And we’re not talking record sales.
We’ll get back to that question in a bit.
First, on the schedule today, of course…
8:30 PM. Graceland Front Gate
After an opening ceremony at the Gates of Graceland, fans are invited to walk up the driveway to Elvis’ gravesite and back down carrying a candle in quiet remembrance. Gates remain open until all who wish to participate in the procession have done so, which typically takes until the early morning hours of August 16, the anniversary of Elvis’ passing.
It is amazing that so many people turn out for a celebrity who’s been gone for 40 years.
This year, for the first time, in order to participate in the candlelight vigil, you’ll need a special pass.
Now, before tonight’s vigil:
3:00 PM. Graceland Soundstage A, Elvis Presley’s Memphis. $30
Hear the stories behind the songs written for the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll during our Songwriters Showcase. Hosted by Andy Childs, the Songwriters Showcase will feature music, stories and special guests talking about the music they wrote for Elvis. Confirmed guests include Mac Davis, who wrote many of Elvis’ hits, such as “In the Ghetto;” Mike Stoller, who with his partner Jerry Leiber, wrote more than twenty songs recorded by Elvis, including “Jailhouse Rock,” “Loving You,” “Love Me,” and “Treat Me Nice”; and Mark James, who wrote “Suspicious Minds,” “Always on my Mind,” “Moody Blue,” among others.
Mark James. “Suspicious Minds.”
Let’s return to our original question.
What was his greatest hit/single?
For the record, “Little Sister” to me is the boss Elvis. Not far behind, though, is “It’s Now Or Never.”
However, in my view, the question is ludicrous. Trying to determine the answer is like taking 100 Elvis fans down at Elvis Week in Memphis, putting them in a room, and asking each of them to pick their one and only favorite Elvis song.
You will not get the 100 to all give the same response.
The website Elvis Information Network did examine the question of Elvis’s greatest single in 2009 that just happened to be the 40th anniversary of “Suspicious Minds.”
“Suspicious Minds” was Elvis’ greatest single of the 1960s and opinion polls often vote it as the greatest song Elvis ever recorded.
And then the article launched into a very lengthy history of the song, and I mean very lengthy.
Fights between producers.
The song almost didn’t get recorded.
Was the famous fade at the end a good idea or not?
So read if you like. No stone will be unturned.
I do know this.
Locally, when WRIT-FM in Milwaukee used to broadcast oldies they’d play “Suspicious Minds” a lot. And that’s about the only Elvis recording they’d play.
Now they’ve gone to a predominantly (and ratings successful) 80’s format meaning no Elvis, no how.
The writer of “Suspicious Minds,” Mark James told the Elvis Information Network:
I had the idea for ‘Suspicious Minds’ and it started coming to me one night. First the title came and I thought about it and lived with it a while. Then the lyric came to me, “caught in a trap, I can’t walk out because I love YOU too much, baby.” What I was trying to say is that we can’t live together or attain our dreams or build on anything if we don’t trust one another. ‘Suspicious Minds’ captured a lot of soul. I was a writer trying to write a great song, a hit song and it came off just right.”
And again from the same lengthy article:
‘Suspicious Minds’ was a serious pop song about deep love, suspicion and hurt and with a dramatic operatic power. Elvis’ musical strength had always been as a great interpretive singer and it would only be the absolute passion he injected into the song that would elevate it to the #1 slot.
It’s important to note that in Vegas Elvis worked his heart out, performing not one but two shows a night.
His good friend, Wayne Newton admitted that after Elvis died, he, Newton, and many others swore they would never do two shows a night ever again.
Finally, according to this, “Suspicious Minds” is not the biggest seller in Elvis’ catalog.