Look! It’s Elvis!

The boogie-woogie piano forming this song’s undercarriage sounds so generic to me* that I get the best results from listening to it like a riddim, a bolt-on beat for Presley to freestyle over. Helpfully, that way of hearing it also draws full attention to Elvis’ voice.

By this time Presley was already a superstar in the UK, he’d just not gone to #1 yet. Why did “All Shook Up” manage it? Because nobody had sung the word “love” like Elvis does here – half thrusting, half swallowing, with that half-breath after it acting like a full stop. Politely carnal, respectfully smouldering – “I’m proud to say she?s my buttercup” – and as passionately humble as an ideal 50s man should be, Elvis-love seems as natural here as the histories tell you it was. Plus for the UK there was an exotic element – what, pray tell, was a “fuzzy tree”? (I should save this for his ’58 hits, but I wonder if Elvis joining the army actually made him sexier for UK fans? The oversexed over-here US G.I. had had a generation to seep into folk memory, after all.) .

*(with one exception: that occasional drumbeat, which sounds like a plimsoll hitting a tabletop. Cool!)

Score: 7

[Logged in users can award their own score]