Suspicious Minds

Today in 1969, Elvis Presley recorded Suspicious Minds, one of his biggest hits and his last US No. 1. The session took place at American Sound Studio between 4 and 7am. Chips Moman became interested in producing Presley after The King’s career got a reboot on his ’68 Comeback Special. In the wake of his failing marriage, the lyrics of Suspicious Minds were a good fit for what fans perceived to be Elvis’ mindset. It would be the centerpiece of the From Elvis in Memphis LP.

Photo Credit: Houston Chronicle

But it wasn’t the first version of Suspicious Minds. American singer / songwriter Mark James wrote it, Moman produced it and Scepter records released it in 1968. As was often the case, the label didn’t have the budget to promote James’ version and it languished and died without chart success.

When the Elvis sessions were being set up, Moman’s partner, Don Crews asked James if he had any material that might fit the King’s evolving persona. Suspicious Minds found its way to Elvis’ turntable and Presley decided that perhaps he could turn James’ tune into a hit.

Suspicious Minds was first heard by an audience when Elvis performed it live at the Las Vegas International Hotel  on July 31, 1969. Twenty-six days later the single was released. It reached No.1 in the the week of November 1.


Today in History:

1956, Cleveland Rock n’ Roll fans under the age of 18 were banned from dancing in public (unless accompanied by an adult), after Ohio Police decided to enforce a law dating back to 1931.

1965, Petula Clark becomes  the first UK female singer to have a No.1 in the US since Vera Lynn in 1952. “Downtown” was recorded in just three takes (with the second take ultimately chosen as the completed track), session players in the studio recording included future Led Zeppelin front man, Jimmy Page.

1969, The Beatles (with Billy Preston on keyboards) recorded ten takes of a new song called ‘Get Back’ at the Abbey Road Studios.

1971, George Harrison becomes the first solo Beatle to have a No.1 when ‘ ‘My Sweet Lord’ tops the UK single charts. The song from his ‘All Things Must Pass’ LP held the spot for 5 weeks.

1971, Dawn starts a three week run at the top of the US singles chart with ‘Knock Three Times’. Their signature hits include “Candida“, “Knock Three Times“, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree“, “Say, Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose“, and “He Don’t Love You (Like I Love You)“.

1973, President Richard Nixon announces an accord has been reached to end Vietnam War

1976, 70% of 10,000 respondents tell advice columnist Ann Landers they wouldn’t become parents if they had to do it all over again.

Much More Music:

One of the first 45s I ever bought. A classic 1964 tune from the Riviera’s. Here’s “California Sun”. (Video)

The Doobie Brothers were transformed when Michael McDonald took over on the microphone. Here’s one of his first contributions from 1976. “Takin It To The Streets”. (Video)

Today’s Quote Worth Re-Quoting: “Opportunity doesn’t knock it presents itself when you beat down the door.” ~Kyle Chandler

We’ve all heard Elvis’ version of Suspicious Minds ad nauseum. Here’s the Mark James original:

Thanks for listening!

Scott Westerman
Host and Producer – Rock and Roll Revisited
Author: Motor City Music – Keener 13 and the Soundtrack of Detroit