Sunday, April 18, 2010

Apple #451: Suspicious Minds

I had this song in my head when I sat down to do the next Daily Apple, so I thought, all right, that'll be the topic.

Could be it's playing in my brain because it was Elvis week last week on American Idol and I saw Siobahn what'shername do her version of it.  I didn't care for her rendition.  Crystal Bowersox is my choice among this season's contestants, anyway.

  • "Suspicious Minds" was originally recorded by its songwriter, Mark James in 1968.  But it flopped.
  • Elvis recorded it in a late-night, 4 a.m. session in 1969.  

Elvis in 1969.
(Photo from Elvis Presley Lyrics - Australia)

  • He'd been doing all those movies and their yawnsville soundtracks, The Beatles and the British Invasion had arrived on the scene and absorbed a lot of his fans, the King was in danger of becoming old hat.
  • Then he did his NBC TV special in 1968 and people's excitement about him got stoked up again.
  • So he went back to Memphis, where he hadn't recorded since he was at Sun Records in 1955, and recorded a bunch of songs in night-time sessions in September of 1969.  Sang his ass off, pretty much.
  • He got two records out of these 1969 sessions, From Elvis in Memphis (which is where you'll find "Suspicious Minds") and Elvis Back in Memphis
  • Other songs from these sessions that hit the charts include "Kentucky Rain," "In the Ghetto," and "Don't Cry Daddy."

Digitally remastered 3-CD set released in 2009 of the 1969 Memphis recordings also includes some of the songs originally released on Elvis Back in Memphis. "Suspicious Minds" is #13 on the second CD.

Another 2-CD collection where you can find the 1969 "Suspicious Minds." 

  • A lot of people say that From Elvis in Memphis is one of his best albums, or one of his most important albums, since it breathed new life into his career for a few more years, and since other singers afterward tried to match his vocal intensity.
  • The fade-out at the end of "Suspicious Minds" sounded to me for a long time like an accident, as if somebody bumped the volume button in the middle of everything, did a whoops and turned it back up again.  
  • But apparently that was intentional.  There is some debate about the reasoning behind this.  Some people say that when he performed the song live in Vegas, they did the fade-out on stage, and when he got to the studio, the producers wanted to replicate that.  Other people say the fade-out is supposed to be a thematic representation of the relationship depicted in the song, that just when you think it's over, it's not.
  • Whatever the reasoning behind it, you may not always hear the entire song through the fade-out and beyond.  A lot of DJs will cut it when the volume drops away.
  • Regardless of the confusion over the fade-out, "Suspicious Minds" spent 15 weeks on the charts, topping out at--where else--number one.
  • I didn't know songs could be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, but apparently they can.  This one was inducted in 1999.
  • Dutch fans of Elvis chose this song as their number one all-time favorite song of his.

Elvis signing autographs outside Graceland in June 1969.
(Photo from Images of Elvis Presley)

    • Another sign of a song's staying power is how many people record covers.  Here are some of the major performers who've covered "Suspicious Minds."  There are lots more besides these.  If I didn't give you a link to the cover on YouTube, never fear, you can find the song in iTunes.  In fact, all of these are on iTunes.

      For your convenience, here are the lyrics:
      We're caught in a trap
      I can't walk out
      Because I love you too much, baby.

      Why can't you see
      What you're doing to me
      When you don't believe a word I say?

      We can't go on together
      With suspicious minds (suspicious minds)
      And we can't build our dreams
      On suspicious minds.

      So if an old friend I know
      Drops by to say hello
      Would I still see suspicion in your eyes?

      But here we go again
      Asking where I've been.
      You can't see the tears are real I'm crying (tears I'm crying).

      We can't go on together
      With suspicious minds (suspicious minds)
      And we can't build our dreams
      On suspicious minds.

      Oh, let our love survive
      Or dry the tears from your eyes
      Let's don't let a good thing die
      When, honey, you know
      I've never lied to you.
      Mmm. Yeah, yeah.

      We're caught in a trap.
      I can't walk out
      Because I love you too much, baby.

      Why can't you see
      What you're doing to me
      When you don't believe a word I say?


      Again, 1969
      (Photo from Images of Elvis Presley)

      Cached page from Rolling Stones magazine
      Songfacts, Suspicious Minds
      Elvis Presley Lyrics (Australia), Suspicious Minds
      Elvis: Artist of the Century (Amsterdam), Suspicious Minds, discussion about Suspicious Minds, "Suspicious Minds" - why the early fade out and back up again?

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