47. Elvis Presley - Burning Love

I knew this one was coming. It kept getting closer and closer and, to be honest, I was afraid of it a little bit. This is the song that'll get me called a hypocrite. In the first post, I talked about putting a lot of weight in having the performers of the songs on my list actually write the songs as well. Up until now, I kept to that ideal. But Elvis Presley didn't write "Burning Love." In fact, out of all of the songs that Elvis recorded throughout his career, Elvis wrote the music for none of them. He was a collaborator on the lyrics to three of his songs and was given a token songwriting credit for lyrics on four others (meaning he didn't really contribute, but the songwriters wanted to make sure Elvis recorded their songs, so they added his name to the writing credits). To be fair to The King, artists were presented songs to do by their record companies, who had stables of songwriters cranking out song after song. Back then either you wrote all of your songs, or you wrote none of your songs.

So yeah, I'm a hypocrite (a little), but it's ELVIS PRESLEY. He took the "rock and roll" of the many black artists that influenced him and made it "Rock N Roll," bringing it to a whole new audience. He pioneered performing on camera and made way for The Beatles and everyone after. Without Elvis, this list wouldn't exist at all, so he had to make an appearance, if nothing out of sheer respect.

Luckily for me, though, "Burning Love" isn't an honorary pick like Henry Fonda's Oscar for On Golden Pond. It's a great song that deserves to be on this list. I have to admit that it's probably higher than it would've been if it weren't Elvis, but it's EL... do I really have to break the caps out again?

"Burning Love" starts out with some simple guitar strumming, quickly joined by a rollicking, almost ragtime piano and then with a modern sounding drum fill that belies its 1972 recording with its furious complexity.  Elvis didn't record too many out-and-out rockers, but "Burning Love" is probably at the top of the list.  The bass line is all over the place, but in that good way.  I wish I could give both the drummer and bassist some well deserved props, but after a fair amount of research (ten whole minutes!), I couldn't find out who they were.  Elvis had an established backing band in his early career, but worked with a plethora of studio musicians later in his career.  Later in the song, there's a cool Hawaiian sounding guitar twang that just tickles me.  It's the little things in life, I guess.

Although many would complain that the lyrics are over the top, again I'd have to disagree.  When you have a love for someone that's so strong that you don't think your body can even contain it, these lyrics capture that feeling.  You can't think about anything else.  You may not count the minutes until you see him/her again, but you can quickly figure it out to the closest quarter-hour.  Three days, seven and a half hours.  God, she smelled so good last time.  She even laughed that laugh when I told that lame joke during dinner.  Three days, seven hours and fifteen minutes.  Hmmmmmmm......

It starts off:

Lord Almighty,
I feel my temperature rising
Higher higher
It's burning through to my soul

Given Elvis' gospel roots, that Lord Almighty isn't just a name in vain use, he really means it.  Just thinking about her gets him all riled up.  People the phrase "to my soul" way too much, but in 1972, it had a poetic touch to it that it loses in today's culture.

Elvis keeps the gospel tinge in the chorus:

Your kisses lift me higher
Like the sweet song of a choir
You light my morning sky
With burning love 

If you tell a woman that she lights your morning sky, she will swoon.  And if you're the King of Rock and Roll, she might just explode.  Even though I've been married for almost ten years, my wife Jennifer does light my morning sky.  There are times where my love for her starts to burst out of my ears and I just have to hug or kiss her right away.  Now I know I can't hold a candle to Elvis, but I think she really appreciates the gesture.  And I like that I can fell that way even a decade in to our relationship.  So as tacky as it sounds (and as self-serving, I have to admit), "Burning Love" really does remind me of my wife.  Yes indeed, I am made of cheese.  But my wife loves cheese (she's from Wisconsin and knows her cheese), so we're the perfect pair.

And one last time for you non-believers, it's ELVIS PRESLEY!  So just relax and enjoy...

This first video is the album version, but I couldn't help but find a white jumpsuit live version as well.

If only I could pull off a white jumpsuit....

(Movie Plug #17:  Speaking of Elvis, if you haven't seen Honeymoon in Vegas with Nicholas Cage and Sarah Jessica Parker, then your bucket list has an extra item on it.  Cage's performance is gloriously manic while Sarah Jessica looks really good in this movie (and she can act, too).  There are too many great lines to quote, but I have to give you this one:

Jack:  I had a STRAIGHT FLUSH!  It's like, unbeatable.

Betsy:  Like unbeatable is NOT unbeatable.

Jack:  Hey!  I know that now, okay?!!!

Trust me, watch the movie.  It's way funnier than I could possibly make it look in text.  And just to show you, here's another clip from the movie:

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