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Sometimes, modern music has fascinating parallels with classic rock. Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” helped catapult her into the mainstream. Elvis Presley released a song with the same name decades beforehand. While the two songs are both ballads, they have major differences.

‘Young and Beautiful’ singer Lana Del Rey has paid homage to Elvis Presley many times

Del Rey has repeatedly referenced Elvis in her work. The “All Shook Up” singer is a character in her short film Tropico alongside fellow 1950s icons John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe. Del Rey also quoted the lyrics of “Blue Suede Shoes” in her single “Million Dollar Man.” She even put out a song called “Elvis!”

It’s unclear if Del Rey intentionally wrote a ballad called “Young and Beautiful” as an homage to Elvis’ song of the same title. After all, the latter song is one of the more obscure tracks in the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll‘s catalog. Only the biggest of Elvis fans would be familiar with it.

The 2 singers took the title ‘Young and Beautiful’ in wildly different directions

Of course, having the same title doesn’t make the songs identical. Del Rey’s ballad is about body image and the fear of aging. In it, she asks her lover, “Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful?” It’s an uncomfortable question with no answer. 

Elvis’ ballad isn’t as dark. It’s just a track about a young woman’s beauty. It’s a pretty ditty with a melody reminiscent of “O Christmas Tree.” While Elvis’ crooning makes the song enjoyable, it doesn’t have the haunting power of some of his other slow-dance songs, such as “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” “Love Me,” or “Love Me Tender.”


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How Elvis Presley’s ‘Young and Beautiful’ and Lana Del Rey’s performed on the charts

Elvis’ “Young and Beautiful” never reached the Billboard Hot 100. It appeared on the EP Jailhouse Rock, which promoted the film of the same name. That record did not hit the Billboard 200. In fairness, “Young and Beautiful” came out in 1957, the year before the Billboard Hot 100 debuted, and it was not a single, so it would not have charted at the time of its release. However, Elvis songs like “A Little Less Conversation” have charted long after they came out, so “Young and Beautiful” could have become a belated hit for the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” reached No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 21 weeks. Although it didn’t crack the top 10, Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” became her longest-charting single aside from Cedric Gervais’ EDM remix of “Summertime Sadness.” “Young and Beautiful” appeared on the album The Great Gatsby: Music from Baz Luhrmann’s Film, which reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200. The soundtrack includes contributions from a musically diverse array of artists, such as Fergie, Beyoncé,, and Jack White of The White Stripes.

Elvis’ song and Del Rey’s song are different but they are both, in a word, beautiful.