November 20, 2011

elvis Simply put, there was no one like Elvis. I love The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Sandals, surf music in general, Jimmy Buffett, Pink Floyd, Boccherini, Sinatra, gospel quartets, and all sorts of stuff. But if you ask me who the best vocalist of all time is, I have to say it’s Elvis, the King of Rock N’ Roll. Simply put, there was no one like him. He could sing rock, ballads, gospel, blues, and country. No one before or since could touch him. Here are a couple dozen of my favorite Elvis performances:

20. Where Could I Go But To The Lord. Elvis was great gospel singer. It doesn’t get a whole lot better than this.

19. Peace In The Valley. Ditto. What a classic vocal performance.

18. Are You Lonesome Tonight? Simply put, an Elvis classic.

17. Promised Land. Elvis does Chuck Berry. I love his version of this tune – very Elvis ’70s.

16. Moody Blue. Very late ’70s Elvis from his last LP before he died. The material is decent enough, but Elvis’ vocal carries the day. I still have the blue vinyl LP, I think it’s worth something like $20 on eBay. The album on a whole was pretty good.

15. Can’t Help Falling In Love. How can you beat a love song like that?

14. Viva Las Vegas. Typical of so many Elvis tunes (unfortunately) the production is crappy, but you cannot deny it’s a great song. ZZ Top’s version would sound fabulous with Elvis on the lead.

13. Way Down. Elvis’ last hit. From Moody Blue with JD Sumner and The Stamps. A great little rocker.

12. Unchained Melody sung in an almost gospel setting. Riveting.

11. Suspicious Minds. As with all his late ’60s and ’70s stuff, I hate the production – everything just sounds so tinny and compressed – but the song is damned good.

10. Burning Love. See #11 above.

9. Blue Christmas. I don’t know what to say, it’s Elvis backed by the legendary Jordanaires. How on God’s green earth do you beat that combination?

8. How Great Thou Art. Name one other artist who could transcend the gospel and rock idioms like Elvis could. You can’t. He and the legendary gospel group JD Sumner and The Stamps are an incomparable combination here. Elvis’ voice just penetrates to the soul, and, simply put, it doesn’t get a whole lot better than this. Awesome.

7. You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me. As mentioned previously, this is my #1 choice if I were ever to do karaoke. Even as restrained as it sounds, it’s still a great vocal performance.

6. Kentucky Rain. Simply put, a classic.

5. It’s Now Or Never. One of the great vocal performances in rock n’ roll history.

4. I Want You, I Need You, I Love You. The King in all his glory. This is what rock n’roll was all about. Gritty, passionate, sexy.

3. An American Trilogy. Can you imagine any artist attempting such a bold celebration of America in these politically correct times? Why, Elvis would be accused of racism and being a xenophobe. What a performance – majestic in every way you can imagine. It just goes to show just what a performer and talent he was.

2. One Night. See #4 above. It simply doesn’t get a whole lot better than this.

1. He’ll Have To Go. To me this is Elvis at his best. The song oozes emotion and James Burton’s guitar reflects the song’s murky and moody atmosphere. The vocal is awesome, the accompaniment is flawless.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:29 | Comments (3)
  1. “7. You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me. As mentioned previously, this is my #1 choice if I were ever to do karaoke. Even as restrained as it sounds, it’s still a great vocal performance.”

    I would love to hear your Dusty Springfield, GWS. She’s one of my all-times. Had a schoolboy crush on her.

    Comment by Rob — November 21, 2011 @ 8:02 am

  2. Hey, thanks for the reminder, Rob. I did want to do a post on Dusty Springfield. Very sensual voice. “Son Of A Preacher Man” is a classic. For some reason I always got her and Jackie DeShannon mixed up. Dusty did a lot of cool stuff.

    Comment by The Great White Shank — November 21, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

  3. Today’s female singers don’t go too much for sultry any more. Dusty was all kinds of sultry. There are exceptions, though. Have you heard Lana Del Ray? She has two songs you can listen to on YouTube, Video Games and Blue Jeans.

    Comment by Rob — November 21, 2011 @ 2:32 pm

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