How Elvis Presley’s Songwriter Reacted to Eminem Sampling ‘Jailhouse Rock’

Eminem sampled Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock” for a song from Baz Luhrmann’s movie Elvis. One of the writers of “Jailhouse Rock” revealed what he thought of Eminem’s track. In addition, he hoped the public would react to the new song in a certain way.

The co-writer of Elvis Presley’s ‘Jailhouse Rock’ is not a big fan of rap music
Mike Stoller worked with Jerry Leiber on some of the most famous songs of the 1950s and 1960s, including Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” and The Drifters’ “On Broadway.” In addition, they co-wrote some classic Elvis hits, including “Hound Dog,” “Don’t,” and “Jailhouse Rock.” Eminem sampled the latter for his song “The King and I,” which appeared on the soundtrack of Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis.

During a 2022 interview with Variety, Stoller revealed he wasn’t that impressed with “The King and I.” “I’m not a super rap fan,” he admitted. “My favorite rap was Grandmaster Flash on ‘The Message,’ which goes back a whole bunch of years; that’s the only one that I was really taken with. But hey, it’s generational, I think.”

Mike Stoller discussed hearing Eminem sample ‘Jailhouse Rock’ for the 1st time
In the same interview, Stoller discussed hearing “The King and I” for the first time. “I think it was presented to the guys who run Leiber and Stoller stuff, and they had already done it and were gonna put it in the movie,” he said. “What can I say? I hope it’s a big hit.

“They call it ‘The King and I,’ which is a good title,” he added. “It’s (Eminem performing) over the background sound of Elvis’ recording of ‘Jailhouse Rock,’ which Jerry and I virtually produced as well as wrote — not the movie version, but the single version that Jerry and I were in the studio with Elvis working on back in 1957.”

For context, the title “The King and I” is a pun. It refernces Elvis’ moniker “the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” and the musical The King and I. This wordplay might explain why Stoller enjoyed the title so much.

Eminem revealed what he thought about Elvis Presley as an artist and a dancer
Notably, Eminem discussed his own feelings about Elvis before. In his song “Without Me,” the rapper said he and Elvis both co-opted Back music. He even dressed as Elvis in the video for “Without Me.”

During a 2009 interview with Metro Times, Eminem said she was not a big fan of the “Heartbreak Hotel” singer. Despite this, he considered Elvis “one of the great artists” and praised his dancing skills. Eminem had a difficult time recreating some of the singer’s dance moves for the “Without Me” video.

Stoller wasn’t a big fan of “The King and I” — but the song shows the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll is still influential.

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