Elvis Presley on the Set of King Creole
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Elvis Presley's 'Suspicious Minds' Was Inspired by a Real-Life Love Triangle


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When Elvis Presley returned to music full-time following his '68 Comeback Special, he needed some new songs to bring along with him, and "Suspicious Minds" fit the bill. The song became a worldwide hit for Presley, but it was inspired by someone else's life experience.

The song, released by Presley in 1969, was originally written and released by songwriter Mark James, who wrote it about his own experience in a love triangle. According to Smooth Radio, James was married to his first wife when he penned the tune, but he still had feelings for an ex-love from his youth, who was married. Unsurprisingly, James' feelings for his ex caused tension in his relationship with his wife as she began getting suspicious about his feelings. This caused him to feel as if he were "caught in a trap," which, in turn, inspired the lyrics of the song.

James recorded "Suspicious Minds" with Chips Moman at American Sound Studio in Memphis, and it was released on Sceptor Records in 1968. Unfortunately, the song did not find success on the charts. However, when Presley came to American Sound Studio later that year to record what would become his From Elvis in Memphis album, the tune found a new life. James was reportedly determined to get Presley to hear the song, and according to Songfacts, he got Presley to hear it by playing the demo, along with background vocals by future Grateful Dead member Donna Jean Godchaux, loudly in his office. 

"Elvis was in the studio at American Sound in Memphis, and our friend Mark James, who wrote 'Suspicious Minds,' had an office there," Godchaux said. "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.'"

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Presley recorded the song at American Sound Studio during an early morning session, between 4 and 7 am. The release of the song was almost stalled, however, when Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, and other businesses people demanded half of Moman's publishing cut. Moman did not give in to their demands, and despite their issuing threats of pulling the plug on the song, Presley gave Moman the go-ahead to record it.

A hallmark of the song is the 15-second fade-out that occurs at the 3:36 mark. The fade makes the listener think the song is over, but then the levels come back to full volume for the rest of the song. The fade was put in by producer Felton Jarvis, and Moman told the Wall Street Journal that Jarvis added it as a bit of a protest. Moman called the fade a "scar in the song," but it didn't stop the song from becoming a hit.

The song became a worldwide smash, landing at No. 1 in the US, Canada, Australia, Belgium and South Africa. The tune, and others Presley released around the same time, brought his music career back to life. The song is not only one of Presley's most memorable tunes, but it became the last No. 1 of his career.

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"Suspicious Minds" Lyrics

We're caught in a trap
I can't walk out
Because I love you too much, baby

Why can't you see
What you're doing to me
When you don't believe a word I say?

We can't go on together
With suspicious minds (suspicious minds)
And we can't build our dreams
On suspicious minds

So, if an old friend I know
Stops by to say hello
Would I still see suspicion in your eyes?

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Here we go again
Asking where I've been
You can't see these tears are real, and I'm crying
(Yes I'm crying)

We can't go on together
With suspicious minds (suspicious minds)
And we can't build our dreams
On suspicious minds

Oh, let our love survive
Or dry the tears from your eyes
Let's don't let a good thing die
When honey, you know I've never lied to you
Mmm yeah, yeah

We're caught in a trap
I can't walk out
Because I love you too much baby

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Why can't you see
What you're doing to me
When you don't believe a word I say?

Well don't you know, caught in a trap?
I can't walk out
Because I love you too much, baby

Don't you know I'm caught in a trap?
I can't walk out
Because I love you too much, baby

Don't you know I'm caught in a trap?
I can't walk out
Because I love you too much, baby

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Don't you know I'm caught in a trap?
I can't walk out
Because I love you too much, baby

Don't you know I'm caught in a trap?
I can't walk out
Because I love you too much, baby

Don't you know I'm caught in a trap...

Read More: Elvis Presley: The 15 Best Movies From The King of Rock n Roll

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