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.
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.