A Look Back: Elvis Presley Revives His Career With The Hit Song ‘Suspicious Minds’

"Suspicious Minds" was actually a disappointment for its writer, Mark James, however Elvis was able to transform it and made it his 18th chart topper single...

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Photo credit: Gary Null/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
Gary Null/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

In 1969, Elvis Presley was experiencing his second round of career achievement, right after the massive spike in popularity he achieved through the ’68 Comeback Special.

Before the special, Elvis had been very disappointed with his career. Around January 1967 and May 1968, only two of his eight singles got into the Top 40, and he had not had a Top 10 hit in the US since 1965. The Comeback Special made it easier to turn things around for Elvis, but his actual lifesaver was the 1969 track, “Suspicious Minds.”

“Suspicious Minds” was initially composed and recorded in 1968 by songwriter Mark James. When Mark had written the song, he had been going through some difficulties with his wife, who had been concerned about his feelings for his childhood girlfriend. Mark made the decision to write “Suspicious Minds” so that he could work through the situation, and share the story of doubt and suspicion within a relationship.

Even so, Mark’s version of the song had been a let down, and it never made its way into the charts.

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At the end of 1968, Don Cruise, partner to producer Chips Moman, told Mark that Elvis was booked to record in their studio. Don asked Mark if he knew of any tracks that could be an excellent fit for Elvis. Mark, sensing that Elvis would lend the song a much more mature sound than he could have, recommended “Suspicious Minds.”

When Elvis listened to the song he felt positive that he could transform it into a hit. He finished recording it on January 23, 1969, and launched it as a single on August 26 of the same year.

Elvis had some good instincts: the song that had been such a failure for Mark became a huge hit for “The King.” It became his 18th number one single in the US. Many fans and critics consider the song to be one of Elvis’ trademark tunes, and recognize it as the key to the 1969 revival of his career.

Even today, the song continues to be a fan favorite, with Rolling Stone rating it as the 91st greatest song on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Elvis played “Suspicious Minds” for the very first time at the Las Vegas International Hotel in July, 1969, and continued performing it in Vegas for an entire year. You can see one of those live performances in the video below.

After many years of career disillusionment, Elvis was able to recover his throne with his now legendary rendition of “Suspicious Minds,” and as soon as you hear him sing the song, you’ll understand why.

LYRICS

We’re caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much baby

Why can’t you see
What you’re doing to me
When you don’t believe a word I say?

We can’t go on together
With suspicious minds (suspicious minds)
And we can’t build our dreams
On suspicious minds

So, if an old friend I know
Stops by to say hello
Would I still see suspicion in your eyes?

Here we go again
Asking where I’ve been
You can’t see these tears are real
I’m crying (Yes I’m crying)

We can’t go on together
With suspicious minds (suspicious minds)
And we can’t build our dreams
On suspicious minds

Oh let our love survive
Or dry the tears from your eyes
Let’s don’t let a good thing die
Oh honey, you know
I’ve never lied to you
Mmm yeah, yeah

We’re caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much baby

Why can’t you see
What you’re doing to me
When you don’t believe a word I say?

Don’t you know I’m caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much baby

Don’t you know I’m caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much baby

Don’t you know I’m caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much baby

Don’t you know I’m caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much baby

Don’t you know I’m caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much baby

Don’t you know I’m caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much baby

Don’t you know I’m caught in a trap

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