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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

PJ Harvey Meditates on Elvis Presley Songs

A black and white picture of Elvis laughing and wearing a floral shirt.


PJ Harvey created a fictional character who was inspired by an Elvis Presley song. She’s also a huge Bob Dylan fan and discussed her feelings about one of his songs.

PJ Harvey is a big Elvis Presley fan and meditates on his songs. She even created a fictional character who was inspired by Elvis’ “Love Me Tender.” In the same vein, she is a huge Bob Dylan fan and discussed her feelings about one of his more recent songs.

PJ Harvey said she could lose herself in Elvis Presley’s songs

During a 2022 interview with Rolling Stone, Harvey discussed her book-length poem Orlam. She was asked why the poem features a character named Wyman-Elvis who performs “Love Me Tender.” “Well, I loved Elvis, as a lot of children of my era did, and I still love Elvis,” he said. “I love everything about him. I could lose myself in that voice, but not only that, the way he looked as well. He is almost a godlike figure in Orlam.

The interviewer was surprised by Harvey’s statements, as she never recorded a cover of one of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s songs. “Oh, I do meditate on Elvis songs to myself,” he said. “I very often play his work at the piano.”

PJ Harvey said she’s also a huge fan of 1 of Bob Dylan’s song about JFK

Harvey was asked to name the music that inspired her and she seemed partial to classic rock singers. “I think sort of contemporary music I’ve really loved Thom Yorke’s solo projects, but also his work with the Smile,” he said. “Bob Dylan, I mean ‘Murder Most Foul’ was absolutely astonishing.” “Murder Most Foul” is Dylan’s epic tune about the assassination of John F. Kennedy that includes numerous references to other songs.

“I find no greater pleasure than when I see an artist who I’ve admired all my life, doing their best work as their most recent work,” Harvey said. “I think, ‘Oh, wow.’ That just fills me with such pleasure. And I felt that with Bob Dylan’s entire Rough and Rowdy Ways album.” Other artists she likes include composers Jonny Greenwood, Mica Levi, Hildur Guðnadóttir, and Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Elvis Presley’s ‘Love Me Tender’ was a hit in the United States and the United Kingdom

Long before “Love Me Tender” inspired Harvey, the ballad was a huge hit for the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits reached No. 1 in the United States for five weeks. It was the “All Shook Up” singer‘s first ballad to hit No. 1. As his career progressed, ballads became a bigger part of his repertoire. 

In Harvey’s native United Kingdom, “Love Me Tender” was a hit as well. There, the tune peaked at No. 11 and stayed on the chart for nine weeks. It’s interesting that the song wasn’t nearly as popular in the U.K. as it was in the U.S. Notably, “Love Me Tender” is based on a 19th-century American folk ballad called “Aura Lee.” Perhaps the song resonated more with American audiences because it was based on a tune that was already in their cultural lexicon.

Elvis’ music resonated with people across the globe and Harvey was one of those people.

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