‘Elvis’: Why Jack White Wanted Cover of ‘Power of My Love’ To Be a Duet

by Taylor Cunningham
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Elvis Presley lent a certain amount of inspiration to Jack White’s career, just as he did for most modern singers. And for White, that inspiration grew into a profound love and respect for the original King of Rock. So when he had the opportunity to record a cover for the soundtrack of Baz Lurhmann’s new Elvis biopic, he had to be sure that he did the song right. And what better way to do that than by collaborating with The King himself?

During a sit-down with Variety, White admitted that he has a borderline obsession with Elvis. The former White Stripes frontman even admitted that he forked over $300,000 for the first acetate recordings of My Happiness and That’s When Your Heartaches Begin, which came in the form of a demo disk produced in 1953.

Because he didn’t want to keep the musical history to himself, he lent the discs to a museum. But before he did, he digitally transferred the music onto a facsimile 78 RPM 10-inch vinyl so he could re-release it through his Third Man label.

With that kind of dedication to Elvis’ legacy, Jack White was a shoo-in to work on the Elvis soundtrack. And once Lurhmann reached out to him, White immediately began deliberating over all the ways he could record his cover of Power of My Love justice.

Jack White Followed in the Footsteps of Two Other Classic Singers While Working on His ‘Elvis’ Cover

Jack White understood that no one could simply reproduce an Elvis hit and give fans a rendition of equal quality. So he thought hard about how to record the song respectfully. And in the end, he realized that Elvis had to somehow be included in the project—literally.

From the start, White and Luhrmann “chatted about different things.” But after listening to White’s initial cover, the director “had this idea of it being a duet” with both White and Elvis’ voice inside. And that gave Jack White an idea.

“My mind popped back to that Natalie Cole and Nat King Cole album, where they did those sort of from-the-grave duets, or whatever is a polite way to put it,” he recalled. “I always loved that record. So I gave them the original tracks of my recording and said, ‘Remix it and make it into something new.’ I’m glad somebody else did it. I didn’t want to handle messing up Elvis’ voice with my own. That’s too scary; I would just end up burying my own voice, out of respect.”

You can listen to the final cut on the Elvis soundtrack, which is available to buy or stream today.

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