The Best Songs By Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley performing Love Me Tender live, 1970 - Tania Vasileva / Youtube
Its indisputable that the King of Rock n’ Roll has done a great deal to boost the genre into the mainstream. Elvis Presley had a deadly arsenal of qualities that made him an effective poster child of rock n’ roll. Unbelievably handsome, jet black hair, a stance full of swagger, and a voice that had its own branding of machismo, Elvis wooed the masses into submission, heralding the once black-exclusive sound to the airwaves. Here are some of his most memorable songs.
“Burning Love” – (1972)
A cover of a country soul original by Arthur Alexander, Elvis saw one of his massive successes with his own rendition of the single. He took the country inspiration and wove it around a rock n’ roll base, for an instant hit that immediately took to the charts.
“Blue Suede Shoes” – Elvis Presley (1956)
Borne from Johnny Cash suggesting Carl Perkins to write a song about some forgotten serviceman’s “blue suede shoes”, Elvis covered the song after Perkins’ version was out. He winged his version out to help Perkins, who was just recovering from an accident.
“All Shook Up” – (1957)
This mellow rock n’ roll track features Presley’s laid-back vocals and a circular piano riff that pauses at times, enhancing the engagement of the listener.
“Love Me Tender” – (1956)
Single after single, Elvis was hitting the charts, with “Love Me Tender” getting the top spot as well. The slow ballad, written by Ken Darby, features soulful backing vocals supplementing Elvis’ rich voice.
“In The Ghetto” – From Elvis In Memphis (1969)
One of Elvis’ songs that features social commentary, “In The Ghetto” resonated with people who dealt or have experienced the effect of poverty firsthand. The song features a reminder at every point, expressing the urgency and reality of the situation.
“Hound Dog” – (1956)
From Big Mama Thornton’s catalog, “Hound Dog” was covered by Elvis, and like his other covers, saw massive success than the original recording. Elvis’ crystal clear vocals and the rock n’ roll arrangement became a symbol of the genre’s proliferation.
“Heartbreak Hotel” – (1956)
From a tragic inspiration of a man’s suicide by jumping from a hotel window, “Heartbreak Hotel” exudes a haunting quality, with Elvis’ hard-hitting lyrics and the foreboding melody that adds to the cruel charm of the track.
“Can’t Help Falling In Love” – Blue Hawaii (1961)
Initially written from a woman’s point of view, the track’s melody was based from a popular French song from 1784. The slow and poignant progression is painted a vivid hue by Elvis’ deep and rich voice, for a profound confession in the form of a song.
“Suspicious Minds” – (1969)
From a failed attempt by original artist Mark James, Presley revived the track and made it a hit. Talking about a dysfunctional relationship based on James’ personal life, the track featured a catchy melody that contrasted the melancholic lyrics.
“Jailhouse Rock” – Jailhouse Rock (1957)
Arguably Elvis’ most successful song, “Jailhouse Rock” was tongue-in-cheek humor that turned into a rock n’ roll masterpiece as soon as he performed it. The catchy progression and signature 50’s rock licks paved the way for the genre to break through the mainstream.