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The Shocking Truth About Elvis Presley's Hit Songs

During his career, Elvis Presley recorded over 600 songs, many of them big hits ranging from "Love Me Tender" and "Jailhouse Rock" to "Don't Be Cruel" and "Hound Dog." He has seven recordings in the Grammy Hall of Fame and won three Grammys (all for his gospel recordings). The King of Rock (who was so popular a lock of his hair sold for $115,000 in 2002, 25 years after his death) was nothing if not prolific (and he even played guitar). But you might be surprised by the one thing he didn't do. 

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In 1957, the crooner admitted in an interview he didn't write his own songs, saying, "I've never even had an idea for a song. Just once, maybe." He did, however, receive co-writing credit on nine tunes, but calling them songwriting might be a stretch. Even during his "songwriting period" in the early '60s, he mostly provided ideas for new songs and suggested how they should sound, though he is said to have contributed the song title for "That's Someone You Never Forget."

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Presley receiving co-writing credit for limited input wasn't simply a generous move on the part of his collaborators (which in one case included his bodyguard, Red West) — to record a song, the label required that Presley was given 50% of the songwriting credit for it.

Even if Presley wasn't much of a songwriter, his ability to interpret a song in categories ranging from pop to country, R&B, and gospel were more than enough to make him one of the biggest stars of the 20th century.


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