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Don’t like swinging hips or the Vegas torch song? Don’t worry, Elvis has worn many hats. And costumes. And capes, from time to time. Check out these lesser-known tunes from the back of Elvis’ closet.
‘In the ghetto’
Recorded in the same batch as the mega-hit “Suspicious Minds,” Elvis found his mojo back in the late 1960s. This self-taught story of a desolate life in the Chicago ghettos evokes Presley’s own childhood, not a pot to piss. Anyone for the squirrel kebab?
‘It’s okay (mom)’
This is where it all began: the very first song recorded by Elvis Presley for Sun Records. A cover of a piece by Arthur Crudup (which appears, with the song, in Elvis), ‘That’s All Right (Mama)’ was rock ‘n’ roll’s nuclear meltdown moment. We’ve been living in the fallout zone ever since.
‘See See Rider (Live)’
It’s no secret that Elvis drew a lot of inspiration from the gospel and blues singers he was lucky enough to see as a child. Here he covers the signature song of the so-called “Mother of the Blues” Ma Rainey, subject of the Netflix film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
At the gentle trot of a horse, young Elvis’ haunting rendition of Rodgers and Hart’s 1934 standard is chilling and high-pitched, evoking a lonely cowboy in a moonlit ghost town.
“Too Much Monkey Business”
This highly entertaining track was a hit for legendary rock ‘n’ roll pioneer and unrepentant bad boy Chuck Berry when he released it as his fifth single in 1956. Elvis’ Great Version, released 12 years later , is a kind of curiosity that needs a hunka your love.
“Don’t think twice, it’s alright”
You might not see much in common between Elvis and Bob Dylan, one a dazzlingly handsome American demigod, the other a scrawling-haired folk with strongly anti-establishment ideals. Still, Elvis loved Dylan’s music, recording both “Blowin’ In The Wind” and this airy reading of “Don’t Think Twice…”, originally released in edited form on the 1973 “Elvis” album, but since re-released as 11- coasting. minute version.
“Yoga is like yoga”
If there was ever an Elvis song waiting in the wings for a modern remix, a spiritual successor to Junkie XL’s revamp of “A Little Less Conversation” that hit 2002, it’s this song. mad about yoga, which – considering Elvis was an early adopter and had been practicing since 1964 – is oddly dismissive of it all. “You just tell me how I can take this yoga seriously / When all it gives me is pain in my butt,” it says.
‘Do the clam’
This bongo-fueled slice of teenbeat tropicalia appears in the movie Happy girl, in which Elvis teaches a beach full of beatniks and shaggy-haired hipsters how to do his hip new dance, the one to straighten The Twist and cook The Mashed Potato – The Clam! You wonder why he never took?
“A one-sided love story”
The perfect example of a B-side eclipsing its counterpart (the A-side “Money Honey” only reached 76 on the charts), this short, sharp, skiffle-indebted rock romcom hit deserves its place on many a list of reading “unheard of gems”. .
‘Stuck to you’
What’s the first thing you do after being fired from the military? Well, if you’re Elvis, you head straight to the studio and put on a Jerry Lee Lewis piano belt. ‘Stuck on You’ was the ex-soldier’s first hit single after two years in Germany. It was as if he had never been absent.
‘Vegas’ – Doja Cat
The all-conquering pop rapper joins the party with a feisty, trap revamp of Big Mama Thornton’s 1952 hit “Hound Dog,” featuring vocals from Shonka Dukureh (who plays Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton in the film). Presley’s 1956 cover of the song was a huge hit, expect similar things for Doja Cat’s sleek and modern makeover.
“I can’t help falling in love” – Kacey Musgraves
What better place to announce anything than at the Met Gala? Country queen Kacey Musgraves showed off her version of “Can’t Help Falling In Love” on the red carpet at the fashion’s annual ball. She was joined by the cast of Elvisdirector Baz Luhrmann and Priscilla Presley.
“If I Can Dream” – Måneskin
Everyone’s favorite Italian glam rockers gave this late ’60s ballad a Eurovision debut last month. It was a treat, with vocalist Damiano David’s raspy vocals adding a whole new dimension to the super-sweet ballad.
‘The King and I’ – Eminem and CeeLo Green
Marshall Mathers’ music has always had a cinematic edge, but now he can also write for the biggest Hollywood movie of the summer. His old friend CeeLo Green provides the soulful licks to make this ‘Jailhouse Rock’ sampling groover a must-have.
Take a look at NME’s Special Edition Movie Elvis digital magazine on the right here. Don’t miss Baz Luhrmann Elvis starring Austin Butler and Tom Hanks, in theaters now. Book tickets here.
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