Suspicious Minds

Album: Elvis' 30 #1 Hits (1969)
Charted: 2 1
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  • In this song, the trust is gone, replaced with a toxic suspicion that is making the couple miserable. The song is sung from the guy's perspective; seems he's been accused of cheating, and his partner doesn't believe a word he says. He turns the tables, telling her that her suspicions are killing him, and asking for a fresh start so they can build their dreams. It's not clear if he's really been unfaithful or if he's been wrongly accused.
  • "Suspicious Minds" was written by a Memphis singer named Mark James, who also wrote the B.J. Thomas hit "Hooked On A Feeling." James recorded the original version in 1968, but it went nowhere.

    Elvis heard the song at Chips Moman's American Sound Studio in Memphis, where he came to record as a change of pace from Nashville; it was his first time recording in Memphis since 1955. Donna Jean Godchaux, who sang backup on James' original and also on Elvis' recording, told Songfacts: "Elvis was in the studio at American Sound in Memphis, and our friend Mark James, who wrote 'Suspicious Minds,' had an office there. Elvis walked by Mark's office and Mark was playing the demo that we had done - we had done the background vocals on his version of 'Suspicious Minds.' Elvis walked in and said, 'I want that song and I want those girls.'"

    The other backup singers were Jeanie Greene, and the sisters Mary and Ginger Holliday. They also sang on "In The Ghetto."
  • This was a big comeback song for Elvis, who hadn't had a US #1 hit since "Good Luck Charm" in 1962. He had been making a series of unexceptional movies, and his music had lost its luster. "Suspicious Minds" brought him back to #1 in November 1969, and he was off and running, launching a tour in 1970 (his first in nine years) and becoming a star attraction in Las Vegas. It ended up being his last #1 hit in his lifetime, but his releases started charting a lot higher than his mid-'60s output.
  • Elvis recorded this from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. in the morning on September 23, 1969 during the landmark Memphis sessions that helped Elvis reclaim his title of "The King."
  • Elvis' publishing company, along with his manager, Col. Tom Parker, tried to get their usual cut of the royalties from this song and threatened to stop the recording if they didn't. But the song's writer, Mark James, held firm, and Elvis insisted on recording the song anyway. Most songwriters gave in to this demand because sharing the publishing on a song Elvis recorded was much more lucrative than not having him record it at all.
  • Artists to cover this song include Dwight Yoakam, Waylon Jennings, The Heptones, Candi Staton (#31 UK), B.J. Thomas and even The Fine Young Cannibals, whose 1985 version not only hit #8 in the UK, but was bizarrely referenced on the American TV show Psych, when Shawn tells his partner Gus: "Don't be Fine Young Cannibals cover of 'Suspicious Minds.' We're going to find her."
  • In the UK, Elvis had a hit with this song three times. First in 1969 when it was originally released; then in 2001 when a live version recorded at The International Hotel, Las Vegas, in August 1970 was issued and went to #15; then in 2007 when it was re-issued to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Elvis' death, going to #11.
  • According to Elvis' good friend Marty Lacker, who convinced him to record in Memphis with Chips Moman, the song's fake ending was a result of tampering by Elvis' longtime producer Felton Jarvis. "When Chips cut 'Suspicious Minds' and mixed it, the fade and bump at the end was not there," Lacker told Goldmine magazine. "In other words, the song fades out and then it bumps up again. It's that part where Elvis is just repeating and repeating the last chorus. In my opinion, it might be good for the stage, a dramatic thing, but it's not good on a record. What happened was Felton Jarvis took the master to Nashville and started fooling with it thinking he could do better. And he couldn't. He should have left it alone. He added background voices. The voices that Chips put on in Memphis, Mary Green and all those people, they're fantastic southern sounding R&B-ish singers. Chips used them on a lot of the hits he had."
  • Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter first covered this in 1970 and landed at #25 on the country chart. Their version was re-released to promote the 1976 album Wanted! The Outlaws, the first country album certified Platinum, with more than a million records sold. This time, the single peaked at #2 and earned the couple a Grammy nomination for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
  • Dennis Quaid and Elizabeth Mitchell dance to this in the 2000 sci-fi drama Frequency.

