Elvis started the recording session with this song, but couldn't get into the same funky groove as Jerry Reed's record. Frustrated, he sent for Reed, who was on a fishing trip. "See, I had my own tuning, and they were trying to record 'Guitar Man,' and they couldn't make it feel like my record," Reed recalled. "And I forget if it was Pete Drake or Charlie McCoy or Chip Young - one of those musicians said, 'Well, these guitar players in here are playing with straight picks, and, you know, Reed plays with his fingers.' So they called me, and I went down, and I hooked up that electric gut string, tuned the B-string up a whole tone, and I toned the low E-string down a whole tone, so I could bar straight across, and as soon as we hit the intro, you could see Elvis' eyes light up. He knew we had it."
He continued: "It was just a jamming session. I thought I was going to be so damn nervous I couldn't play, but it was right the opposite. I got pumped, and then Elvis got pumped, and the more he got pumped up, the more I did - it was like a snowball effect. To tell you the truth, I was on cloud nine. And once Elvis got the spirit, things really began to happen. When the guitars and the rhythm sounded right, I guess the guitar lick kind of reminded him of [Ray Charles'] 'What'd I Say
,' and he just sort of started testifying at the end. That was how it happened - one of those rare moments in your life you never forget."