[14] Elvis Presley, ‘Suspicious Minds’

Boil it all down and I’m ambivalent about Elvis. I shouldn’t be so bloody ungrateful, what with his sterling services to rock’n’roll, but the big-hitting and prolific late ‘50s/early ‘60s stuff just doesn’t float my boat, odd exception aside. Maybe I heard it all way too late, or perhaps it didn’t help that the only Elvis single my mother owned was ‘Wooden Heart’, or that too many teenage friends in the late ‘80s thought they were buying into some sort of authenticity – “this is real music” – when I wanted to convince them that Detroit techno was the one true path.
Ok, I love the more inventive moments like ‘His Latest Flame’, but have the most time for Comeback Elvis, when he was allowing a bit more slack in his music – and waistline: ‘In The Ghetto’, this, ‘Burning Love’ and – oh go on – ‘The Wonder Of You’. ‘Suspicious Minds’ is masterful Country & Western pop, with a drama that sweeps you up and a welcome false ending. Go on, Elvis, keep it going. I have some repressed memories of Richard Gere striding naked into a bathroom – in Breathless, I believe, not personal experience – but will strive to keep them quashed.
Junior’s prior knowledge of Elvis is gleaned from a day’s drive into the Omani interior, a terrifyingly limited selection of CDs in Grandad’s glove box. As ‘That’s Alright, Mama’ hoved to for the ninth time that December afternoon, she howled for a change, for anything, even that breathtakingly weak Snow Patrol album. Possibly. A few months later, ‘Suspicious Minds’ is accepted with grace and a highchair shuffle. Redemption for The King.

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