suspicious minds (just how good can one record be?)

Es­ti­mated reading time is 2 min­utes.

DO I WANT TO OPEN THIS ARTICLE by making a state­ment (“Elvis pops up in the most un­ex­pected places”) or by asking a ques­tion (“Just how good can one record be?”)? Last night we slipped the Coen Brothers’ In­tol­er­able Cru­elty into the DVD player and sat back to enjoy George Clooney as Miles Massey (hand­some, charming, amoral) match wits with Catherine Zeta-Jones as Mar­ilyn Rexroth (beau­tiful, in­scrutable, equally amoral).

While the mu­sical foun­da­tion of the movie would prove to be the early songs of Paul Simon, the opening credits fea­tured “Sus­pi­cious Minds” in the back­ground. Elvis in a Coen brothers’ movie? Well, why not! After all, Billy Bob Thornton is in it! *

And, de­spite “April, Come She Will” (the song the priest sings at the wed­ding cer­e­mony) and “The Boxer,” it’s “Sus­pi­cious Minds” that sets the tone for the story that follows.

After Elvis fin­ished singing, I put the movie on pause, turned to Berni, and said, “You know, if Elvis had been an un­known singer who recorded just one single, Sus­pi­cious Minds, and then died be­fore he could record a follow-up, I still think I might con­sider him my fa­vorite singer.”

That’s how good Sus­pi­cious Minds is.

If someone does an Amer­ican re­make of LOVE ACTUALLY, I want Billy Bob Thornton to play the Bill Nighy role but as an over-the-hill, for­merly slightly sleazy Elvis-type rocker-cum-crooner Click To Tweet

Elvis LasVegas 1969 black outfit 1500 crop

FEATURED IMAGE: Elvis on stage at the In­ter­na­tional Hotel in Las Vegas in Au­gust 1969. Prior to adopting the white jump­suits, his stage outfit was a mod­i­fied karate gi in plain black. A por­tion of his live per­for­mance of Sus­pi­cious Minds was recorded and tagged onto the end of the studio recording from ear­lier in the year and re­leased as a single. (Uh oh! That last state­ment is in­cor­rect; refer to An­thony Britch’s com­ment below.)



*   If someone de­cides to do an Amer­ican take on Love Ac­tu­ally, I want Billy Bob Thornton to play the Bill Nighy role but as an over-the-hill, for­merly slightly sleazy Elvis-type rocker-cum-crooner.



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“Promised Land” was my fa­vorite ’70s Elvis song fol­lowed by “Burning Love” with (per­haps strangely to some) “The Wonder Of You.” Even stranger, I was never that big on “Sus­pi­cious Minds” when it came out and it took a while to grow on me.

I must say that I like Tom Jones a lot but I just know I would not like his ver­sion of “Sus­pi­cious Minds.”

“Raised On Rock” is an odd song.I have al­ways liked it but the lyrics are at odds with Elvis.He is singing about being raised on some­thing he cre­ated or at least helped create and I fear it did not res­onate with his fans.As a stand alone track without putting too much thought into it it was a pretty good song.

I took those women home too, but the house was empty - thank god! thanks N.

1. An­thony, I concur. You are Cor­rect. I don’t know where Mr. N got that from ei­ther…. wishful thinkin’, or a bad pipe full from back in the dayz. Checking K.Flynn’s page was a great source to do so. To the best of my knowl­edge, nothing was ever recorded ‘live’ for SM single. 100%, there’s nothing ‘live’ on it.

2. We’ve all heard the sto­ries about the fade-out & fade-in: to en­tice radio play, or trying to cap­ture the live build up ending, which it doesn’t, etc. Per­son­ally, I found an­noying as hell from 1st listen. I ac­tu­ally hated the song til I saw it in TTWII… now THAT’S ELVIS & THAT’S SM!! Not that bs boring 45. Do-do-do my ars! Ya hear more of the Sweet In­spi­ra­tions (who I love) than you do The King.

