In Memorium: An Elvis Presley Playlist

Rolling Stone editors select their favorite Elvis tracks on the anniversary of the King's death

August 16, 2006 3:13 PM ET

Twenty-nine years ago today, Elvis Presley died of a heart attack at the age of forty-two. To commemorate the King's legacy, Rolling Stone's editors handpicked some of their favorite Elvis tunes.

"That's Alright (Mama)": Elvis' first single was recorded and released by Sun Records in July 1954, and in 2005, Rolling Stone declared it the song that started the rock & roll revolution.

"Good Rockin' Tonight": The second single from Sun Records, recorded in 1954.

"Mystery Train": In September 1955, "Mystery Train" became the first Elvis recording to hit Number One on any Billboard chart.

"Wear My Ring (Around Your Neck)": A relatively chaste Presley song that tackles the quaint topic of going steady, this track from 1958 nonetheless riled Catholic leaders, who deemed it "suggestive."

"A Little Less Conversation": The unofficial Brat Pack theme song has been used in countless movies and television ads, but it still sounds good.

"Hound Dog": An indisputable classic.

"Kentucky Rain": Along with hit singles "Suspicious Minds" and "In the Ghetto," "Kentucky Rain" was recorded in the so-called "Memphis sessions" of January 1969 and is widely considered to be one of Presley's best.

"In the Ghetto": On Presley's most explicitly political gospel-influenced ballad, he creates a moving illustration of the circle of life and death in the nation's slums -- a clear influence from his own rags-to-riches history.

"Suspicious Minds": Released August 26, 1969, "Suspicious Minds" was Elvis' seventeenth Number One single in the United States and his final Number One before his death. The passion in his voice might be explained by the fact that he and his wife were cheating on one another at the time.

"Unchained Melody": Though it has been recorded an estimated five hundred times by artists ranging from the Righteous Brothers to Barry Manilow to Harry Belafonte, the King does a killer version here in his dying days.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


Nelly Furtado with Timbaland | 2006

This club-oriented single featuring Timbaland, who produced Nelly Furtado's third album, Loose, was Furtado’s sexy return after the Canadian singer's exploration of her Portuguese heritage on Folklore. "In the studio, initially I didn’t know if I could do it, 'cause Timbaland wrote that chorus," Furtado said. "I'm like, 'That's cool, but I don't know if I'm ready to do full-out club.'" The flirty lyrics are a dance between a guy and girl, each knowing they will end up in bed together but still playing the game. "Tim and I called it 'The BlackBerry Song,' she said, "because everything we say in the song you could text-message to somebody."

More Song Stories entries »