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The Best Songs of Elvis Presley from Rock to Country to Gospel to Christmas
Elvis Presley began the rock and roll movement and his legend is still going strong today. Elvis is known for his early hits like “Hound Dog”, “Love Me Tender”, and “Jailhouse Rock”, but Elvis wasn’t one to stay in one genre. Elvis also could sing blues, country, gospel, Christmas songs, and songs made for the movies.
These are some of the best songs Elvis recorded from the all the categories list above. All of the songs he recorded gave the listener a glimpse at just what made Elvis tick, and how these songs are still enjoyed by all who listen.
The best Country Songs by Elvis Presley are:
“Kentucky Rain”-This song written by Eddie Rabbit and Dick Heard was released in 1970 (the piano playing for this song was done by Ronnie Milsap. )Elvis made it to number 16 on the charts. It is such a visual song about a guy trying to track down his girlfriend in the rain, and the people he meets who try to help him find her. It leaves the listener hoping that soon he catches up to her and all will be well again.
“Help Me Make It through the Night”-Kris Kristofferson wrote this song and it has been done by numerous country singers and Elvis decided to record it 1971. It appeared on his album Elvis Now. (Sammi Smith recorded the song in 1970 it went to number one and it got her a Grammy and one for Kristofferson as well. Elvis liked to take a song a give it emotion and he brings it with this song.
“Guitar Man”- this song was written and performed by Jerry Reed in 1969. Elvis did the song a year later in 1970 it was a minor pop and country hit for him. Jerry Reed played the part on the guitar because Elvis didn’t like the way the guitar was sounding on the recording. Elvis jammed on this song packing in a lot of lyrics in a fast paced song. Thirteen years later the song was reworked with Elvis original vocals. This time it got to number one on the country charts and number 28 on Billboard.
“Always on my Mind”-a song by Johnny Christopher, Mark James, and Wayne Carson was written in ten minutes, which goes to show some great songs are effortless and a gift from God. Elvis recorded the song in 1972 and it seemed to be written just for him. He and Pricilla had just separated, and the lyrics of having regrets and thinking of the one you love, made the song even more poignant. The song was on the B side of his record Separate Ways. It reached number twenty on the Billboard Hot 100.
Elvis was raised in Memphis and had heard the blues all his life. He could feel the rhythm and relate to the lyrics so very well.
“Polk Salad Annie”-a song written and recorded by Tony Joe White in 1968. Elvis heard the song and began performing it in his concerts during the 1970’s. Hearing the Elvis version live in concert is a treat. Elvis sang the song as if he lived it. The song is about a poor girl in the south and how her and her family survived. It sounded like a song Elvis enjoyed performing because he had a chance to tell a story and move to the beat of an up tempo song.
“Steamroller Blues”- this song was written by James Taylor and was on his album Sweet Baby James in 1970. It was during the 1970’s that Elvis began performing the song in his concerts and would continue to sing this song till his final concerts in 1977. Elvis recorded a live version of this song and it reached number 16 on the Billboard charts. This song was made for Elvis blues and sass, and Elvis knew exactly how to perform this song.
“Lawdy Miss Clawdy”- is a song by Ray Price he recorded it in 1952 and it has been recorded by various artists. Elvis recorded his version of it in the late 1950’s. It is a perfect rhythm and blues song with the piano and electric guitar rocking out right along with Elvis. It is easy to see why he was crowned King of Rock and Roll when he recorded this gem.
“Hound Dog”-this blues song was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and has been recorded 250 times. Elvis’s version was recorded in 1956 and it his version that is the most well-known. Elvis’s gyrations started with this song and this song was one of his great sellers. Elvis thought this was one of the silliest songs he recorded and didn’t expect to get any sales from it. In fact, it was Elvis’s best-selling single it spent 11 weeks at number one. It sold 10 million worldwide. That is very impressive for what Elvis believed to be a silly song.
“I Got a Woman”- Ray Charles co-wrote this song and recorded it, and Elvis recorded it in 1956. Elvis took this rocking song and made it his own. The song fit his early days of rock and roll swagger.
