25 Top Elvis Presley Songs: Year-by-Year

Elvis performs live in Honolulu, 1973

Elvis performs live in Honolulu, 1973

Today marks the 81st anniversary of the birth of Elvis Presley. While I believe that his musical powers peaked during his 1966-1970 “comeback” years, I enjoy most of his career. With that in mind, I compiled the below list of my favorite Elvis song for each year he recorded.

1953: My Happiness (Demo) [The Great Performances]
1954: Good Rockin’ Tonight [Single]
1955: Mystery Train [Single]
1956: Love Me [Elvis]
1957: Jailhouse Rock [Single]
1958: As Long As I Have You [King Creole]
1959: Danny Boy (Informal) [A Golden Celebration]
1960: Are You Lonesome Tonight [Single]
1961: Can’t Help Falling In Love [Single]
1962: You’ll Be Gone (Take 2) [Elvis By The Presleys]
1963: Witchcraft [Single]
1964: It Hurts Me (Alternate Mix) [Single-Italy]
1965: Please Don’t Stop Loving Me (Take 10) [Today, Tomorrow & Forever]
1966: How Great Thou Art [How Great Thou Art]
1967: You’ll Never Walk Alone (Take 2) [A Life In Music]
1968: If I Can Dream [Single]
1969: Suspicious Minds [Single]
1970: Polk Salad Annie (Live) [On Stage-February 1970]
1971: I’ll Be Home On Christmas Day (Re-recording) [Memories Of Christmas]
1972: Always On My Mind [Single]
1973: Promised Land (Undubbed Master) [Promised Land (2011 FTD Edition)]
1974: Steamroller Blues (Live) [Forty-Eight Hours To Memphis: Recorded Live On Stage In Richmond, Virginia – March 18, 1974]
1975: Bringing It Back [Single]
1976: Pledging My Love [Single]
1977: Where No One Stands Alone (Live) [Unchained Melody]

25 thoughts on “25 Top Elvis Presley Songs: Year-by-Year

      • I’d be curious how your preference stacks up against whatever was his biggest hit of the year.

        We’re the same age of Elvis fan and we do have a different appreciation of Elvis than the fans who grew up with him.

        Our fan group tends to be more playful and forgiving than the “original fans”

        Do you think Elvis suffers from artist credibility because he was primarily marketed to girls (performer fans) rather than boys (serious music fans)?

        (cultural semi-sarcasm off)

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        • Plus, there is what I call “singer-songwriter snobbery.” Certain folks out there look down on him as an artist because he did not write his songs. One of the reasons I enjoy Elvis most is because of the variety – and I am sure part of that comes from the fact that his songs were written by so many different people. So, I actually see it as an advantage.

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        • Frank Sinatra never wrote a single song. and it certainly was not usual or standard – there were writers and there were performers for many decades and for the most part.

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        • I am very glad to get to live in the era where it’s okay to enjoy Elvis AND the Beatles LOL. I am also glad that Sony is treating Elvis with the artist treatment he deserved, unlike BMG/RCA before, eh!

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        • Yes, apparently a legitimate co-writer on that one and “You’ll Be Gone.” Maybe one or two other scattered examples. Based on his ability to improv new (usually humorous) lyrics to songs, I think he could’ve eventually developed the talent.

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        • I have also heard somewhere along the line that he is the one who wrote the “replacement” lyrics for “One Night,” but I don’t believe I’ve ever seen official confirmation of that. Might just be one of those many Elvis legends.

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        • When it comes to the 1957 recordings, I ultimately prefer the “sanitized” version. I just think the overall song sounds better than his version with the original lyrics. He’s singing it with more bite. That could just be that I was so used to hearing the single version. However, even the alternate has been around for a long time now.

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        • Yes. man I remember the days of scouring record shop shelves and finding bootlegs! I have the Complete Masters massive set and I have played it 5 times through, the 60s are hard to hear him phoning it in – it shows how an amazing performer can raise the worst material into “saleable”… but from 1974, serious depression. those are the hardest ones to play now because they are just to heart wrenchingly true.

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        • One of the biggest revelations to me way back when was hearing From Nashville To Memphis: The Essential 60s Masters I. Stripping out the movie soundtrack songs puts his 1960s recordings in a new (better) light – at least it did for me. Whereas, I found the 1970s box to be less successful of an approach – but perhaps because I already loved that era.

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  1. Happy Elvis’ Birthday, Troy! I’ve never considered buying an FTD album until this year. Which ones should I consider? Mostly I’d be interested in expanded versions of my favourite albums and soundtracks. What say you?

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    • My first question would be, what are your favorite albums and soundtracks? My second question would be, how much outtake type material (non-FTD) do you already have, if any?

      As far as my potentially long winded-answer to your underlying question, I think I’ll save that for a future post (relatively soon), if you don’t mind.

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      • Sounds good. You could do a “Guide to FTD Releases” post. I think I’ll look into it myself. I’ll check what they’ve done with my favourites and see what looks good. I’ve never been one for chasing alternate takes. I remember my “Complete Sun Sessions” cassette with the endless “I Fogot to Remember…” takes. But I can see the value of hearing the progression – the route he took to get a master. Thanks.

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        • Well, some alternates are more interesting than others. Also, as you would expect when it comes to Elvis, it also depends on whether you enjoy that particular era/year/session/etc. Then, there are the live concerts. Some are incredible. I’ve heard that others are pretty bad (I cherry pick FTD, there’s no way for me to keep up with all of them, so I go for ones I’m pretty sure I will like). But hey, that’s Elvis music in a nutshell.

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  2. Pingback: Elvis never wrote no songs | Nina's Soap Bubble Box

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