Earworm of the Week #3 – Elvis, Doc Pomus and “She’s Not You”

Not sure how this has come about, but for over a week now the slow build-up to She’s Not You by Elvis Presley has been spinning around in my head. He starts way down in his boots with the “her hair is soft” part, and then gradually climbs up the scale by the end of the first verse. I’ve probably described that badly, and yet again I don’t think this part of the song is called “the hook”, but it’s the part that’s formed an earworm that’s for sure.

elvis-presley-con-the-jordanaires-shes-not-you-1962-3

I’ve written about Elvis often around here as the very first album bought with my own money (aged 9) was indeed an Elvis one, and although they are oft derided, I did love watching his antics in all those happy-go-lucky movies made during the 1960s, when his manager “Colonel” (a made-up title much like General Tom Thumb) Tom Parker took him off the road, and he became permanently holed up in Hollywood. Had Elvis been a stronger character this would probably never have happened, but he was a polite southern boy who had been brought up to respect his elders, so he did as he was told and pretty much killed his credibility for much of the decade. Fortunately, the triumph that was the ’68 Comeback Special got him out performing in front of live audiences again, and his career entered it’s third stage – The Las Vegas residencies. Again, the Colonel took care of business and as we all now know, this turn of events didn’t end well for our boy, but watching him in this clip he certainly was a fine looking young man.

She’s Not You by Elvis Presley:

As for the song, there’s not a lot I can say about it other than it was one of many Elvis hits to reach the top of the UK Singles Chart, in 1962 in this case. It was however written by Doc Pomus (aka Jerome Solon Felder) in collaboration with Leiber and Stoller who between them were responsible for many of the songs we of a certain age grew up with. Looking at their respective songwriting credits, as well as writing many, many songs for Elvis, they also wrote for The Coasters, Bobby Darin, Dion and the Belmonts, The Drifters, Perry Como and Andy Williams (amongst others).

There is so much that could be written about Elvis but most of it is already well documented (even in this blog), so I won’t bore you, but here is something new I’ve discovered – The name Presley is a common one here in the North of Scotland and Elvis’ family do have roots in Aberdeenshire. The name in our neck of the woods is always pronounced Prez-ley, but apparently the correct pronunciation of Elvis’ name is Press-ley. I think I’ve been getting it wrong my whole life. Also, we know his middle name was Aaron but it turns out he was given the name Elvis Aron at birth to tie in with his stillborn twin brother’s name Jesse Garon. Down the line it was decided to change it to the more biblical Aaron. As I often say around here, every day’s a schoolday.

It occurred to me that the subject matter of this song is not an unusual one. How many times have we had our hearts broken because the boy we really want to dance with, picks another girl? I remember crying all the way home from a local dance when I was a teenager because when it came to the slow dance at the end of the night, the object of my affection danced with someone else and I had to dance with the friend. To quote Elvis, or more specifically Doc Pomus, “he’s not you”. I even wrote a poem about it.

A Saturday Night Tragedy at Age 16

Last dance of the night
Please let him choose me

The band starts to play…
Next few seconds are key

Play it cool, not needy
Eyes to the left, don’t plea

He breaks from his gang
Enters the melee

But tragedy strikes
He approaches Marie!

She knows how I feel
So how can this be

Tears prick my eyes
From the dance floor I flee

And of course this reminds me of another 1962 Elvis song by Doc Pomus, (Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame which covered just the same dilemma – How we were ever expected to find “the one” when we all seemed to be dancing with the WRONG people is a mystery, but who knows, maybe at the end of the day, Mr Wrong turns out to be Mr Right.

Until next time….

She’s Not You Lyrics
(Song by Doc Pomus/Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller)

Her hair is soft and her eyes are oh so blue
She’s all the things a girl should be,
but she’s not you.

She knows just how to make me laugh when I feel blue
She’s ev’rything a man could want,
but she’s not you.

And when we’re dancing
It almost feels the same
I’ve got to stop myself from
Whisp’ring your name

She even kisses me like you used to do.
And it’s just breaking my heart
’cause she’s not you.

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

21 thoughts on “Earworm of the Week #3 – Elvis, Doc Pomus and “She’s Not You””

          1. Well that makes sense – Doesn’t sound right at all pronounced Dave-ees. Same language, so many different pronunciations – Mos-co, Mos-cow always sounds strange to my ears.

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                1. Both Dschinghis Khan (German spelling of Genghis Khan) and Boney M. were pop groups from Germany, though both with many non-German members. Dschinghis Khan was produced by Ralph Siegel, a composer who has had songs in the contest in very many years (not just for Germany but also for other countries) but has won just once, in 1982. (Boney M. were produced by Frank Farian.) Dschinghis Khan entered the Eurovision Song Contest in 1979 in Israel with a song called “Dschinghis Khan”, winning fourth place. The most famous member is Leslie Mandoki (originally László Mándoki and from Hungary; since the Hungarians are descended from the Mongols, perhaps it is appropriate that two members of the band were Hungarians), who has recorded with a huge number of famous rock musicians.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by Chris – It’s a brave man who comments on a post referring to early ’60s Hollywood Elvis it seems! It just occurred to me that I probably first watched his films 50 years ago when I was 9 and just perfect fodder for that age group, as full of colour, singing and dancing, but always a flimsy plot and dubious acting.

      Yes Jailhouse Rock was one of the better movies and here’s a little anecdote. Elvis was a great mover and dancer but couldn’t follow choreography. For that iconic scene in Jailhouse Rock it was decided that he would take the lead and the rest of the dancers would just follow him the best they could. It’s kind of obvious when you watch it now, but made it a lot more spontaneous and raw, which worked well.

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    2. And of course there is no controlling what pops into your head and forms an earworm! I’m not sure if you are similarly afflicted but the term is very apt, as the uncalled for song just wriggles about in there for up to a week and you have no ability to switch off or turn down the volume. It will pass soon hopefully but will no doubt be replaced by something else.

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    1. Until I looked at their respective discographies, I hadn’t realised these songwriters were responsible for so many of these short 2min 30sec songs from my youth. A sweet pop song (but STILL an earworm grrr…).

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  1. Ben Folds and Nick Hornby wrote a song about Doc Pomus called Lonely Avenue. He had rather a tragic life. It encouraged me to read his biography (which I think may also be called Lonely Avenue). Definitely worth hunting down.

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    1. Lovely to have you drop by – You are missed around here but hope you’re finding a bit more time for other things.

      That’s an interesting song and I do like Ben Folds voice and delivery – Something 60s-esque about it. As for Doc Pomus I think you mentioned him over at your place once and a really unusual name so now it jumps out at me when I see it. He and his songwriter partner were responsible for an awful lot of the songs I am familiar with from my childhood. Yes, will have to hunt down his biography.

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