These Little-Known Elvis Presley Songs Are Hidden Gems
All of the above-mentioned songs were number one hits for Elvis, and remain some of his most popular songs today. But as great as they are, “The King” has many more songs in his collection that deserve just as much recognition.
Believe it or not, there are songs in Elvis’ repertoire that for whatever reason, haven’t stood the test of time. Many of these songs were perfectly good, but just didn’t catch on with the masses like so many of Elvis’ other tunes.
These unfortunately underrated songs are ones that people need to know about. That’s why we put together this list for you. Go ahead and look below to uncover some of Elvis’ best songs that you’ve probably never heard.
Released in 1972, Elvis actually recorded “Sylvia” two years prior at RCA’s Studio B in Nashville, Tennessee. The track was featured on his album Elvis Now, but was never released as a single.
In spite of that, “Sylvia” managed to sneak into the top spot on the charts in South America. Although it was successful there, the track flew under the radar everywhere else.
The song is about a man who is longing to hear from his love, a woman named Sylvia. Elvis does a brilliant job at building up the heartbreaking tension of the song. You can hear that best in the chorus, as his voice explodes while singing of how desperate he is to hear just one word from Sylvia.
“I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water”
Originally released by Stonewall Jackson in 1965, Elvis didn’t put his voice on “I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water” until a few years later. Elvis released his version in 1970 as one of the tracks on his Gold-certified album Elvis Country.
While the album’s lead single “I Really Don’t Want to Know,” wasn’t as big of a hit as Elvis’ other tunes, it is still better-known than “I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water.” He never released that song as a single, and it was basically ignored by the world.
It’s such a shame that not many have heard Elvis’ take on the tune before, because it’s a riot. It features the same sort of rowdy lyrics that made “Jailhouse Rock” so popular, as it talks about a man who winds up in jail despite his father’s best advice. Plus, Elvis’ delivery just makes it a blast to listen to!
“A Mess of Blues”
Elvis has always maintained a passionate fan base in the UK. The audience over there often responded more favorably to some songs than his American audience. “A Mess of Blues” was one of those songs.
“A Mess of Blues” was released after Elvis was released from the Army in 1960. It was a huge hit in the UK, where it ended up claiming the second spot on the chart. However, it was unable to break into the Top 25 in the U.S., stalling at #32.
Many Elvis experts have theorized that the reason why “A Mess of Blues” fell flat is because it was the B-side to “It’s Now or Never.” The latter song was a number one hit, and Elvis’ first big release after leaving the Army.
It’s unfortunate that “A Mess of Blues” was overshadowed, because it perfectly showcases Elvis’ bluesy side. You won’t be able to resist its swaggering sound once you hear it in the clip above!
“Wearin’ That Loved-On Look”
Today, Elvis’ album From Elvis in Memphis is known as the album that introduced the world to the heartbreaking “In the Ghetto.” But in the wake of that song’s success, the album’s other tracks never got the chance to shine.
One of the hidden gems on the album is a song called “Wearin’ That Loved-On Look.” It was recorded and released in 1969, but didn’t have enough appeal at the time to become a single.
Honestly, we don’t understand why. The song deals with a common theme that runs through many mega-hits…cheating. But Elvis deals with it in a funky and somewhat fun way, making “Wearin’ That Loved-On Look” one of the most unique pieces in his collection.
“Baby Let’s Play House”
Maybe the reason why this tune got lost in history is because it was one of Elvis’ earliest releases. He released his rendition in 1955, one year after it was originally released by its songwriter, Arthur Gunter.
Granted, “Baby Let’s Play House” was a huge hit at the time of its release. It was Elvis’ first song to ever make an appearance on the Billboard chart, and it was an impressive debut. It peaked at the 5th spot on the Billboard Country Singles chart.
But as bigger hits came along, “Baby Let’s Play House” seemed to get dusted under the rug. It’s worth revisiting though, because it perfectly captures Elvis’ signature rock and roll sound that helped propel him to stardom during the early years of his career.
“Tomorrow Is A Long Time”
Bob Dylan wrote “Tomorrow Is a Long Time” and recorded it during a concert in April 1963. But he didn’t release it until 1971, so Elvis was actually the first to release a recording of the tune.
Elvis’ version of “Tomorrow Is a Long Time” appeared on his album Spinout, which was released in 1966. Bob was so touched by his performance that he called it “the one recording I treasure the most,” according to the book Elvis Presley: A Life in Music. But even Bob’s stamp of approval wasn’t enough to propel Elvis’ version of the song into the spotlight.
We don’t understand why “Tomorrow Is a Long Time” never seemed to have a hold on Elvis’ fans. He’s particularly charming in the song, and filled his performance with a powerful sense of emotion.
While Elvis’ soundtrack albums for his various films have often been points of mockery, there were a few standout pieces on those albums. However, it seems that audiences overlooked far too many songs just because Elvis’ films didn’t always hit.
One song that definitely got the raw end of the deal was “Marguerita,” which appeared on the soundtrack for Fun in Acapulco. While the film was set in Mexico and “Marguerita” had obvious Spanish influences, it was a big hit elsewhere. For some reason, Elvis’ fans in Greece just couldn’t seem to get enough of the tune!
But for whatever reason, “Marguerita” never caught on anywhere else. If only more people would have paid attention to it, then the world would have fallen in love with Elvis’ suave vocal performance in the tune!
Released three years before Elvis’ death “Promised Land” was an early-issued single off of his album of the same name. It was a moderate success, peaking at the 14th spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and reaching the Top 10 on the UK charts.
Chuck Berry wrote “Promised Land,” and was actually the first to release a recording of in in 1965. Feeling inspired after leaving jail, Berry wrote about traveling across the U.S. to “the promised land,” which he proclaimed to be California.
Listening to the song now, we’re astounded that it’s basically disappeared from the minds of Elvis’ fans. Combined with the lyrics, its upbeat pace and Elvis’ toe-tappin’ delivery make it the perfect road trip song. So go ahead and be sure to play it the next time you take off across the country.
Now that you’ve heard all of these songs, which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!