I was listening to some Elvis Presley tunes when “Let It Be Me” came on. I thought the verse really sounded like “I’ll Be There” so I dug into my best friends Wikipedia and YouTube.
“Let It Be Me” is a popular song originally published in 1955 as “Je t’appartiens”. The score was written and first recorded by Gilbert Bécaud. The lyrics were penned in French by Pierre Delanoë. The English language version used lyrics by Mann Curtis and was performed in 1957 by Jill Corey in the television series Climax!. Corey’s version, with orchestration by Jimmy Carroll, was released as a single and was moderately successful. The most popular version of “Let It Be Me” was released in 1960 by The Everly Brothers. It reached 7th position on the Billboard Hot 100. The harmony arrangement of this version was often emulated in subsequent remakes.
I’ve included Mariah Carey‘s 1992 version of “I’ll Be There” in addition to The Jackson 5. Enjoy!
These foreign language crossover re-writes are interesting cases. Two others in Elvis’ canon come to mind — “Wooden Heart” from G.I. Blues, based on an old German folk song, and “It’s Now or Never”, Elvis’ biggest International hit ever, which was built off the Italian classic “O Sole Mio”. It’s worth noting that neither of these songs are direct translations of the originals, but instead predominantly use their melodies to frame newly written English lyrics (and feature added credits for the songwriters commissioned by Elvis for the adaptations).
Perhaps not coincidentally, both of these hits originate from the time in the late ’50s while Elvis was in the army, stationed overseas in Germany. Amazingly, this was the only period during his career that Elvis ever left North America, due to Colonel Tom Parker’s mutual fear of flying and refusal to let Elvis stray too far out of his sight after his return from the service.
Thanks for these great examples Ben!!
Mariah version is awful. Talk about wringing the fun out of a song with needless melisma. Jackson got his own back though with some beyond the grave karma with her hilariously bad version at his funeral.
The Jill corey Versions sounds like Pachabel’s Cannon in D… Canon in D also was ripped off by “graduation song” by Vitamin C
I have always thought that “Let It Be Me” was inspired by Canon. Other songs inspired by Canon include “Walk Hand In Hand”(I don’t know who did it first but the version I’m most familiar with is the one by Gerry and the Pacemakers) and “Walk Away Renee” by the Left Banke and the Four Tops.
I have found Walk Hand in Hand was first recorded by Denny Vaughan (1956), even before Andy Williams, Vera Lynn and Tony Martin, who had the biggest hit with it, according to Wikipedia.