Are You Lonesome Tonight? (song)

Are You Lonesome Tonight? (song)

"Are You Lonesome To-night?," now often known as "Are You Lonesome Tonight?," is a popular song with music by Lou Handman and lyrics by Roy Turk. It was first published in 1926, and most notably covered by Elvis in 1960.


A number of artists recorded "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" in 1927. Composer Lou Handman himself played piano while his sister Edith provided the vocals for a recording released on the Gennett label. Vaughn DeLeath (also known as "The Original Radio Girl") recorded the song twice, first on June 13, as solo and later on September 21, as vocalist for The Colonial Club Orchestra. Around August 1927, another version was released by famed tenor Henry Burr.

1950s and 1960s

The first charting version of "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" was recorded by Blue Barron for MGM Records as catalog number 10628. The record first reached the "Billboard" pop chart on April 7, 1950 and lasted eight weeks there, peaking at number nineteen. [cite book
last = Whitburn
first = Joel
authorlink = Joel Whitburn
title = Top Pop Records 1940-1955
publisher = Record Research
year = 1973
] Only a few weeks after Barron's recording, Al Jolson recorded a version of the song on April 28, 1950; it was released by Decca Records as catalog number 27043.

In 1959 American songstress Jaye P. Morgan had a Billboard #65 hit with it on the MGM label, backed by "Miss You". Elvis Presley must have heard it while he was in the army in Europe, as he also heard and was inspired by other songs like "O Sole Mio" and "Return To Sorrento", which he made into hits on his return in 1960.Infobox Single
Name = Are You Lonesome Tonight?

Artist = Elvis Presley
from Album =
A-side =
B-side = "I Gotta Know"
Released = November 1, 1960
Format = 7"
Recorded = April 4, 1960
Genre =
Length =
Label =
Writer =
Producer =
Certification =
Last single = "Stuck on You" (1960)
This single = "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" (1960)
Next single = "Surrender" (1961)
Misc =
This led to the best-known recording, by Elvis Presley, recorded on April 4, 1960, and engineered by Nashville sound pioneer Bill Porter. Colonel Parker (it was one of his wife's favorite songs) persuaded Elvis to record his own rendition of this song. Elvis' version was based on the Blue Barron Orchestra in 1950 and the spoken part of the song (like Al Jolson's) was loosely based on Shakespeare's "As You Like it" using Jaques' speech on Act II Scene VII: "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." It went on to be one of the biggest-selling singles of 1960, peaking at number one on the "Billboard" pop chart for six weeks.

Elvis, occasionally during live performances, would randomly change lyrics to give them humorous connotations. One popular instance was recorded at the International Hotel in Vegas on August 26, 1969. During the performance, instead of singing: "Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there", he sings "Do you gaze at your bald head and wish you had hair". Moments later, he saw a bald man in the audience (as legend has it), and burst into laughter which continued into the next lines. The audience was treated to additional laughter during the spoken verse singing: "You know someone said that the world's a stage, and each must play a part." Seeing the irony of his own lyrics, Elvis was again overtaken by laughter and barely recovered. The audience enjoyed the sincerity of the moment while Elvis regained his composure. Meanwhile the band and backup singers continued to keep the song going. It is speculated that much of Elvis' mirth derived from the solo backing singer whose falsetto remained resolute throughout. To this, Elvis comes back just in time for the line: "And I had no cause to doubt you" followed by more laughter. So overtaken, Elvis encourages the backup singer to "sing it, baby" drawing even more laughter which nearly brings the house down. In the end, the song is finished to a round of applause. The version is considered to be a popular underground classic, and was a UK Top 30 hit in 1983 after first being commercially released by RCA in the 1980 box set "Elvis Aron Presley".

According to Dr. Demento, who plays the version on his show, there is nothing on the label of the recording to indicate that it is anything other than an ordinary recording of the song--"People must have been surprised when they took it home and played it."

Elvis said at the end, "That's it, man, fourteen years right down the drain...boy, I'll tell ya."

In 1977, Presley again performed the song for the "Elvis in Concert" TV special. Similarly to 1969, he also appears to mess up the spoken interlude, ad-libbing jokes throughout. Whether this was intentional or not is unknown; the 1981 documentary film "This is Elvis" uses footage of this performance to illustrate Presley's physical deterioration near the end of his life.

The Lettermen recorded the song as a track on their 1964 album "She Cried".

Doris Day recorded the song on June 6, 1967, in a version included on "The Love Album".

Mr. Saks & The Blue Strings aka Tommy & The Tom Toms recorded the song as an "instrumental" single in 1960 for noted producer Major Bill Smith.

Elvis's version was listed at #81 on "Billboard's Greatest Songs of all time." []

Other versions

*Merle Haggard
*John Schneider with Jill Michaels
*Mr. Saks & The Blue Strings aka Tommy & The Tom Toms
*Chas. Harrison UK
*Al Martino
*Frank Sinatra
*Bryan Ferry
*Norah Jones
*Chris Botti feat. Paul Buchanan (To Love Again, 2005)
*California Dreamlike Orchestra
*Barry Manilow
*Carter Family
*Mike Moran (answer song)
*U2 ("live")
*Jerry Lee Lewis ("live")
*Joe Wilbur
*Suede ("live")
*Connie Francis
*Donny Osmond
*Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson in the movie The Game Plan.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Are You Lonesome Tonight? — may refer to:*Are You Lonesome Tonight? (song), a 1926 popular song by Lou Handman and Roy Turk recorded by a number of singers, best known by Elvis Presley *Are You Lonesome Tonight? (musical), a 1985 musical play by Alan Bleasdale about Presley …   Wikipedia

  • Are You Lonesome Tonight? — Veröffentlichung 1926 Genre(s) Popmusik Text Roy Turk Musik Lou Handman …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • (You're the) Devil in Disguise — Single by Elvis Presley B side Please Don t Drag That String Around …   Wikipedia

  • Lonesome Bob — (aka Bob Chaney) is a country rock singer songwriter. He was the drummer for the Ben Vaughn Combo before heading to Nashville for the country scene.His 1997 debut recording was Things Fall Apart . His second album, Things Change , contained the… …   Wikipedia

  • One Night (song) — One Night Single by Elvis Presley B side I Got Stung Released October 21, 1958 …   Wikipedia

  • Don't (Elvis Presley song) — Don t Single by Elvis Presley B side I Beg of You Released January 7, 1958 …   Wikipedia

  • Come What May (You Are Mine) — Song by Elvis Presley Come What May (You Are Mine) is a song by Elvis Presley. See also List of songs by Elvis Presley …   Wikipedia

  • Answer song — An answer song (or answer record) is, as the name suggests, a song (usually a recorded track) made in answer to a previous song, normally by another artist. The concept became widespread in blues and R B recorded music in the 1930s through 1950s …   Wikipedia

  • Change of Habit (song) — Change of Habit Song by Elvis Presley from the album Let s Be Friends Released April 1970 Length 03:18 Writer Ben Weisman, Buddy Kaye …   Wikipedia

  • Charro (song) — Charro Song by Elvis Presley Charro is a song by Elvis Presley. See also List of songs by Elvis Presley …   Wikipedia