Fans of Elvis Presley have congregated with flickering candles at the graveside of the King in Memphis, Tennessee. They flock to the grave of the rock n’ roll icon every year. On the 41st anniversary of his death, 2018 marks a special year as Presley’s famous 1968 comeback special sees its 50th anniversary. The made-for-TV special revived Elvis’s ailing career and has been given a special cinema release.
To honour The King’s passing we at Nova have compiled what we, in our humble opinion think, are The King’s ten best songs!
1. “Mystery Train”
This cover of a 1953 Junior Parker song peaked at Number 11 on the Billboard Country Charts. However, a few months later RCA would release “Heartbreak Hotel” and completely outshine everything that Presley released before!
2. “Kentucky Rain”
The 1970s started well for The King when he released Eddie Rabbit and Dick Heard’s heartfelt “Kentucky Rain” as a single in January. The song hit Number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100, selling over a million copies.
3. “An American Trilogy”
Nashville pro, Mickey Newbury, tried to bring a country still feeling the wounds of a civil war some 100 years previous together by merging “Dixie,” “All My Trials” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and into a grand patriotic song. Elvis delivers in just four-and-a-half minutes.
4. “Heartbreak Hotel”
In early 1956 with the help of his new record label, RCA, Elvis recorded a track that would stay on top of the Hot 100 for seven whole weeks. It got Presley onto TV, sparking a nationwide Elvis hysteria that still burns today. “Heartbreak Hotel” made Elvis a US household name.
5. “Love Me Tender”
1956 remained to be a stellar year for Presley as song after song raced up the charts. His final Number One of that year was “Love Me Tender,” a ballad penned by Ken Darby. The song became a movie of the same name hitting cinemas across the States as Presley became the centre point for a hysterical fan base.
6. “Can’t Help Falling in Love”
The track has been covered by everybody from Bob Dylan to U2 to UB40, who turned it into a huge hit in 1993. The dreamy song was also a signifier for audiences at his concerts that the night was coming to a close. The tune was written for his 1961 movie Blue Hawaii.
7. “Jailhouse Rock”
Another song that was written for one of Elvis’s movies. It’s not known if Elvis was aware of the meaning of the lines “You’re the cutest jailbird I ever did see/I sure would be delighted with your company.” The implication of inter-inmate romance was seemingly lost on most listeners! The song ended up knocking “Wake Up Little Susie” from the top spot of the charts.
8. “In the Ghetto”
The King’s excellent 1968 comeback TV special catapulted Presley back to the top. Elvis had taken somewhat of a backseat in popular culture as the likes of The Beatles and Dylan were making waves. His newfound energy was channelled into “In the Ghetto.” The song is about the harsh cycle of poverty and despair in America’s inner-cities. Eventually hitting Number Three in the charts and confirming the fact that Elvis was back.
9. “If I Can Dream”
Only two months after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, Elvis Presley recorded this moving tribute to the civil rights legend. It was the rousing climax to his 1968 comeback special, and he delivered with inspiring passion. The track hit Number 12 on the Hot 100, and many see it as one of the greatest performances of his career.
This song was a personal reflection on his failing marriage to Priscilla but became Elvis’ first Number One hit in seven years and was a regular highlight of his live act. It’s obvious he poured some of his marital disappointment, particularly over his own shortcomings as a husband, into the tune. It can be argued that “Suspicious Minds” is The King’s finest moment.
Don’t forget you can keep up-to-date on all things Nova over on our Instagram page – follow us for all the craziness of radio life coupled with news, sports and LOTS of cool competitions! Click here…