Elvis Presley: Here’s Who Asked the King to Record ‘Danny Boy’

by Emily Morgan

Elvis Presley may have passed away decades ago, but his fans continue to learn about The King even today. Recently, his official Instagram page dropped a tidbit of info about one of his classic covers that left fans stunned. 

According to the post, Elvis was inspired to record the “Danny Boy” cover by someone near and dear to him: his father. Vernon Presley was the person who encouraged his son to lay down the track— which is today known as one of his biggest hits. 

The Story Behind Elvis Presley’s ‘Danny Boy’

Frederic Edward Weatherly wrote the original “Danny Boy “in 1913 with music adapted from the Irish song “Londonderry Air.” Since its inception, the song has been recorded countless times by artists such as Ernestine Shumank-Heink, Gracie Fields, the Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1940, Bing Crosby, Conway Twitty, and Ray Price, Johnny Cash, in addition to Elvis. 

Elvis included the cover on his 1976 album, From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee. The album acted as his twenty-third studio album, and later, it became his fourth album to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Country Music Albums charts. The song was also one of the songs played at Elvis’ funeral

Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer’s gone, and all the roses falling
It’s you, It’s you must go and I must bide
But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow
Or when the valley’s hushed and white with snow
It’s I’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow
Oh, Danny boy, Oh Danny boy, I love you so

As to the true meaning behind “Danny Boy,” some have interpreted the song to be a message from a parent to a son going off to war or uprising — which would make sense as to why Elvis’ dad wanted him to record the song. Additionally, Elvis also served in the Army. 

In addition to “Danny Boy,” other songs off the record also saw success. “Hurt” was a top 10 hit on both the country and adult contemporary charts. “For the Heart” stalled at No. 45 on the country charts but made the top 30 on the pop charts. 

 Both songs would later find success on the country charts in the 1980s. “For the Heart” became the first single for the Judd family in 1983, while Juice Newton’s version of “Hurt” climbed to No. 1 in 1986.