“How Great Thou Art”-is a gospel song based on a poem by Carl Gustav Boberg in Sweden in 1885. The music was taken from a traditional Swedish melody. Elvis recorded the song in 1967 for his album How Great Thou Art. The album reached number 18 on the Top Pop Albums chart and the album went on to reach certified gold in 1968, Platinum and 2x Platinum in 1992 and 3x Platinum in 2010. That is really great and quite a testament to the song and how Elvis performed it.
“Amazing Grace”- the words were written by an English clergyman and poet in the 1700’s. Elvis had a love for gospel music that started when he was a boy and it this music took him through dark days and to the end of his days he loved to sing it. Elvis sang this song with conviction.
“You’ll Never Walk Alone”-This is an Oscar and Hammerstein song that Elvis recorded in the late 1960’s. An album entitled You’ll Never Walk Alone was released in 1971 and it contained many gospel songs that Elvis recorded through the years. Elvis got to number 90# on the charts while Frank Sinatra’s version made it to number 9 on the charts. This song was in the movie Carousel. It is a great song of comfort and encouragement.
“He Touched Me”-This song was written by Bill Gaither in 1963 and Elvis did his rendition of it in 1971. It was on his album He Touched me in 1972 it won a Grammy. He Touched Me was Elvis’s third and final gospel album.
“Peace in the Valley (For Me)”-this gospel song was written in 1937 by Thomas A. Dorsey and it was for Mahilia Jackson, but then Red Foley and Jo Stafford did their renditions, and Elvis recorded it in 1957. It was an extended play single record. On first side was the song “Peace in the Valley (For Me)” and It Is No Secret (What God Can Do)” and on the other side the songs were: “I Believe” and “Take My Hand, Precious Lord”. Elvis put a very soulful sound to the song and the Jordanaires make it sound as though it were sung in a church.
Elvis had a love for Christmas and the songs he performed show his audience just how much he enjoyed it.
“I’ll Be Home For Christmas” –written by Al Kent and Don Gannon. It was originally recorded by Bing Crosby in 1943. It was for the soldiers overseas who longed to be home for the holiday. Elvis did his version in 1957 for his first Christmas album entitled Elvis’ Christmas album. Elvis probably felt the same way when he was on his concert tours.
“Winter Wonderland”-This timeless song written in 1934 by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith. This song is extremely popular and has been recorded by over 200 artists so far and I am sure there will be many more to come. This song was recorded by Elvis in 1971 from the album The Wonderful World of Christmas”. Elvis puts a bounce into this song and this song sounds as fresh today as the day it was recorded. It is a great song to get you into the holiday spirit.
“If I Get Home on Christmas Day”- this song written by Michael Jarrett was on Elvis’ second and last Christmas album entitled The Wonderful World of Christmas in 1971. The Imperials Quartet accompanied him on this song. This song is beautiful and Elvis brings such emotion to this song, you know nothing is more important to him than being with his loved ones for the holidays.
“Merry Christmas Baby”-this R&B song was written by Lou Baxter and Johnny Moore in 1947. It has been recorded many times by such artists as Chuck Berry, BB King, Otis Redding and many, many more. Elvis recorded the song on his Christmas album The Wonderful World of Christmas in 1971. Elvis’ version was the grittiest and sassiest of them all. This song has it all, the raw guitar, and the bluesy piano playing, with Elvis getting into the blues it is perfection.
“On a Snowy Christmas Night”- a Christmas song by Stanley Gelbert was on Elvis’ Christmas album The Wonderful World of Christmas in 1971. This song has a peaceful sound and so much imagery. Elvis is right at home expressing the perfect Christmas night. This song is a gem that should have more airplay during the holiday season.
It is no surprise that Elvis is as popular today, maybe even more popular, than he was in his lifetime. He poured everything he had into all his songs and his love for music and performing shows in all his performances and his recordings. He is truly a legend for all time and we are all fortunate to have his videos and albums to enjoy for posterity. Elvis you will forever be the King of Rock and Roll.