    It was also used in these movies:

    Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
    Bad Faith (2006)
    Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
    Lilo & Stitch (2002)
    Black Hawk Down (2001)
    Honeymoon in Vegas (1992)
    Someone to Watch Over Me (1987)
    Breathless (1983)

    And in these TV shows:

    The Sopranos ("The Second Coming" - 2007)
    Perfect Strangers ("The 'King' and I" - 1989)
    Full House ("Mad Money" - 1988)
  • This song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
  • Country singer Morgan Wade covered the song for the deluxe edition of her debut album, Reckless. A longtime Elvis obsessive, Wade played "Suspicious Minds" every night during her three-month tour in 2021. People kept asking her if she planned to record it, and her label CEO Randy Goodman told her she needed to lay it down. "A lot of people wanted it, and that is really what this deluxe is," she said to Billboard. "Giving people that supported the original Reckless what they want."

    Wade and producer Sadler Vaden introduce vocoder "answer" vocals and a baroque choral arrangement for the chorus. "There was just something about 'Suspicious Minds' that I felt we could change it up a little bit and make it our own," Wade said. "I felt like it kind of fits with what I'm doing."
  • This serves as one of the theme songs that runs throughout the 2022 Baz Luhrmann biopic, Elvis. The movie features versions by Austin Butler, who plays the title role, along with Presley's rendition and a contemporary version by Paravi, an Indian-American singer from Los Angeles.

    Luhrmann weighed in on the tune's significance in the film and how he connected Paravi, saying:

    "You come to the point in a movie where you've used a theme song in so many different ways. And one of the great themes in this movie is Elvis' 'Suspicious Minds.' I mean, it's used as a song on stage, but it's also used to comment on this relationship between the Colonel and Elvis, when the Colonel is kind of signing Elvis' life away.

    But we used it a lot with Elvis' voice, and then we wanted to show right at the end, time passes, and I think we needed a voice from now - a young voice, an unexpected voice. And actually it just came to me, this version was given to me by this young singer called Paravi, and Paravi's voice just seemed so of now and it showed how this song could be totally in the moment and a classic at the same time."

