Elvis Presley: Paul Simon – ‘The King’s cover of my song was unbelievable’
Elvis Presley covered a staggering amount of songs throughout his career. This meant he pulled tracks from other artists after they had already become well known in the music industry. One of these songs came from American singer-songwriter duo Simon & Garfunkel.
The song, Bridge Over Troubled Water, was covered by Elvis for his 1970 album That’s The Way It Is, but was never released as a single.
The star’s album was a meagre success, reaching number 21 on the Billboard Hot 200.
However, the King’s version of Bridge Over Troubled Water left the writer of the track, Paul Simon, stunned.
Speaking in 1972, he called the King’s adaptation of the song “dramatic”. He added: “But so was the song.
“When I first heard Elvis perform Bridge Over Troubled Water it was unbelievable.” (Via Rolling Stone)
Simon added: “I thought to myself: ‘How the hell can I compete with that?'”
He went on to say he was happy he didn’t have to continue the song’s story with a “follow-up”.
The singer said: “From that point of view, I’m delighted that I didn’t have to write a Simon & Garfunkel follow-up to Bridge Over Troubled Water, which I think would have been an inevitable let-down for people.
“It would have been hard on me, hard on both of us.”
Simon later spoke about how he wrote the seminal track without Garfunkel’s help.
He explained: “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.”