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He’s the King of Rock and Roll. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Elvis Presley songs.
For this list, we’ve chosen our entries based on a combination of the artist’s fan favorites and their most commercially successful songs.
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#10: “Can’t Help Falling in Love” Blue Hawaii (1961)
Appearing on the Blue Hawaii soundtrack, this pop and blue-eyed soul hit was released as a single with “Rock-a-Hula Baby.” Unlike the B-side, “Can’t Help Falling in Love” has endured as an Elvis classic. With a melody inspired by an 18th century French ballad, the 3-minute track went to number two on the American pop charts. The King also often used it as his closing number during his later, jump-suited live performances.
#9: “Blue Suede Shoes” Elvis Presley (1956)
Borrowing a signature tune from former Sun Records label-mate Carl Perkins, this rockabilly song was one of the first Elvis recorded after signing with RCA Records. Pressured to cover the track by studio suits, Presley requested that his version not be released while the original was still on the charts. Although Perkins’ take outperformed his cover, the song and those “blue suede shoes” have become synonymous with the King nonetheless.
#8: “Are You Lonesome To-Night?” “Are You Lonesome To-Night?” Single (1960)
Written in 1926 and backed with the fittingly titled “I Gotta Know,” “Are You Lonesome To-Night?” proved Elvis didn’t have to sing for his voice to make the masses swoon. With its spoken word sections and Shakespeare quotations, the pop track allowed Presley to mix up or modify some lyrics during live performances and it topped the Billboard pop chart.
#7: “Suspicious Minds” “Suspicious Minds” Single (1969)
Released following the boost that his 68 Comeback Special had given him, this soulful pop track breathed new life into Elvis’ career and became his 17th and final American number one during his lifetime. Featuring both string and horn sections, “Suspicious Minds” is notable for its shifting time signatures and multiple subsequent cover versions.
#6: “Love Me Tender” “Love Me Tender” Single (1956)
Adapted from an old Civil War song, Presley’s version of this romantic ballad had its debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. This performance prompted a million pre-orders of the single before its actual release and it was later featured in the movie of the same name. Though Elvis eventually refrained from singing “Love Me Tender” in its entirety during later shows, the country single gave him another Billboard chart-topper.
#5: “Don’t Be Cruel” “Don’t Be Cruel” Single (1956)
Written by Otis Blackwell, this two-minute track is one of the most rockin’ numbers of Elvis’ pre-military career. Featuring the King on rhythm guitar, Scotty Moore on lead, a solid bass hook, steady, slammin’ drums and backing vocals from the Jordanaires, “Don’t Be Cruel” topped the pop, country and R ‘n’ B charts. This one just oozes hair grease, Daddio.
#4: “All Shook Up” “All Shook Up” (1957)
Another Otis Blackwell-penned track, this two-minute number was first recorded and released by David Hill. But it failed to make much of an impact until the King strutted up to the mic to belt it out. The piano-driven rocker then spent eight weeks on top of the pop charts and four weeks on the R&B chart. A real crowd pleaser for sure.
#3: “Jailhouse Rock” “Jailhouse Rock” (1957)
Released in anticipation of Presley’s musical drama of the same name, “Jailhouse Rock” tells of a party in the country jail featuring the prison band. Though it makes references to real-life people and features subtle homoerotic themes, the rock and roll tune topped the U.S. and UK charts. It’s also become iconic thanks to the energetic and memorable dance sequence that accompanies Elvis’ performance of the song in Richard Thorpe-directed movie.
#2: “Heartbreak Hotel” “Heartbreak Hotel” (1956)
After he made the jump to RCA, this track became Elvis’ first single for the major label. Although many execs found the song depressing, “Heartbreak Hotel” became his first American number one and it hit number two in the UK. Backed by the Blue Moon Boys, the King also enlisted studio aces Chet Atkins and Floyd Cramer to craft what would soon become a live staple.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- “Viva Las Vegas” Viva Las Vegas Single (1964)
- “In the Ghetto” In the Ghetto Single (1969)
- “Burning Love” Burning Love Single (1972)
- “It’s Now or Never” It’s Now or Never Single (1960)
- “Return to Sender” Return to Sender Single (1962)
- “A Little Less Conversation” A Little Less Conversation Single (1968)
#1: “Hound Dog” “Don’t Be Cruel” Single (1956)
Taking our number one spot is the gyrating, pelvis-shaking ditty that started all kinds of trouble. Debuting the song on The Milton Berle Show, Presley made sure his performance announced two things: rock and roll was here to stay and Elvis was its King. Thanks to its raw and game-changing energy, it topped multiple American charts and became his best-selling track.
Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite Elvis Presley song? For more a little less conversation and a lot more Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.