Comments: 50

  • Kenny From Fairfield from IowaThank you for the history on this song. 16-year old Angelina Jordan just came out with her own slower version of this classic song before the release of Baz Luhrmann's film, Elvis. Rob Christie of Republic Records arranged and accompanied her on piano. It's amazing!
  • Armin from Dallas/fort WorthThis song has an Elvis-Grateful Dead connection: Donna Jean Godchaux sang backup on it and later, with her husband Keith, joined the Grateful Dead.
  • Shae76 from TorontoI love the false fadeout. It's amazing live and on audio. It's that build to the song and Elvis liked repeating lines over and over to build an ending. Quiet, then loud, slow, then fast. It grabs people's attention and so goes the build to climax the song. Perfection!
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1976 {June 28th} "Suspicious Minds" by Waylon and Jessi peaked at #2 {for 1 week} on Billboard's Hot Country Singles* chart, and for the week it was at #2, the #1 record for that week was "All These Thing" by Joe Stampley...
    "Suspicious Minds" also reached #2 on the Canadian RPM Country Singles chart...
    Waylon and Jessi's "Suspicious Minds" first charted six years earlier when it reached #25 {for 2 weeks} on December 13th, 1970 on the Hot Country Singles chart...
    The duo had three other charted records, "Under Your Spell" {#39 in 1971}, "Storms Never Last" {#17 in 1981}, and "The Wild Side of Life"/"It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" {#10 in 1981}...
    Waylon Arnold Jennings passed away at the age of 64 on February 13th, 2002 and Jessi Colter, born Mirriam Johnson, celebrated her 77th birthday last month on May 25th, 2020...
    May Waylon R.I.P.
    * And from the 'For What It's Worth' department, the remainder of the Hot Country Singles' Top 10 on June 28th, 1976:
    At #3. "The Door Is Always Open" by Dave and Sugar
    #4. "El Paso City" by Marty Robbins
    #5. "Stranger" by Johnny Duncan
    #6. "Home Made Love" by Tom Bresh
    #7. "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby" by Sonny James
    #8. "I'll Get Over You" by Crystal Gayle
    #9. "Vaya Con Dios" by Freddy Fender
    #10. "Here Comes The Freedom Train" by Merle Haggard
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1969 {October 26th} Elvis' "Suspicious Minds" peaked at #1 {for 1 week} on Billboard's Top 100 chart, it was the last of his eighteen #1 records, plus he had five more that peaked at #2...
    And the rest of the Top 10 on October 26th, 1969 was:
    At #2. "Wedding Bells Blues" by The 5th Dimension
    #3. "Sugar, Sugar" by The Archies
    #4. "I Can't Get Next To you" by The Temptations
    #5. "Baby It's You" by Smith
    #6. "Hot Fun In The Summertime" by Sly and the Family Stone
    #7. "Little Woman" by Bobby Sherman
    #8. "Jean" by Oliver
    #9. "Tracy" by The Cuff Links
    #10. "Come Together" by The Beatles
    And from the 'For What It's Worth' department; exactly thirteen years earlier on October 26th, 1956, Elvis' "Hound Dog" peaked at #2 {for 1 week} on the United Kingdom's Official Singles chart, it was the second of his seventeen records to peak at #2 in the U.K., and the week that "Hound Dog" was at #2, the #1 record for that week was "A Woman In Love" by Frankie Laine...
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyGuitarist Reggie Young passed away on January 17th, 2019 in Davidson County, Tennessee at the age of 82...
    Mr. Young appeared on three Top 10* records by Elvis; "In The Ghetto" {#3 in 1969}, "Suspicious Minds" {#1 for 1 week in 1969}, and "Don't Cry Daddy" {#6 in 1970}...
    He was an original member of Bill Black's Combo; and played on another Top 10 record, the Combo's "White Silver Sands", {#9 in 1960}...
    May he R.I.P.
    * He just missed being on a fifth Top 10 record when Bill Black's Combo's instrumental version of Elvis' "Don't Be Cruel" peaked at #11 {for 1 week} on November 7th, 1960...
  • Don from Sevierville, TnIn reply to Matthew from Toronto, Mark James and Frances Zambon are the same person. Frances Zambon was his birth name, and Mark James is his pen name.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 3rd 1969, Elvis' 30th feature film, "The Trouble With Girls"*, opened in theaters across the U.S.A. and Canada...
    At the time he didn't have a record on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; but four days later on September 7th his 18th and final #1 record, "Suspicious Minds", entered the chart at #77, seven weeks later on October 26th it peaked at #1 {for 1 week} and it stayed on the chart for 15 weeks...
    * In the movie "The Trouble With Girls", baseball Hall of Famer Duke Snider portrayed a character known as 'The Cranker'.
  • Doug from Bristol, MeGerhard from Austria, check out what Bridgett from Ft. Worth wrote. Bridgett, I know you're not lying: Wikipedia has an entry about Mark James, who was born in 1940. He also wrote "You Were Always on My Mind," and won awards for Willy Nelson's cover of it. His song "Sunday Sunrise" was a top ten hit for Brenda Lee in 1973, and Anne Murray covered it in 1975. B.J. Thomas was a childhood friend of Mark's, and "Hooked on a Feeling" is one of Mark's songs that B.J. did. Elvis did some of Mark's other songs, including "Moody Blue," The title cut of Elvis' last studio album.
    If his record label had promoted his version more, Mark might have had a bigger hit with the original release of "Suspicious Minds."
  • Coy from Palestine, TxThis song was recorded by BJ Thomas as an album cut before Elvis recorded it. Mark James and Thomas were old friends from Houston and James wrote many hits for Thomas. Elvis is credited as recording it first, but that is not correct.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyIn Australia the last week of December was very lucky for the Beatles...
    The last week of December 1963 "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was at #1...
    In 1964 it was "I Feel Fine"...
    And in 1968 "Hey Jude" was at #1...
    Then in 1969 they missed by one week; Elvis' "Suspicious Minds" was #1 during the last week of December that year ("Something" was #1 the week before)...
    The Beatles disbanded in 1970 but during the last week of December 1972 "Imagine" by John Lennon was #1...
    R.I.P. to John, George, and Elvis.
  • Matthew from Toronto, OnMy favourite part of this song has always been the false fadeout at the end, followed by a fade-in. When I first heard that on the radio, I was mesmerized. Lots of songs had false endings: Monday, Monday; Do You Love Me; Good Lovin', etc. But they weren't done like this. Strangely, a lot of CD versions don't contain this feature. By the way, this song is written by Francis Zambon [aka. Mark James], who was also responsible for B.J. Thomas's "Hooked on a Feeling"; the 2 songs are noticeably similar when you hear them back to back.
  • Monica from Sa , TxThis has always been one of my ALL time favorite songs but lately it also seems o be the theme song to my marriage. Boo. O well. FYC's version is nice but nothing like The King to really drive it home <3

