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.