Elvis Presley – I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine2nd January 2022 · Music Genre, Rock'n'Roll, Rockabilly
Some time in the mid-1990s I went to write about the rival Elvis impersonators of Streatham.
There were two Italian restaurants next door to one another on the High Street and competition for custom was fierce. When one of them hired an Elvis impersonator, he was an instant hit, so the owner of the joint next door did the same.
A chance to see the duelling Elvi of Streatham while gorging on lasagne and lager seemed too good to miss, so I rustled up some friends with a penchant for Elvis and Italian food and off I went.
On the night one of the restaurants was empty and the other was heaving, so we went there and settled in for a night of Chianti, carbs and crooning.
Before he performed I had a chat with “Elvis” – a portly middle-aged fellow in a white jumpsuit – and asked him about his career.
“I’ve been doing Elvis for a couple of years,” he said, presumably having had to hold off until his girth matched the Presley of the Vegas years. “Before that a bit of Neil Diamond, some Tom Jones….”
He then presented me with a bottle of champagne from the proprietor, in an attempt to bribe me to write nice things about his restaurant – but I was already sold even before he had sung a note.
He then asked me if I liked Elvis (I do), and what my favourite Elvis song was, and offered to sing it for me. “It’s a bit obscure,” I said, hesitantly.
“That’s all right,” he said, not referring to the song of that name. “I’m a big Elvis fan myself.”
“And it’s not that easy to sing,” I said, adding: “It’s in a very high key.”
“Don’t worry mate,” he reassured me enthusiastically. “What is it?”
I told him the title of my favourite: ‘I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine’ – the B-side of Elvis’s second single, Good Rocking Tonight, recorded in 1954 when he was just 19 and still had a high, sweet voice, rather than the deep “Uh-huh-huh” that usually springs to mind.
There was a pause, while South London’s premier Elvis impersonator racked the hit-filled Presley library in his brain for a song with that title, while thinking about how to save face when that failed.
Eventually he put an arm on my shoulder. “Tell you what, mate” he said with an encouraging grin. “Do you like ‘Love Me Tender’?”