About The Song

Remember Elvis Presley shaking his hips and belting out rock and roll anthems? While that’s a core part of his legacy, Elvis was also an artist who occasionally ventured beyond the expected. “Also Sprach Zarathustra” is a prime example. This unexpected choice showcases his curiosity and willingness to experiment, even incorporating elements of classical music into his repertoire.

Released in 1974 on the album Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis, “Also Sprach Zarathustra” might seem like an odd fit for the King of Rock and Roll. It’s the opening fanfare from Richard Strauss’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, a tone poem inspired by the philosophical treatise of the same name by Friedrich Nietzsche.

But Elvis’s approach to the piece is far from reverent. He takes the iconic, slow-building melody and injects it with a rock and roll swagger. The song starts with a dramatic organ introduction, building tension and anticipation. Then, Elvis’s voice explodes onto the scene, a powerful counterpoint to the orchestral grandeur.

The lyrics themselves are minimal, more of a spoken-word intro than a traditional song. Elvis declares himself a “rock and roll Zarathustra,” a playful twist that injects some humor into the otherwise serious source material.

“Also Sprach Zarathustra” might be a short song, but it’s a fascinating glimpse into the artistic mind of Elvis Presley. It shows his willingness to push boundaries and experiment with different styles. Perhaps more importantly, it reveals a playful side, a man comfortable poking fun at his own image while still delivering a powerful performance.

So, put on your headphones, close your eyes, and prepare to be surprised. Elvis Presley’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra” might not be a typical rock and roll song, but it’s a testament to his versatility and his enduring legacy as an artist who defied expectations.