The Top 10 Best Songs of Elvis Presley

The recorded voice of Elvis Presley has been heard by more people than anyone in history.

 

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The recorded voice of Elvis Presley has been heard by more people than anyone in history. (Graphic by Jack Dennis. Photos courtesy of Texas Elvis Fan Club archives). 

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in its official biography of Elvis Presley, claims that he “holds records for the most Top 40 hits (104), the most Top 10 hits (38) and the most weeks at Number One (80). As far as his stature as a cultural icon, which continues to grow even in death, writer Lester Bangs said it best: ‘I can guarantee you one thing – we will never again agree on anything as we agreed on Elvis.’”

Elvis Presley, with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, broke records again with the release of his first album to sell a million copies since 2002. The “If I Can Dream” album sold over 996,000 copies in just 17 weeks. Presley’s last million selling album was “Elvis: 30 Number One Hits,” which sold 1,838,756 copies.

Take a look at Elvis’s 10 best songs.

10. “Burning Love”

Elvis introduced “Burning Love” to the world live on stage during the filming of his documentary movie “Elvis On Tour.” Fans couldn’t get enough of “Burning Love,” making it his 40th Top 10 hit in America. It made it all the way to #2 with only Chuck Berry’s novelty hit, “My Ding-a-ling” keeping it out of first place. The song is included on ‘If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with dazzling new strings.

9. “One Night”

Studio executives told Elvis the lyrics to this song, penned by Dave Bartholomew, Earl King and Anita Steinman, it was too raunchy to record. Elvis insisted and worked on the lyrics to “One Night of Sin” until it became “One Night (With You.” Originally written for Smiley Lewis, Elvis’ version made it to #1 in the UK, #4 in the USA, and #10 on the R&B charts.

8. “In the Ghetto”

While visiting Elvis at Graceland one evening, Mac Davis introduced his song, “The Vicious Circle.” Elvis liked it so much he recorded in January 1969 during a session at Chip Moman’s American Studios. Released the following April, it was the King’s first non-gospel Top 10 hit in six years. The impact and impact of “In the Ghetto” went far beyond record sales by influencing a social reckoning of the era.

7. “Suspicious Minds

The tricky thing about compiling an Earth, Wind & Fire top 10 songs is where to begin? So many of their records are significant and ubiquitous it is almost a fool’s errand attempting it at all. And it also beggars belief how many pop perfections the group came up with, and “Boogie Wonderland” is one in a long list. It’s nothing more than a stupid fun disco song, (is there any other type?) but it also may represent the apogee of the disco era and the genre itself. The song is the glitz, cheese, glamor, bad haircuts, and stuffed dance floors all wrapped in one.

6. “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You”

The opening cue to “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” meant Elvis was about to sing his last song at each of his 1970’s concerts. Recorded in Hollywood on March 23, 1961, the song is still a sentimental favorite to thousands of fans. From the “Blue Hawaii” movie, the song made it to #1 in 12 countries and has sold more than a million copies in America.

5. “Reconsider Baby

This Elvis recording is an “outstanding blues cut,” says Jay Viviano, is a pop culture historian with over 20 years of experience in research of icons of the 50’s and 60’s, with a strong concentration on Blues artists. “Elvis masters this–and shatters any illusions that some out there have about him NOT being a legit blues singer–with this vocal … and the rest of the band is so damn hot and tight.”

Viviano notes that Elvis once jammed in “a club in Houston with bluesman Lowell Folsom…who really respected Elvis’ version of this song.”

4. “That’s Alright Mama”

His first released recording presented the world with just a hint into young Elvis Presley’s ability to reach into his soul, not to just sing a song, but deliver an emotional message that forced the listener to feel deep, very deep, inside their own humanity. Elvis was the master at this.

3.Heartbreak Hotel”

Elvis Presley exceeded the music world’s expectations upon the Jan. 10, 1956 release of his first recording for RCA-Victor Records. Elvis reached into his soul to create a mournful and painful song, “Heartbreak Hotel” which would be a phenomenal hit. It was literally inspired by a desperate man’s suicide note, written by a school teacher, Mae Axton, and an almost forgotten aspiring singer named Tommy Durden.

2. It’s Now or Never”

Elvis loved the Italian classic, “O Solo Mio,” and told RCA executives that he wanted to record an American version as soon as he was discharged from the Army in 1960. Wally Gold and Aaron Schroeder wrote a version in 30 minutes, that was recorded perfectly by Elvis on the fourth studio take. The record illuminated his extraordinary talent beyond Rock n’ Roll.

1. “If I Can Dream”

“’If I can Dream’ as a song and as a performance is Elvis, period,” states Craig Philo, a music researcher and historian from Sheppey, in Kent, U.K. “That one song encapsulates so much of who he was. The performance is beyond mere singing. It is his very soul on display. He is caught in the moment and of the moment. And for me a song of this magnitude and what it represents isn’t just for mere entertainment…it delivers a message, an important message delivered by many through the ages of time.”

The song was influenced by the lasting words of Martin Luther King Jr and recorded just two months after his assassination in Elvis’s hometown, Memphis.

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