I’m always amazed at how little respect Elvis garners from my peers. I mean, the man was so influential, setting cultural riffs in the 50s that are still reverberating. He brought gospel and R&B gems to the forefront, but with his own unique stamp that included tons of attitude and snarl. No he didn’t invent Rock ‘n Roll, but was undeniably the main thrust behind it. I mean, parents and old school titans couldn’t stand his uproariousness and even Frank Sinatra blamed Elvis and his performances for degenerate youth behavior. Yeah! Even the cover of his debut, self-titled album propelled the guitar as the instrument that best captured this “new music.”
Whether it was the hillbilly swagger that exemplified rockabilly or the overweight baritone laden, Las Vegas style showcase, I’ll take it all. I’m not quite as sycophantic as Clarence in True Romance, but I do have a great deal of reverence for the King.
Picking five Elvis songs is an obnoxiously hard feat considering he recorded more than 700 of them. But I can’t complain because I assigned myself with the task and it seemed somehow appropriate for Memorial Day weekend without doing a more obligatory, war songs or war movie scores. But nonetheless, a big thank you to all of our veterans! And to express my thanks:
My Top 5 Elvis Presley Songs
5. Trying to Get to You
This song is so damn good. While it was “That’s All Right” that really caught the ear of Sam Phillips (and understandably so), “Trying to Get to You” is an early track that shows the true rock ‘n roll range of Elvis, from a smooth balladeer to a snarling rocker. Love the reverb saturated guitar work that sounds like the beginnings of surf rock.No matching videos
4. Little Sister
It’s just such a cool song with a sound and structure that still stands relevant and fresh even today. And what a great concept. His ex-girlfriend has moved on, but she has a little sister and he’s like, “Hey, I notice you, let’s hook this up, but just don’t pull that stuff that your elder sibling did.”No matching videos
3. Blue Christmas
It may be a Christmas song, but it’s good all year long. Such a soulful delivery, fantastic background vocal accompaniment and that perfect hint of rockabilly. Still one of the best Christmas songs ever recorded.No matching videos
2. Suspicious Minds
This was Elvis’s big comeback song in the late 60s. He performs it as such an emotional outpouring . . . the perfect tone considering the content. The song is just undeniable as it continues to build and build until it reaches the slowed tempo breakdown, where the protagonist gives it one last shot. Background singers, horns and a great guitar and drum sound make this not only one of my Elvis favorites, but one of my favorites period.
1. Love Me
This song is so simple and cool, but possesses an ethereal air to it, not quite the same type that was the aim in his recording of “Blue Moon,” which is absolutely stunning, but more of a natural connection, that uncanny ability he had to really assert his presence.No matching videos
There are so many others, including honorable mentions for “That’s All Right Mama,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “King Creole,” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.” Happy Memorial Day, thank a veteran and do the King proud by gorging yourself on some barbecue.