  • Meocyber from Alma, Co Anyone that inspired John Lennon and Paul McCartney has gotta be "The King". This is a top 3 Elvis song for me. You can just hear the anguish and hurt about his cheatin' woman. Easily the best vocals from him in 4 or 5 years. Just the usual superb background vocals and instrument arrangements. Nice , nice song! FYC did a nice version too.
  • Jack from Brookline, MaAnyone who actually takes the time to post on here that the 2-3 hit group The Fine Young Cannibals' version of this amazing song is BETTER than the King's version has to just be an Elvis hater...The FYC have NO soul in their music/sound compared to Elvis..especially when the bridge part of the song totally alters the tempo of the song..I love that part and then it goes right back into the driving rhythm again..Only Elvis could do that as flawlessly as he most always does! There will never be another music artist who will be bigger than Elvis
  • Camille from Toronto, OhNot a big fan of Elvis but have come to appreciate more of his music as I get older; however, this is one that I always have and always will when turned up loud on the car stereo when you're driving by yourself!
  • Christian from San Pedro, CaMy #2 favorite Elvis song (second only to "Burning Love"). Question: who are Elvis's backup singers on the original studio recording? I realize the Sweet Inspirations are backing him up in the live versions, but is this also true of the studio version? Thanks in advance for the info.
  • Johnnys Cousin Steve from Villas, NjWedding song? WEDDING SONG?!?!?!!?
  • Phil from Edmonton, AbI get a kick out of people stating emphatically one version is better than another. It's all personal preference.
    This is a great song, whether it's by Elvis, FYC, or Dwight Yoakum.
  • Jack from Las Vegas, NvThis was our wedding song.
  • Steve Dotstar from Los Angeles, CaA driving rhythm, plus Elvis's karate gyrations..
    makes for a fascinating thing to watch and listen to on video tape...
  • Vingthor from Catskills, NyHey Richard, Anniston, AL....The studio recording has you can find it on any NON-LIVE album. I thought it was 4+ minute time for the song.....if you cant find it....send me an Email @ ( , & I'll hook you up!
  • Vingthor from Catskills, NyAfter the studio recording & He started doing it live..He & the band had a hard time with it. They kept going & going...they didnt have a good way to END IT! You can hear on some versions Elvis trying to end & the band already started playing it hear the band going from full speed to a crawl @ Elvis' extended "Bay-BAy ay ayyyyy".
  • Jennifer Harris from Grand Blanc, MiThis is my favorite Elvis song. FYC's version is ok. I don't know the other artist's versions.
  • Tabitha from Los Angeles, CaStrange as this may sound...this song always makes me think of me and my mother...sang from me point of view. It's one of my faves by Elvis, btw.
  • Jerry from Houston, TxThere was a choice to be made... about who was to re-record the song - Elvis,or BJ Thomas. Elvis needed the hit more...
    BJ Thomas was busy with "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" 1969
  • Richard from Anniston, AlThe 45 was actually around 7 minutes long. The chorus was repeated over and over before coming to a slow fade, followed by several seconds of silence after the face, and then slowly faded back in. I wish I could figure out if there was a "hits" album with this long version.
  • Caitlin from Upper Township, NjMy favorite Elvis song
  • Prashant from Ktm, OtherReally.....Elvis Presley was the best PERFORMER in the history of music!!!
  • Guy from Wellington, New ZealandGreat song. Elvis had such an incredible voice. I don't have much time for a lot of his earlier stuff but this is brilliant. Wish I'd seen him live. He looked like pure sex on stage -- no wonder the chicks went nuts for him.
  • Jason from Dublin, Irelandgreat song great vocal performance by elvis especially in the middle when the music lowers and he sings 'oh let our love survive'. this proves if proof was needed that elvis is one of the greatest singers this world has or ever will hear. GOD BLESS YOU ELVIS YOU'LL NEVER DIE.
  • George from Belleville, NjThis is in my opinion one of the great pop rock songs in music history.Listen closely and you'll hear a classic melody with a rough edge on the lyrics.I have read that if one song were to be chosen that defines Elvis' career it would be Suspicious Minds,and regardless what others might say,nobody can do it as good as the original.
  • Joe from Fort Meade, MdThe Fine Young Cannibals version was not much better than this, put the bong down bro. Also, get some respect for the classics.
  • David from Youngstown, OhProbably the most memorable, but not the best, song from Elvis' legendary 1969 Memphis sessions, although it's great. Those sessions also produced In the Ghetto, Kentucky Rain and Don't Cry Daddy. It also resulted in incredible Elvis songs like Wearin' That Loved On Look, Long Black Limousine, Rubberneckin', and an awesome, awesome version of Neil Diamond's And The Grass Won't Pay No Mind.

