The Mystery Train Blog

Following dreams of yesterday to the edge of reality

Scoring the win by a knockout, the new Elvis Song Champion of the World. . . .

It has been a grueling contest, but sixty-four songs have finally been narrowed to one. Thank you to everyone who participated. Votes came in from all over the world, making this a truly international event.

I also want to thank everyone who took the time in this final round to submit suggestions about the site. Since the replies are anonymous, I am unable to thank you individually, but please know your comments are appreciated. Some of them validated plans I already had in the works, while others were new concepts that I will take under consideration. One of them, I have already implemented, but more on that later.

Back to the Elvis Mania 2014 tournament, it came down to “Mystery Train” versus “Suspicious Minds.” As Colin commented when the championship round began, “This is the hardest choice yet!”

However, the readers of The Mystery Train Blog have spoken, in overwhelming fashion.

In an 84% to 16% victory, scoring the win by a knockout, the new Elvis Song Champion of the World . . . “Suspicious Minds”!

In his lifetime, Elvis released five main versions of “Suspicious Minds.” His original, January 1969 studio recording of the song was backed with “You’ll Think Of Me” and released as a single that August. “Suspicious Minds” became his first number one hit since “Good Luck Charm” in 1962.

Barbara McNair and Elvis Presley in CHANGE OF HABIT (1969)

Barbara McNair and Elvis Presley in CHANGE OF HABIT (1969)

Just as “Suspicious Minds” hit the airwaves and record shops, Elvis was appearing throughout August in Las Vegas at the International Hotel. RCA recorded several of his concerts, including his August 26, 1969, Dinner Show. At this concert, Elvis performed a nearly eight-minute version of the song, which he dedicated to Barbara McNair, his Change of Habit co-star who was in the audience. Though his dedication was edited out, the performance was featured on the Elvis In Person portion of the double LP From Memphis To Vegas/From Vegas To Memphis.

Captured live at the August 12, 1970, Midnight Show, a six-minute version of “Suspicious Minds” in Vegas became a setpiece of the documentary film Elvis-That’s The Way It Is. Elvis fans had to watch the movie to enjoy it, though, for the performance remained otherwise unreleased until 2000 – 23 years after the singer’s death.

Live versions of “Suspicious Minds” also featured prominently on the albums As Recorded At Madison Square Garden (1972) and Aloha From Hawaii via Satellite (1973) as well as the Aloha From Hawaii TV broadcast. The song even appeared briefly in the 1972 documentary Elvis On Tour.

In Ken Sharp’s Writing For The King (2006), songwriter Mark James described how he came up with the song: “I had the idea for ‘Suspicious Minds’ and it started coming to me one night. First the title came and I thought about it and lived with it for a while. Then the lyric came to me, ‘caught in a trap, I can’t walk out because I love you too much, baby.’ What I was trying to say is we can’t live together or attain our dreams or build on anything if we don’t trust one another” (p. 213). James released his version as a single in 1968, but it failed to find an audience.

Many other artists have recorded “Suspicious Minds” since Elvis, including Waylon Jennings (1970), Dee Dee Warwick (1971), Fine Young Cannibals (1985), Dwight Yoakam (1992), and Daughtry (2007). With an arrangement inspired by Warwick’s recording, Martina McBride has a version of “Suspicious Minds” coming out tomorrow on her new album, Everlasting.

To view the full results of Elvis Mania 2014, check out the tournament’s page on Challonge.com. Among those eligible (i.e., not including me), “JakeMarston” earned the highest score for his predictions. He will receive a Legacy Edition CD of an Elvis title of his choice, courtesy of The Mystery Train Blog.

Only it is no longer The Mystery Train Blog. One of the suggestions that came in during the last round was, “After crowning Suspicious Minds as the best Elvis song, rename blog to The Suspicious Minds Blog.” The person went on to explain that he or she was only joking, but I have decided to move forward with the suggestion anyway.

For the next month, The Mystery Train Blog will now be known as The Suspicious Minds Blog. Until then, we’re caught in a trap.

Elvis Presley in 1969

Elvis Presley in 1969

Suspicious Minds vs. Mystery Train: Elvis Mania 2014 Championship

Only “Suspicious Minds” and “Mystery Train” remain standing in The Mystery Train Blog’s Elvis Mania 2014 tournament.

The tournament will crown the Best Elvis Song based on your votes. To view the results of the first five rounds, check out the tournament’s page on Challonge.com.

The championship match begin now. “Suspicious Minds” takes on “Mystery Train” in a final battle to the finish. Vote for your favorite below. If you have difficulty viewing the embedded version of this matchup, access it directly using this link.

Anyone can vote, not just those who made predictions or participated in previous rounds. You do not have to register.

Elvis Presley in 1969

Elvis Presley in 1969

Voting ends on Monday, April 7.

