“I grew up in the late fifties and strongly believe Elvis made his best music in the years before going in the Army,” states Phil Arnold in his most recent ElvisBlog post, “Top 10 Elvis Songs — A Contrarian View.”
“I really don’t care for much of Elvis’ music from the seventies – not really rock and roll, too many horns and fancy arrangements,” he says.
I quote this not to argue with Phil’s opinion, to which he is obviously entitled, but to contrast it against his top ten Elvis songs that he goes on to discuss in the post (you may want to read it first and come back here).
Focusing in on his favored version of each song in the list,
four two are from the 1960s, three five are are from the 1950s, and three are from the 1970s. Somehow, the 1970s fares just almost as well as the 1950s on Phil’s list.
Though I have broadened my Elvis horizons over the years to enjoy music from throughout his career, I would certainly fall into the classification of a “1970s fan” compared to Phil.
So, how many 1970s songs appear in my own top ten list?
It turns out, not very many. Here’s my personal list of favorites.
#1 Always On My Mind [Rehearsal] (1972)
#2 If I Can Dream (1968)
#3 Mystery Train (1955)
#4 Suspicious Minds (1969)
#5 Can’t Help Falling In Love (1961)
#6 Jailhouse Rock (1957)
#7 Love Me (1956)
#8 One Night (1957)
#9 Are You Lonesome Tonight (1960)
#10 Reconsider Baby (1960)
Only one from the 1970s! That’s right, Phil actually has three times as many 1970s songs on his list as I do. My list has four 1950s recordings, one
more less than “1950s fan” Phil, and five from the 1960s.
Putting aside my little fun, Phil’s list is actually quite good and well thought out. Plus, I wholeheartedly agree with the quality of many of his selections.
For instance, two of his top ten appear in my top eleven (“Reconsider Baby” and “Santa Claus Is Back In Town”). Seven of his top ten appear in some form in my top 100.
Two of the three songs that do not appear on my top 100 list are, you guessed it, from the 1970s (“I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water” [undubbed master-1970] and “Steamroller Blues” [live]).
So, what does all of this mean? Never trust a list on an Elvis blog. We’re just makin’ this stuff up as we go, man!
[UPDATE: Corrected per comments below.]
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This marks the 250th post on The Mystery Train Elvis Blog. Thank you to all of those who have been along for the ride. I’d say this journey is only about halfway through, so there are many posts yet to come.