3. I can play dev­il’s ad­vo­cate ei­ther way, but speaking per­son­ally, it was a dud, no better than “Judy” or “In­de­scrib­ably Blue” or any of those so-so 45s. Hell, I’d pick the rel­a­tively un­known classic “Clean Up Your Own Back Yard” over SM. Damn, that died a mis­er­able death on the charts! #35BB/#25CB smack dab in be­tween two #1’s! :(

4. I guess in ’69, the record-buying, hippy-dippy ma­jority didn’t like country-rock vs hard-rock or slide guitar vs. lead guitar. How the hell did “Ghetto” & SM get to #1!!?? They sure as hell weren’t buyin’ that drab, de­pressing bs ei­ther! I can re­member like yes­terday, in ’71 when Tom Jones’ “She’s A Lady” came out & again in ’72 with Elvis’ “Burning Love,” the Rockers couldn’t be­lieve that was Tom Jones or Elvis! They laughing add, or oth­er­wise, they wouldn’t of bought them! But that’s an­other story for an­other time… EP & TJ got NO re­spect as Rockers in the ’70s. Fifty yrs later, I’m still fightin’ the good fight! ;)

5. To get back to the story at hand: what we ALL shoulda heard coming over the radio waves in ’69 was that back drum beat intro to “Stranger In My Own Home Town” or the vi­brato har­monica intro to “Power Of My Love”! Those would have earned world­wide R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the King of RnR! In­stead of singing Humperdinck style crap. Not that Engle couldn’t sing, cus he damn well could. But he wasn’t a Rocker. He was a bal­ladeer in the vein of Sinatra. The King was Rockin’ as good as ever, the gen­eral public just wasn’t hearing it :(

Hi Neal, cap­tion on the pic­ture above states “por­tion of his live per­for­mance of Sus­pi­cious Minds was recorded and tagged onto the end of the studio recording from ear­lier in the year and re­leased as a single.” Ive not read that be­fore. I checked Keith Fly­nn’s site for the specifics on the master:

Jan­uary 22, 23 & 24. May 7, 1969
Ex­tended (M) 4:27 Splice of 0:00-3:03+2:47-3:03+2:47-3:03+2:47-3:03+2:47-3:24
Faded M 4:29 Fade out 3:19-3:34 / fade in 3:34-3:47 of ex­tended master

Au­gust 7, 1969 at United Recording in Las Vegas was the brass over­dubs on the Mono and Stereo Master for the Single.

I couldn’t find any ref­er­ence to part of the Au­gust 1969 live per­for­mances being added to the single. Where did you read/hear about that?

1. I know SM has been voted nu­merous times as the Best Elvis single ever, as well as the Fans all-time fav. Per­son­ally, I think The King’s greatest 5 yr pe­riod was ’68-’73 (Comeback-Aloha). I also think the Mem­phis Ses­sion was his most in­no­v­a­tive. With that said, SM is Not my fav. Not even of his Mem­phis Sessions.

I was in HS when it came out & was happy it hit #1, as did “Ghetto” here in NY & on Cash Box. As a Rocker, nei­ther were my favs. I wanted Elvis to ROCK! Best we got at that time on 45 was “Rub­ber­neckin’.” A goody, but a B-side. 

2. Every 45 from ’69-’72 was a ballad. Fi­nally, in ’72, we got “Burning Love.” 1st time I heard it, I thought, “Yea, a Rocker!” Right away, I could hear “I Got Stung” & “Big Hunk O’ Love” com­bined. Years after he passed, we find out Elvis hated the song & the GREAT Ronnie Tutt had to talk him into recording it…Tutt even pro­duced it in ab­sence of Jarvis! Doesn’t sur­prise me how good it came out, as I’m no fan of Country-bumpkin Jarvis.

Back in the day, Elvis be­came rel­e­vant & re­spected again, but us youn­gins all wanted to know, “Why doesn’t Elvis Rock any­more?” So much so, he was even asked that in the Madison Sq. Garden Press Conf. We all know his gen­eral, eva­sive re­sponse, all the while knowing full well he had BL in the vault.

When it got re­leased, it was like an atom bomb! Per­son­ally, I think Elvis even­tu­ally came to love it. How could he Not!? Even tho BL is also not my per­sonal fav, I would still have to say it made a bigger im­pact & was more mem­o­rable than SM. To this day, at least here in NY, I run into people who find out I’m a E-fan & they say to me, “OMG, I love ‘Burning Love.’ That song kix ass!”

3. I have Never heard that re­ac­tion to SM. It’s simply too pas­sive. It’s like com­paring “Love Me Tender” to “Jail­house” or “Hound Dog”! ANY­body could do SM & LMT. NO­body could do BL, JR & HD!

So, no, I wouldn’t be a fan if SM was the only song he ever recorded. Now, if it was TTWII ver­sion, then I might concur!