From Elvis in Memphis

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From Elvis in Memphis
Studio album by Elvis Presley
Released June 17, 1969 (1969-06-17)
Recorded January–February 1969 at American Sound Studio in Memphis, Tennessee
Genre Blue-eyed soul, country, rhythm and blues, pop
Length 36:42
Label RCA Victor
Producer Chips Moman, Felton Jarvis
Elvis Presley chronology
From Elvis in Memphis
From Memphis To Vegas/From Vegas To Memphis
Singles from From Elvis in Memphis
  1. "In the Ghetto"
    Released: April 14, 1969 (1969-04-14)[1]
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[2]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[3]
Sputnikmusic 5.0/5[4]

From Elvis in Memphis is the ninth studio album by American rock and roll icon Elvis Presley, released on RCA Victor, LSP 4155, in June 1969. The recording of the album, which took place at American Sound Studio in Memphis, between January 13–16 and 20–23, and February 17–22, 1969, was a consequence of the success of Presley's 1968 Christmas television special and its soundtrack, and marked the definite return of Presley to non-soundtrack albums, after finishing his movie contract with Paramount Pictures. Motivated by his early influences in country, rhythm and blues, gospel and soul, the latest music trend in Memphis, Presley chose to record his next songs at the American Sound Studio, directed by music producer Chips Moman. Nearly half of the recordings from the sessions were not released on this album, but were instead released on the double album From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis in October 1969.

The album peaked at number 13 on the Billboard 200, number two on the country chart, and number one in United Kingdom.[5] In the United States the album was certified Gold on January 28, 1970 by the Recording Industry Association of America.[6] In 2003, the album was ranked number 190 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[7]


The success of the Christmas television special and its attendant LP the previous year re-established Presley as a force in American popular music, after being lost for years in the 1960s making films that little represented his true interests or capabilities.[8] It was during the making of that special that he remarked to its producer Steve Binder that he would "never sing another song that I don't believe in, I'm never going to make another movie that I don't believe in."[9] Presley would never again make another musical-comedy-travelogue of the Blue Hawaii / Clambake formula, and decided rather than his usual crew of musicians in his usual settings of Radio Recorders in Hollywood, California or RCA Studio B in Nashville, Tennessee, to do his new album back home in Memphis.[10]

During the 1940s and 1950s, Memphis thrived as a center for both blues and gospel.[11] In the fourteen years since Presley last recorded in Memphis for Sun Records, the town had evolved into a nexus for the strain of music forged as a fusion of those two influences, soul music, the home of Stax Records, Hi Records, and American Sound Studio. Made aware of the latter studio by Memphis Mafia regular Marty Lacker, Presley chose American Sound, started by songwriter and session guitarist Chips Moman, who had assembled a group of house session musicians well-versed in the same kinds of music familiar to Presley: blues, gospel, country, and soul.[11]

For a time, the usual publishing disputes came to the fore, Freddy Bienstock attempting to gain control of "Suspicious Minds" away from Moman, and Felton Jarvis telling Moman that there would be no producer credit and subsequent royalties, just like on any other Presley LP.[12] To the latter, Moman responded to Presley's management and company representatives with "don't ever come back to this studio again," and to the former, Presley himself put his foot down, announcing that he wouldn't let publishing disputes interfere with recording a song he liked.[12] Presley recorded songs regardless of publishing income for these sessions, but he never did return again to American Sound.


Beginning with his American Sound recordings, soul music became a central element in Presley's fusion of styles. Here, in the opening track of side two, he revels in lyrics full of sexual innuendo.[13]

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Many of the songs recorded at American by Presley derived from the country and western repertoire, such as the 1962 hit "It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin'" by Johnny Tillotson, Hank Snow's 1950 number one country hit, "I'm Movin' On," Eddy Arnold's 1947 song, "I'll Hold You in My Heart", and even the more modern, late 1960s country approach in "Gentle On My Mind" found a place.[14] By including these songs, along with contemporary soul such as Jerry Butler's recent "Only the Strong Survive," like Ray Charles earlier in the decade with Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Presley reinforced the musical links between country and rhythm and blues.

