This was Elvis' biggest hit single Stateside since "Suspicious Minds
" in 1969 and his last Top 10 hit in the American Hot 100 or pop charts.
This song about the breakdown of a relationship had already featured on the self-titled 1972 album by Country-Soul pioneer Arthur Alexander. Though it had obvious hit potential, Elvis had just separated from his wife, Priscilla, and was not in the mood for a Rock n Roll number, so he wasn't keen to record it. Elvis' producer Felton Jarvis had to persuade him that the song was worth trying, and after 6 attempts, the "King of Rock and Roll" came up with an inspired take.
In addition to making the original commercial recording of a song later covered by Elvis, Arthur Alexander has the claim of being the only songwriter in history to have his songs sung by The Beatles ("Anna (Go to Him)
)"), the Rolling Stones ("You'd Better Move On") and Bob Dylan ("Sally Sue Brown").
Dennis Linde, who wrote this song and also provided the guitar intro, was reclusive by nature and was at one time tagged "Nashville's best-kept songwriting secret." Apart from "Burning Love," most of the successful songs he wrote were for Country stars, including,Roger Miller ("Tom Green County Fair" - 1970), Garth Brooks ("Callin' Baton Rouge" - 1993) and The Dixie Chicks ("Goodbye Earl" - 1999.) In Britain, Welsh Rock and Roll revivalist Shakin' Stevens recorded a #10 hit with his version of Linde's "A Letter to You" in 1984.
In 2005, an Australian woman, who was evidently not a fan of this song, stabbed her partner in the back, thigh, and shoulder with a pair of scissors because "he played the song too many times."
As part of a series of re-releases of Elvis songs in the UK in 2007 this re-entered the UK chart at #13.