There’s More to The King Than “Jailhouse Rock”

It cannot be denied that Elvis Presley left an indelible mark in music. The King of Rock and Roll was just so revolutionary in the way he contributed to his field. One would have thought that as someone from the South, he would have been a huge country singer. His good looks would have made him a shoo-in for a career as a matinee idol in Hollywood (well, he eventually did that, but his movie career is still eclipsed by his music).

His dance moves would have set dance halls ablaze ala Chubby Checker. But then, Elvis made a far more illustrious career, which changed the world of music and still continues to be a unique trajectory in terms of the choices he made and the subsequent results he experienced.

Elvis Presley sang hundreds of songs and released recordings up until his death in 1977. A majority of them became so popular to audiences throughout the world, many becoming classics that even current generations of music fans still get to appreciate. But then, with so many recordings, there is always the possibility that some of his songs tend to be underappreciated and forgotten except by those obsessed or devoted to him.

The sad thing about this is that some of those forgotten songs are, in fact, some of his best in terms of the songs’ lyrical and musical strength and his vocal ability. They truly deserve to be heard and appreciated, just like the King’s more popular tunes.

Here are three of Elvis’ underrated songs that surely deserve a second (and more) listen. You definitely won’t find Jailhouse Rock or Love Me Tender here, but they’re as beautiful and haunting, truly reminders of the man’s talents.

A Mess of Blues

Of his allegedly 711 recordings, this 1960 song was actually more appreciated, peaking in the Billboard charts at #32. Appearing on the B side of the “It’s Now or Never” single, this song was written by Mort Shuman and Doc Pomus specifically for Elvis.

Mystery Train

The tandem of Bill Black and Scotty Moore wrote this mid-tempo song that exhibits how effective the two were as a song writing team. Elvis’ vocals seemed to exhibit a more country lilt in this song, not to mention he rarely used his growling lower register in this one, the track is repetitive, and somehow eerily haunting. It did hit the chart as high as number 10 is the Billboard Country charts, only the fourth of Elvis’ songs to do so.

Doing the Best I Can

This song was also written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, and recorded by the King in 1960. This appeared in the soundtrack album to G.I. Blues, his second movie. He does sing a portion of the song in the movie, wearing his uniform and strumming a guitar in a dance scene. This ballad has Elvis’ voice stretching thin in some parts and bellowing some rich low notes, a testament of his vocal strength.

Elvis Presley truly has a varied song catalogue, and only very few singers can match his artistry. A look at any of his albums show that he has so much material that has not achieved top chart position, but are still beautiful to listen to, just the same.

Comments

  1. Jack Nydick says:

    Who wrote the review? GI Blues was his first movie after he came out of the service, not his second film. “Love Me Tender”, “Loving You”, “Jailhouse Rock”, “King Creole”; any of those ring a bell with you? BTW; love all 3 songs.

  2. Susan Pilgrim says:

    Maybe you all should start listening to channel 19 on sirus/XM radio. I hear these 3 songs all the time. Mess of Blues is my favorite

  3. MJ says:

    Agree about Sirrius. Listen and have heard so many songs there that never hit the radio. Love everything that ever crossed his lips. Once sung by Elvis, the song became his. NO ONE could d it better.

  4. T.S Mohan says:

    Yes, it is true. The above three songs are unforgettable. Even today I enjoy these songs on my mobile phone.

  5. Madam Mijanou says:

    One of my favorites, very rarely played, Just Tell Her Jim Said Hello….and “If every Day were like Christmas”.. Friends often hear them played while in my car and say they never heard them. Such a shame. I believe El was at his best with his gospel music…it would give me chills.

Speak Your Mind

*