In case you missed all the coverage marking the occasion, this past Friday would have been Elvis Presley‘s 75th birthday. Never one to miss a chance to cash in, RCA Records is with yet another compilation of The King’s work, Elvis 75, available in both box set and single-disc forms.
There’s no arguing, of course, that the legacy Presley left behind continues to loom large, and rightfully so. His body of work is indeed a national treasure, and as better sound technologies are developed, those master recordings must be revisited and reissued. But I’m gonna sit this latest release out, awaiting the eventual Blu-ray treatment (or better) of Presley’s catalog. And though it may be sacrilege to some for me to say, I wouldn’t mind hearing some Jordanaires-less takes in the future too.
But I’ll take the bait and mark the milestone (or what would have been a milestone had Presley not passed away in 1977) with a cover of one of my favorite cuts from The King, “Suspicious Minds.” Recorded in January 1969 and released as a single that August, the song was Presley’s 17th and final number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The soulful backing vocals from Donna Jean Godchaux (who’d later join the Grateful Dead) are what really put the original track over the top for me. Hear here:
“Suspicious Minds” has been a magnet for male singers, covered by Waylon Jennings, Dwight Yoakam, Robbie Williams, Gareth Gates, Gavin Rossdale, and Pete Yorn, to name several. In 1985, Fine Young Cannibals recorded the song for their self-titled debut, featuring wailing backing vocals from Jimmy Somerville for an inspired take that should have made The King proud. Released as a single the following year, “Suspicious Minds” made it to #8 in the UK. In the U.S., the fine young trio reached #23 on the Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play chart. Hear here: