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Portraits of famous lyricist Charles Wesley and famous singer Elvis Presley hang inside Son Studios. Photo illustration by Christopher Patrick.

Photo illustration by Christopher Patrick

Portraits of famous lyricist Charles Wesley and famous singer Elvis Presley hang inside Son Studios.

“Music to our ears!” Historians find Elvis recordings of Wesley hymns

By Aileen Mildred*
April 1, 2017

They are both revered in the music world, but what few knew until now is how connected the King of Rock and Roll and the most famous Methodist hymnwriter were.

In a press release dated April 1, 2017, experts from Son Records, a religious branch of the famous Sun Records where Elvis Presley once recorded, confirmed that two reel-to-reel tapes were recently sent to their headquarters from the estate of a Memphis fan.

It seems Mrs. Christina Joseph frequented the Son Records offices regularly in the 1950s, bringing leftovers from potlucks at her Methodist church nearby. On one of those visits she spied some tapes marked, "Wesley music" and apparently decided to hold onto them as souvenirs. She later felt guilty for her theft and hid the tapes. Her children discovered them stashed behind the family piano after her death. The heirs felt it was most appropriate to return the reels to the record company.

According to the April 1 release, Son Records invited Pat Daleson from the United Methodist archives agency to listen to the reels and Daleson reports that Elvis in fact cut 7 songs by Charles Wesley, including his most famous song, "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing."

"This discovery is literally music to our ears," notes Daleson. "We hope to work with Son Records in the near future to try and release the project to the public, hopefully just in time for the Christmas season. No one could have a Blue Christmas if they could hear Elvis covering Charles Wesley's songs!"

No one can have an April Fool's Day without some mischief either. We hope you enjoyed our silly story about Elvis and Charles Wesley. Wise men know you should look twice on April 1 before you believe what you read.

*Aileen Mildred is a freelance writer who frequently contributes to "Oldies Music is the Best" and other publications.