The Writer of Elvis Presley’s ‘Solitaire’ Didn’t Like His Version of It

Elvis Presley‘s “Solitaire” was originally by Neil Sedaka. The co-writer of the song wasn’t a fan of Elvis’ version. On the other hand, he loved a cover of the song by The Carpenters.

A songwriter disliked that Elvis Presley’s ‘Solitaire’ was from the singer’s ‘fat’ period
Phillip Cody is a songwriter who worked with Neil Sedaka on multiple occasions. He co-wrote Sedaka songs such as “Bad Blood,” “The Immigrant,” and “Solitaire.” The latter song became a standard. The artists who recorded “Solitaire” included The Carpenters, Andy Williams, Sheryl Crowe, and Elvis Presley.

During a 2011 interview with Songfacts, Cody discussed his feelings about Elvis’ “Solitaire.” “It’s sort of weirdly histrionic,” he said. “I mean, I’m happy about it. It’s a wonderful way to sit down and start a conversation. I had an ASCAP country award with Elvis doing ‘Solitaire.’ That’s always nice on my resumé.

“But as far as the performance was concerned — I hate to be condescending, but it was like from the fat Elvis days and not the skinny Elvis days,” he said. “But still, it was Elvis. So the other thing you’d want is maybe Sinatra. But it was interesting. It was a song that nobody at the publisher believed in. And I think it was through Neil’s efforts that that song started to generate attention.”

Philip Cody preferred The Carpenters’ version of the song to Elvis Presley’s
Cody preferred The Carpenters’ version of “Solitaire” because he loved Karen Carpenter’s vocal performance. “As a lyricist, you want that thing where an artist owns your lyric,” he said. “You can measure success by the amount of money you make off a song, but I measure the success of that song by that particular moment, when she made it totally her own.” Cody once sat down and listened to all 90 recordings of “Solitaire.” He felt The Carpenters’ take on the song was the best.

How different versions of ‘Solitaire’ performed on the pop charts in the United States
Elvis’ “Solitaire” was never a single, so it did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100. The cover appeared on the album From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee. That album peaked at No. 41 on the Billboard 200 in 1976. By that point, Elvis was still in the public eye, but he was no longer a relevant force in popular music.

On the other hand, The Carpenters’ “Solitaire” reached No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 10 weeks. The Carpenters’ “Solitaire” appeared on the album Horizon. That record reached No. 13 on the Billboard 200 and remained on the chart for 18 weeks.

Cody wasn’t a fan of Elvis’ “Solitaire” — but the track is still part of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s story.

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