All Those Lonely Times: Elvis Presley’s 20 Best Country Songs

“You see, country music was always a part of the influence on my type of music, anyway. It’s a combination of country music and gospel and rhythm & blues. All combined, that’s what it really was. As a child, I was influenced by all of that. [...] Of course, the Grand Ole Opry was the first thing I ever heard, probably, but I liked the blues, and I liked the gospel music – gospel quartets and all that.” –Elvis Presley, 1970

Elvis at the Houston Astrodome, 1970

Elvis discussing country music at the Houston Astrodome, 1970

Elvis would have turned 79 today. In honor of the anniversary of his birth, here is a ranking of what I consider his 20 best country music recordings.

#1 Always On My Mind [Rehearsal] (1972)
This Is Elvis
Other notable version: 1972 Master (Separate Ways)

#2 Tryin’ To Get To You (1955)
Elvis Presley
Other notable performance: 1968 Live [rock 'n' roll version] (A Life In Music)

#3 I Really Don’t Want To Know (1970)
I’m 10,000 Years Old: Elvis Country
Other notable versions: 1970 Undubbed Master (I’m 10,000 Years Old: Elvis Country [2008 FTD Edition]), 1977 Live (Elvis In Concert)

#4 Kentucky Rain (1969)
Worldwide 50 Gold Award Hits, Volume 1
Other notable version: 1970 Live (Elvis Aron Presley)

#5 Tomorrow Never Comes (1970)
I’m 10,000 Years Old: Elvis Country
Other notable version: 1970 Take 2 (The Nashville Marathon)

#6 Funny How Time Slips Away (1970)
I’m 10,000 Years Old: Elvis Country
Other notable versions: 1969 Live (Today, Tomorrow & Forever), 1972 Rehearsal (Elvis On Tour: The Rehearsals)

#7 Don’t Cry Daddy (1969)
Worldwide 50 Gold Award Hits, Volume 1
Other notable versions: 1970 Live (Greatest Hits, Volume One), 1970 Live (Polk Salad Annie)

#8 Guitar Man (1967)
Clambake
Other notable performances: 1967 Undubbed/Unedited Master (Elvis Sings Guitar Man), 1968 Re-recording [rock 'n' roll version] (ELVIS-TV Special [Track 1]), 1968 Live [rock 'n' roll version] (Burbank 68), 1967 Take 5 (Elvis Sings Guitar Man)

#9 Early Morning Rain (1971)
Elvis Now
Other notable version: 1973 Re-recording (Mahalo From Elvis)

#10 Bringing It Back (1975)
Today

#11 Separate Ways (1972)
Separate Ways
Other notable version: 1972 Rehearsal (Elvis On Tour: The Rehearsals)

#12 It’s Midnight (1973)
Promised Land

#13 Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues (1973)
Good Times
Other notable versions: 1973 Undubbed/Unedited Master (Good Times [2009 FTD Edition]), 1973 Take 7 (Good Times [2009 FTD Edition])

#14 You Don’t Know Me (1967)
Clambake

#15 Long Black Limousine (1969)
From Elvis In Memphis

#16 Pieces Of My Life (1975)
Today
Other notable version: 1975 Rough Session Mix (Today [2005 FTD Edition])

#17 Make The World Go Away (1970)
I’m 10,000 Years Old: Elvis Country
Other notable versions: 1970 Take 3 (Welcome To My World), 1970 Live (That’s The Way It Is [2000 Special Edition])

#18 For Ol’ Times Sake (1973)
Raised On Rock

#19 Clean Up Your Own Backyard [Undubbed Master] (1968)
Double Features: Live A Little, Love A Little/Charro/The Trouble With Girls/Change Of Habit
Other notable versions: 1980 Remix (Guitar Man), 1968 Master (Almost In Love)

#20 You Asked Me To [Take 2B] (1973)
Rhythm & Country
Other notable version: 1973 Master (Promised Land)

* * *

While it is fun to make themed lists, a performance does not always fit within a definitive genre, particularly when it comes to Elvis music. Some of these selections, therefore, may not be considered “strictly country.” When in doubt, refer to the Elvis quote at the top of this post.

Happy Elvis Day 2014, everyone! May the Music be with you, always.

Categories: Music, The Mystery Train Blog | Tags: , , , , , ,

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8 thoughts on “All Those Lonely Times: Elvis Presley’s 20 Best Country Songs

  1. Elvis guitar player James Burton is still my all time favorite country picker to ever play guitar. Nice list

    • Thanks, 45spin. I enjoyed checking out your blog. I like your philosophy of focusing on the music, rather than values. For me, the music is what it’s always about.

      James Burton definitely added a special energy to the Elvis sound. I’m glad the two were able to work together.

  2. Clementine

    Loved your list……especially the first 3 songs………..three of my all time favorites!! Happy Elvis day to you, Troy!!

    • Thanks, Clementine. I hope your Elvis Day went well. It was low-key for me, though I did listen to a couple of dozen songs.

  3. epa4368

    Elvis’ Houston Press Conference February 1970… Elvis was at his best! Awesome interview, awesome man!

    Happy Elvis Day!

    • His various press conferences up to and including Madison Square Garden in 1972 were always something. He would evade certain questions, yet provide enlightenment on others, if you were listening closely enough. I enjoy them.

      Of course, the press would probably be much tougher on him these days if he was still around.

      Sometimes I wish there was a “definitive” interview done of him, the 1972 Elvis On Tour tapes notwithstanding. However, maybe he is just best left to mystery.

  4. Mike Hermenet

    Another GREAT list my friend!! Always enjoy reading your “best of” blogs…you always seem to know just which songs to pick!

    Happy Elvis Day to you too my friend!!

    TCB!

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