Retro Dee is a regular contributor to The Grooveyard’s website, writing about music, fashion and other trends of the 1950s. Check out her blog, Retro Dee’s Guide to the Best Era Ever here, and her column here every week.
Hi folks it’s Retro Dee with more fantastic music from the fabulous 50’s.
In this post, in honor of “Elvis Week”, I am going to share my three favorite songs by the King of Rock n Roll, Elvis Presley.
Of course, my favorites are by 1950’s Elvis, when he ruled the charts during The Best Era Ever. They are in no particular order. It’s was hard enough to choose only 3 favorite Elvis songs, let alone put them in order!
“Jailhouse Rock” (1957)
written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Yes, I know, this is one is tried and true, and a little overplayed- but for a reason! Elvis rocks in this, in a way that only Elvis can. And for the first time in my life, I finally understand why there’s a commemorative plate from the movie. The song was released on September 24, 1957 and rapidly rose to Number One on the US charts.
“I Need Your Love Tonight” (1959)
written by Sid Wayne and Bix Reichner
Another Elvis favorite of mine is “I Need Your Love Tonight”. I first heard this one on Malt Shop Favorites from Direct TV in 2018. I like how upbeat it is, and that it’s not extremely overplayed. At one point, I put this song on every day, and it was a real pick-me-up. It was recorded on June 10, 1958 as one of the songs Elvis recorded shortly before joining the army. It made it to Number 4 on the charts in 1959.
“Hound Dog” (1956)
written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
And if I can only pick ONE more favorite song by Elvis, I’d have to choose “Hound Dog”. This record is not only a fantastic example Rockabilly, it is the very essence of the Dawn of Rock n Roll. It’s also a fantastic song to dance to. Although Elvis’s version is not the first, it is certainly the most popular.
“Hound Dog” was recorded by Elvis Presley on July 2, 1956, right after he performed the song on The Steve Allen Show. The famous performance had Elvis singing to an actual hound dog, as it sat there in a top hat and tails. This was Allen’s own idea after he’d promised TV execs that Elvis’s appearance on his show would NOT be, in any way offensive to, or a bad influence on viewers.
Scotty Moore has claimed that the “embarrassing” performance on Steve Allen’s show is what inspired Elvis to record “Hound Dog” in an extremely energetic, and aggressive manner. The Rock N Roll recording that we know and love came after many slower live performances of the song. It’s as though Elvis were saying (without actually saying) “I’ve had enough of that. Here’s what it oughta be”.
The raucous, high energy of “Hound Dog” is so undeniably palpable, that despite its ubiquity, I have included it as one of my three Elvis faves.
Bonus Hit: My friend D.J. Alan Seltzer sometimes inspires me to add a bonus hit. That means I get to pick one more Elvis song!
“Wear My Ring Around Your Neck” (1958)
written by Bert Carroll and Russell Moody
I don’t know why I like this one, actually. It’s just really happy. I’m from a generation where most romantic songs were dark and depressing. So this is really the opposite. It made it to Number Two, famously breaking a string of 10 consecutive Number One hits for Elvis. But, so what? He still had 10 consecutive Number One hits! Plus, Number Two ain’t ever bad! So let’s enjoy:
Thanks for listening!
If you’re wondering why I don’t post videos with scenes from movies or live performances in them, it’s because that’s just how I roll. I prefer to keep the focus on the music. I try to link to a video that only shows a picture of an album cover, or the actual 45 record itself.
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