Tom Petty’s 10 Favorite Elvis Songs

Greatness appreciates greatness.

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

That’s the theme of the deep dive into the legendary singer/songwriter Tom Petty’s favorite songs when it comes to Elvis Presley. Two rock gods collide.

However, Petty’s relationship with The King isn’t just one of distant fandom. When Petty was 10, his uncle worked on the set of Presley’s 1962 musical comedy movie Follow That Dream. A young Petty got to stop by on occasion and check it out. There, he saw Elvis with a “fleet of white Cadillacs.”

In the video below, Petty talked about Elvis appearing like “a vision.”

Petty also told Rolling Stone, “I remember his hair was so black that the sunshine was glowing off of it. Just a nod and a hello made your skin tingle. I was high for weeks. It lit a fever in me to get every record I could, and I really digested it.”

From there, Petty developed a strong fandom. He told Rolling Stone, in 2011, about his favorite songs and here we are, more than 10 years later, eager to celebrate the playlist.

Petty commented on Elvis’ 1957 song “Mean Woman Blues,” saying, “She kiss so hard she bruise my lips/Hurts so good my heart just flips. That was pretty heavy stuff for a little kid like me to hear. He brought in backup singers the Jordanaires and used them as a rhythm instrument, which was usually done in old gospel music. That added a whole other dimension.” 

Added Petty, “When it came on the radio, it’d make you swoon every time. He did come back and do a few great things. It wasn’t all over.”

Let’s dive into Tom Petty’s Top 10 favorite Elvis songs.

1. “That’s All Right” (1954)

“That’s All Right” is the debut single by Elvis, originally written by American blues singer Arthur Crudup. Elvis’ version was recorded on July 5, 1954, and released on July 19, 1954.

2. “Baby Let’s Play House” (1955)

Elvis’ version of “Baby Let’s Play House” differs from the original. The King started the song with the chorus, whereas the original writer Arthur Gunter began with the first verse. Elvis also replaced Gunter’s line You may get religion with the words You may have a Pink Cadillac.

3. “Heartbreak Hotel” (1956)

“Heartbreak Hotel,” released as a single on January 27, 1956, was Presley’s first on his new record label RCA Victor. The song was written by Mae Boren Axton and Tommy Durden, with credit also being given to Presley.

4. “Hound Dog” (1956)

Originally written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the song was first recorded by Big Mama Thornton on August 13, 1952.

5. “Mean Woman Blues” (1957)

“Mean Woman Blues” was written by Claude Demetrius. Elvis recorded it for the soundtrack of the 1957 film Loving You.

6. “One Night With You” (1958)

Written by Dave Bartholomew, Pearl King, and Anita Steinman, “One Night With You” was an R&B hit for Smiley Lewis in 1956, before Elvis earned greater commercial success with it in 1957.

7. “Santa Clause Is Coming To Town” (1957)

One of Elvis’ many holiday hits, along with “Blue Christmas.”

8. “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” (1961)

Maybe the best Elvis song ever.

9. “A Mess of Blues” (1960)

“A Mess of Blues” was originally recorded by Elvis for RCA Records in 1960. It was written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman.

10. “(Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame” (1961)

“His Latest Flame” was written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman and was first recorded by Del Shannon on the album Runaway With Del Shannon, which was released in June 1961. Later Elvis released his version in August of that same year.

Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

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