Sunday, September 13, 2009

Forty Years Ago Today: Elvis Presley charts with “Suspicious Minds” (9/13/1969)

image from ultratop.be


Elvis Presley “Suspicious Minds”


Writer(s): Mark James (see lyrics here)

First charted: 9/13/1969

Peak: 11, 4 AC, 2 UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, -- UK, 7.0 world (includes US and UK)

Radio Airplay (in millions): 5.0 Video Airplay (in millions): 158.8


Review: The BBC called this song “the last great moment in the career of Elvis Presley” BBC while a 2002 readers poll in New Musical Express made the even bolder proclamation that it was the best song of Elvis’ career. TB-116 In 1969, the crown of the King of Rock and Roll had greatly tarnished thanks to a decade’s worth of poor choices both in song and film. CR-52 “Suspicious Minds” was more than just a symbolic return to the top – it also marked his first #1 on the U.S. pop charts in seven years.

This song emerged in the first recording sessions after Elvis’ NBC television special on December 3, 1968, which was largely seen as his comeback. BR1-260 The sessions brought him back to his Memphis roots JA-185 where he hadn’t recorded since his Sun sessions in July 1955. BR1-260

His renewed zest is evident in his vibrant singing backed by a “Stax-like chorus alternating with the slow-burning verses” BBC which find Elvis begging a lover not to derail their relationship with distrust. The song also sports the famous fake-out ending in which the song has nearly faded out, only to see Elvis jump back in to spit out the chorus repeatedly. BBC

Memphis singer Mark James wrote the song and recorded a version, but it went nowhere. Chips Moman, a soul producer in Memphis, SF produced the original AMG and brought it to Elvis in 1969. SF As had typically been the case in the past, Elvis’ manager Colonel Parker demanded that the song’s copyright owner hand over part of the publishing royalties. BBC However, Elvis weighed in with better judgment when his love of the song trumped The Colonel’s love of money. BBC


Resources and Related Links:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.


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