Elvis Presley: US Male (1968)

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Elvis Presley: US Male (1968)

In '67-'68 very few people were listening to Elvis Presley in the way they once did. The mode of the music had changed, the musical cultures of London and San Francisco were dominant and the new heroes were the Sun Kings (the Beatles), Jimi Hendrix, psychedelic bands and so on.

Tough minded rock'n'roll singles  -- aside from those by John Fogerty for Creedence -- weren't of as much interest as tripped out albums.

And anyway, Elvis had made seven or eight too many bad movies by then.

When his famous '68 Comeback Special aired at the end of the year however there was a sense of resurrection, but his rehabilition had actually begun some time previous.

In late '67 he'd released Big Boss Man which had a real swagger, then Guitar Man in early '68 which was equally punchy.

He nailed it home with US Male in May '68 -- written by Jerry Reed, recorded by Elvis the month before the filming of the Comeback Special -- with this unashamedly Southern boast and its earthy, sensual physicality. He speaks you into the song and then hits it home, leaving you in no doubt just who he was and where he had come from.

And with his possessive macho swagger, which of course would become less acceptable as waves of feminism washed over subsequent generations, Elvis stakes his claim to being a Southern barroom scrapper. You don't doubt him.

"That's m-a-l-e, son. That's me."

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For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.

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Mark - Feb 1, 2022

Ted Kaczynski's favourite song apparently.

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