    FYC? It's not a terrible remake, but that dude's voice doesn't do it for me. The FYC singer did this live on David Letterman's show back in the late 80s. He said Elvis came to him in a dream and told him to remake this song. There are so many funny comebacks to that, but the statement itself is funny enough.
  • Miles from Vancouver, CanadaSorry, but I like the Fine Young Cannibals version better, as it has more power!
  • Jay from Atlanta, GaIn a video clip I saw, as he was going down into the splits, he sang "I hope this suit don't tear up baby" instead of "Because I love you too much baby".
  • James from Vidalia, GaThis song is best when it features that false fade (when it fades down, then comes back with "we're caught in a trap..."). I love that! The version we have at my station doesn't have that for some reason. ???
  • Bridgett from Fort Worth, TxI know this is going to sound like a lie, but I know the guy who wrote this song. His name is Francis Zambon. He thought his name was too ethnic (he's Italian), so he changed his name to Mark James. He had a band in the early days called Mark James and the Mark James Trio. My Dad was the bass player and back ground vocals for the band. Mark wrote the song about the breakup of his first marriage. Almost ever song he writes is based on a life experience. I have a lot of background on songs he has written for Elvis, Mac Davis and BJ Thomas.
  • Sigurbjörn from KeflavÃ?k, IcelandIn his final years he did not sing it anymore. Many people will say because he was fat and couldn´t handle it but the truth is he just got tired of it. You can see there is alot of difference between songs in his Vegas period and in his final two years. Both are great but differ a bit.
  • Scugie from New York City (manhattan), NyThis is The King's best track ever. One of its main ingredients is how its drummer carries it (D.J. Fontana?). Also, it's an Elvis song where those of us, and there are many, can do the "uh hungh" and "hungah hungah" accents to the lyrics.

    NY NY
  • Ross from Independence, MoThis is #91 on Rolling Stone's list of 500 greatest songs.
  • Dazza from London, Englandelvis is the king, julio you need to take a step back and listen to way it is sung. Its not a pop song. fyc have just remixed and killed a great song.
  • Cerphr from Florida, FlLOL... to bring FYC into a discussion of an Elvis classic... you are hilarious!!!
  • Steveo from Vienna, AustriaHarvey Keitel gives a nice performance of this song in the movie "Finding Graceland"
  • Gerhard from Krems, AustriaI have a songbook in which this song should be from
    Francis Zambon?? Wise Publications, Elvis 30 Hits
  • Michael from Cologne, GermanyElvis often altered the lyrics to this song in a funny way during live performances. Instead of "or dry the tears from your eyes" he sometimes sang "or dry the sweat from my eyes" because he was sweating heavily while giving his all singing this song. After the line "You know I never lied to you", he sometimes added "No, not much..."
  • Julio from Melbourne, AustraliaFine Young Cannibals version was much better
  • Brian from Paoli, InHaha for some reason I love this song.
  • William Leslie from Canberra, Australiathis song is my fav it just sounds so good
  • Keith from Cincinnati, OhOne of the funniest lines inserted by Elvis was during his live from Madison Square Garden recording. After singing the line "So if an old friend I know" he whispers low "shoves it up your nose". On live performances after that such as Aloha from Hawaii, you can see him almost snicker when he sings the line even though he doesn't add the funny line.
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