For the single, Chuck Jackson had sung the original Top 40 version of the b-side "Any Day Now" by Burt Bacharach in 1962, and future country singer Mac Davis provided "In the Ghetto", Presley's stab at a message or protest song aligned with the times. Released as the lead single on April 14,[1] two months before the album hit the stores, it went to number three on the singles chart, his first top ten single since "Crying in the Chapel" in 1965.[15] This album by Presley would be one of American Sound Studio's most famous products, along with Dusty Springfield's Dusty in Memphis, which was released on January 13, 1969—during these sessions with Presley.


On May 16, 2000, RCA reissued the album remastered for compact disc including six bonus tracks released as either a- or b-sides recorded at the same sessions for the album. "Don't Cry Daddy", also by Davis, and "Kentucky Rain" were both sizeable hits in 1970, but "Suspicious Minds" became one of Presley's signature tunes, and gave him the final chart-topper of his career as the decade came to a close.[16]

On July 28, 2009, Sony Music Entertainment issued a Legacy/RCA Edition of the album for its 40th anniversary, two discs containing the entirety of From Elvis In Memphis and the studio disk of From Memphis To Vegas/From Vegas To Memphis, along with four outtakes and ten tracks originally issued as singles in mono, "Suspicious Minds" and "Kentucky Rain" included. This reissue edition entered the Billboard Comprehensive album chart at number 155, and landed inside the top ten in both the Top Pop Catalog Albums and Country Catalog charts.

Critical reception[edit]

From Elvis in Memphis has received several positive review from critics. Bruce Eder of Allmusic thought that this album and his 1956 debut album were his best albums.[2] James Hunter, in his for Rolling Stone, felt that the album was composed of several contrasting characteristics but that the Memphis recording method made it all come together.[3] Sputnikmusic's Dave Donnelly felt that the reason the album was so great was that Elvis believed in the songs and said that it was his best album in fifteen years.[4] All of the above review were rated five out of five.[2][3][4]


Track listing[edit]

Original release[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Recording date Length
1. "Wearin' That Loved On Look"   Dallas Frazier, A.L. Owens January 13, 1969 2:46
2. "Only the Strong Survive"   Jerry Butler, Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff February 19, 1969 2:42
3. "I'll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms)"   Eddy Arnold, Thomas Dilbeck, Vaughan Horton January 22, 1969 4:34
4. "Long Black Limousine"   Bobby George, Vern Stovall January 13, 1969 3:38
5. "It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin'"   Johnny Tillotson February 20, 1969 2:36
6. "I'm Movin' On"   Hank Snow January 14, 1969 2:43
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Recording date Length
1. "Power of My Love"   Bernie Baum, Bill Giant, Florence Kaye February 18, 1969 2:36
2. "Gentle on My Mind"   John Hartford January 14, 1969 3:21
3. "After Loving You"   Janet Lantz, Eddie Miller February 18, 1969 3:05
4. "True Love Travels on a Gravel Road"   Dallas Frazier, A.L. Owens February 17, 1969 2:38
5. "Any Day Now"   Burt Bacharach, Bob Hilliard February 20, 1969 2:59
6. "In the Ghetto"   Mac Davis January 20, 1969 2:45

1998 CD reissue[edit]

2008 CD reissue[edit]


Chart Peak
Australian Albums Chart[17] 5
Canadian Top 50 Albums[18] 10
French Top Albums[19] 9
German Albums Chart[20] 14
Netherlands Top 100 Albums[21] 10
Norwegian Top 40 Albums[22] 1
UK Albums Chart[23] 1
US Billboard 200[24] 13
US Country Albums[24] 2
Belgium (Wallonia) 100 Albums[25] 77
US Top Pop Catalog Albums[26] 29
Preceded by
Stand Up by Jethro Tull
UK Albums Chart number-one album
30 August 1969 - 6 September 1969
Succeeded by
Stand Up by Jethro Tull

