Friday, November 1, 2019

50 years ago: Elvis Presley hit #1 with “Suspicious Minds”

Suspicious Minds

Elvis Presley

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

Released: August 26, 1969

First Charted: September 13, 1969

Peak: 11 US, 12 CB, 12 HR, 4 AC, 6 CL, 2 UK, 12 CN, 13 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

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

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 5.0 radio, 317.0 video, 228.47 streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

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 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. TC “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. BR The sessions brought him back to his Memphis roots JAwhere he hadn’t recorded since his Sun sessions in July 1955. BR

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 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:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Elvis Presley
  • BBC BBC Radio 2 (2004). “Sold on Song Top 100
  • BR Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 260.
  • TC Toby Creswell (2005). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. Thunder’s Mouth Press: New York, NY. Page 52.
  • JA David A. Jasen. (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 185.
  • SF Songfacts
  • TB Thunder Bay Press (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA. Page 116.

First posted 9/13/2009; last updated 4/25/2021.

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