presley song of mine.”

      ELVIS VERSION:

      Follow that dream, I gotta follow that dream
      Keep a-movin, move along, keep a moving
      I’ve got to follow that dream wherever that dream may lead
      I’ve got to follow that dream to find the love I need
      When your heart gets restless, time to move along
      When your heart gets weary, time to sing a song
      But when a dream is calling you,
      There’s just one thing that you can do
      Well, you gotta follow that dream wherever that dream may lead
      You gotta follow that dream to find the love you need
      Keep a-movin, move along, keep a moving
      Got to find me someone whose heart is free
      Someone to look for my dream with me
      And when I find her I may find out
      Just what my dreams are all about
      I’ve got to follow that dream wherever that dream may lead
      I’ve got to follow that dream to find the love I need
      I’ve got to follow that dream wherever that dream may lead
      I’ve got to follow that dream to find the love I need
      Keep a-movin, move along
      Keep a-movin, move along
      Keep a-movin, move along

      BRUCE VERSION

      If your heart is restless from waiting so long
      If you’re tired and weary, and you can’t go on
      If a distant dream is callin’ you
      Then there’s just one thing you can do

      Follow that dream wherever it may lead
      Follow that dream to find the love you need
      C’mon, follow that dream

      Now baby, I walk in dreams
      And I talk in dreams
      I need someone with a love I can trust
      And together we’ll search for the things that come to us
      In dreams, baby in dreams

      And I’m gonna follow that dream wherever that dream may lead me
      I’m gonna follow that dream to find the love I need

      Now every man has the right to live
      The right to a chance to give what he has to give
      The right to fight for the things he believes
      For the things that come to him in dreams

      Baby in dreams, I walk in dreams
      I talk in dreams
      I live in dreams

    • Excellent point. I guess I didn’t include it because so many different people have covered it, and I don’t associate it only with Presley. But it’s strongly enough associated with him that I should have included it, and I will add a paragraph and video to story about it.

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