[April 7, 2014, Update: Voting is now closed.]

Final Curtain Four: Elvis Mania 2014 Tournament Semifinals

Elvis Presley in 1968

Elvis Presley in 1968

Welcome to the Final Curtain Four! The following songs have made it to the semifinals of The Mystery Train Blog’s Elvis Mania 2014 tournament:

  • Are You Lonesome Tonight
  • Mystery Train
  • Reconsider Baby
  • Suspicious Minds

The tournament will crown the Best Elvis Song based on your votes. To view the results of the first four rounds, check out the tournament’s page on Challonge.com.

The semifinals begin now. They pit the four remaining songs against one another. Vote for your favorite in the two matches below. If you have difficulty viewing the embedded version of the matchups, access them directly using this link.

Anyone can vote, not just those who made predictions or participated in previous rounds. You do not have to register.

Semifinals voting ends on Friday, April 4.

[April 4, 2014, Update: Semifinals voting is now closed.]

Elvis Eight: Round 4 of the Elvis Mania 2014 Tournament

Elvis Presley in 1963

Elvis Presley in 1963

The following songs make up the Elvis Eight, for they have survived the latest round of The Mystery Train Blog’s Elvis Mania 2014 tournament:

  • Always On My Mind
  • Are You Lonesome Tonight
  • Can’t Help Falling In Love
  • Don’t Be Cruel
  • Jailhouse Rock
  • Mystery Train
  • Reconsider Baby
  • Suspicious Minds

The tournament will crown the Best Elvis Song based on your votes. To view the results of the first three rounds, check out the tournament’s page on Challonge.com.

Round 4 begins now. It pits the eight remaining songs against one another. Vote for your favorite in each of the four matches below. If you have difficulty viewing the embedded version of the matchups, access them directly using this link.

Anyone can vote, not just those who made predictions or participated in previous rounds. You do not have to register.

Round 4 voting ends on Tuesday, April 1 (no fooling).

[April 1, 2014, Update: Round 4 voting is now closed.]

Blue Suede Sixteen: Round 3 of the Elvis Mania 2014 Tournament

The Blue Suede Sixteen has now been set. Only 16 songs remain in The Mystery Train Blog’s Elvis Mania 2014 tournament:

  • Always On My Mind
  • An American Trilogy
  • Are You Lonesome Tonight
  • Burning Love
  • Can’t Help Falling In Love
  • Don’t Be Cruel
  • Good Rockin’ Tonight
  • Heartbreak Hotel
  • It’s Now Or Never
  • Jailhouse Rock
  • Lawdy, Miss Clawdy
  • Mystery Train
  • Promised Land
  • Reconsider Baby
  • Suspicious Minds
  • Tiger Man

Based on your votes, the tournament will crown the Best Elvis Song. To view the results of the first two rounds, check out the tournament’s page on Challonge.com.

Round 3 begins now. It pits the 16 remaining songs against one another. Vote for your favorite in each of the eight matches below. If you have difficulty viewing the embedded version of the matchups, access them directly using this link.

Anyone can vote, not just those who made predictions or participated in previous rounds. You do not have to register.

Round 3 voting ends on Saturday, March 29.

[March 29, 2014, Update: Round 3 voting is now closed.]

Elvis Presley in 1972

Elvis Presley in 1972

Elvis Mania 2014 Tournament: Time for Round 2

Elvis Presley in 1957

Elvis Presley in 1957

Round 1 of The Mystery Train Blog’s Elvis Mania 2014 tournament is in the books. The tournament will crown the Best Elvis Song, based on your votes. To view the results of the first round, which eliminated 32 songs from contention, check out the tournament’s page on Challonge.com.

Now, it is time to start Round 2, which pits the 32 remaining songs against one another. Vote for your favorite in each of the 16 matches below. If you have difficulty viewing the embedded version of the matchups, access them directly using this link.

Anyone can vote, not just those who made predictions or participated in the previous round. You do not have to register.

If you thought choosing songs in that first round was tough, just wait until you try this one out.

Round 2 voting will end in three days, on Tuesday, March 25.

[March 25, 2014, Update: Round 2 voting is now closed.]

Elvis Mania 2014 Tournament: Round 1 Begins

The Mystery Train BlogPredictions have been locked in, so now it is time to begin The Mystery Train Blog’s Elvis Mania 2014 tournament! The tournament will award the title of Best Elvis Song, based on your votes.

Round 1 pits 64 Elvis songs against one another. Vote for your favorite in each of the 32 matches below. If you have difficulty viewing the embedded version of the matchups, access them directly using this link.

Anyone can vote, not just those who made predictions. You do not have to register.

Round 1 voting will end in three days, on the evening of Friday, March 21.

[March 21, 2014, Update: Round 1 voting is now closed.]

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