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Jul 04

ELVIS PRESLEY – “Surrender”

Popular6 comments • 1,834 views

#119, 3rd June 1961

For once an Elvis record isn’t scuppered by the choice of song – this nervy Latin pop is a welcome step up from the catastrophic “Wooden Heart”. Rather it’s Presley’s own performance that feels misjudged. He sings “Surrender” as if it was “It’s Now Or Never” part two – more shag-or-bust ultimatum-throwing – but the song feels more subtle than that blockbuster did, and the vibrato Elvis piles on sabotages that. He could have sung it predatory or sung it desperate: instead he tries for cod-operatic romance and the result is a hotchpotch. It’s not Elvis’ worst Number One but it’s the first where he doesn’t really sound like he’s trying.

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Comments

  1. 1
    lonepilgrim on 22 Apr 2014 #

    Elvis’ performance in this song reminds me a lot of Roy Orbison in its operatic style and staccato rhythms. It’s a strange record that sounds just as avant-garde as hit material. I like it.

  2. 2
    Tom on 22 Apr 2014 #

    Finally a comment!

  3. 3
    wichitalineman on 17 Jun 2014 #

    Yes, this was an unlikely song to have no comments at all!

    Surrender is 1961’s Velocity Girl, with all the soul-baring and chest-baring over by 1.37, when Elvis hits that high note. I’ve always found it simply too short to get involved with, though: verse, chorus, chorus, fade on apocalyptic exotica backing.

    The production sounds like a parody (not necessarily a bad thing) as does Elvis’s performance – self-consciously simpering on “won’t you please sur-render to me” at 1.17, and appearing to sing “be mine hooooooo-night” at the Lanza-esque climax. A bit like It’s Now Or Never with everything turned up, even the speed of the record, but nothing like as good.

  4. 4
    Paul I on 18 Jun 2014 #

    I love this record – especially the cod opera! It always sounded to me like Elvis doing a James Bond theme. I’m not sure it would be improved by being “better” – although a sotto version in the style of “Fever” would probably have been lovely.

  5. 5
    wichitalineman on 18 Jun 2014 #

    Good call on the James Bond-ness of the opening, can’t believe I’d never noticed. I’d always assumed John Barry had got his “inspiration” from Guy Mitchell’s prison song, 99 Years:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOdbWzW_FEI&feature=kp

  6. 6
    chrisew71 on 28 Mar 2018 #

    This always felt so rushed and tossed off to me. Given the time and effort that seemed to go into his other singles, I’m not sure why they felt the need to barrel through this one. Was there a desperate need for another single?

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