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format Catalog
North America June 1969 RCA Victor stereo LP LSP-4155
Stereo 8 P8S-1456
United Kingdom June 1969 RCA Victor stereo LP SF 8029
North America December 1970 RCA Victor Quadraphonic 8-track PQ8-1456
Various May 16, 2000 RCA Records CD 07863 67932 2
Worldwide reissue July 28, 2009 RCA Records/Legacy Recordings double CD 88697 51497 2


  1. ^ a b ELV1S: 30 #1 Hits (CD liner). Elvis Presley. RCA Records. 2002. pp. 15, 16. 68079-2. 
  2. ^ a b c Eder, Bruce. "Review: From Elvis in Memphis – Elvis Presley". Allmusic. United States: Rovi Corporation. Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c Hunter, James (July 10, 2001). "Review: From Elvis in Memphis (Reissue) by Elvis Presley". Rolling Stone (Jann S. Wenner). Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c Donnelly, Dave (July 27, 2006). "Elvis Presley: From Elvis in Memphis'". Sputnikmusic. 
  5. ^ Sources:
    • "Pop Albums". Elvis Presley: The Official Site of the King of Rock 'n' Roll. 2013. Retrieved May 25, 2013. 
    • "From Elvis in Memphis". Allmusic. Rovi Corp. 2013. Retrieved May 25, 2013. 
    • Mawer, Sharon (2007). "1969". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved May 25, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Searchable database". RIAA. Recording Industry Association of America. 2013. Retrieved May 25, 2013.  Note: Enter search for "From Elvis in Memphis"
  7. ^ "From Elvis in Memphis". 500 Greatest Alums of All Time. Rolling Stone. 2013. Retrieved May 25, 2013. 
  8. ^ Jorgensen, Ernst. Elvis Presley A Life in Music: The Complete Recording Sessions. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998; pp. 201, 263.
  9. ^ Guralnick, Peter. From Nashville to Memphis: The Essential 60's Masters. RCA 66160-2, 1993, liner notes pp. 38-40.
  10. ^ Jorgensen, op. cit., p. 263.
  11. ^ a b Wolfe, Charles. Amazing Grace: His Greatest Sacred Performances. RCA 66421-2, 1994, liner notes, p. 8.
  12. ^ a b Jorgensen, op. cit., pp. 273, 281.
  13. ^ Jorgensen 1998, p. 277.
  14. ^ Jorgensen, op. cit., pp. 265, 275.
  15. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2010). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (9th ed.). Billboard Books. p. 521. ISBN 978-0-8230-8554-5. 
  16. ^ Jorgensen, op. cit., pp. 416-419.
  17. ^ Kent, David (2005). Australian Chart Book 1940–1969. Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-44439-5. 
  18. ^ "LP Chart". RPM 11 (21). July 21, 2009. ISSN 0315-5994. Retrieved August 17, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Le Détail des Albums de chaque Artiste". InfoDisc (in French).  Find "Elvis PRESLEY" on the drop-down menu to see statistics.
  20. ^ "Album – Elvis Presley, From Elvis in Memphis" (ASP). (in German). Media Control. Retrieved August 17, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Elvis Presley – From Elvis in Memphis (Album)" (ASP). Dutch Charts (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved August 17, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Elvis Presley – From Elvis in Memphis (Album)" (ASP). Norwegian Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved August 17, 2011. 
  23. ^ "All the Number One Albums: 1969". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 17, 2011. 
  24. ^ a b "Elvis Presley: Charts & Awards – Billboard Albums". Allmusic. United States: Rovi Corporation. Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Elvis Presley – From Elvis in Memphis (Album)" (ASP). Ultratop (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
  26. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc (August 15, 2009). "Albums: Top Pop Catalog". Billboard 121 (32): 40. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved August 18, 2011. 

External links[edit]