Nov 04

ELVIS PRESLEY – “(You’re The) Devil In Disguise”

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#154, 3rd August 1963

A song which hinges entirely on its formal cuteness – pert pluckings for the ‘angel’ sections, breakneck rock’n’roll for the ‘devil’ bits. Compared to the cruder thump of the Mersey sound even the speedy bits are still a little restrained but essentially the conceit works and “Devil In Disguise” ends up one of Elvis’ more successful 60s hits. Slow/fast breakdowns in a pop song are a low, manipulative trick – but hardly ever an ineffective one. Good handclaps, too.



  1. 1
    larry.kooper on 11 Jun 2010 #

    For me, memorable for its use in Kenneth Anger’s film “Scorpio Rising.”

  2. 2
    Jimmy the Swede on 28 Feb 2013 #

    This was number one when the Great Train Robbery was committed very nearly 50 years ago now. I think it’s an appropriate place to, if not pay tribute, then a least to say goodbye to Bruce Reynolds, who has passed away aged 81. Bruce was the acknowledged mastermind of the robbery, which outraged a still stuffy society and drove a further nail into the coffin of the Macmillan government. I am not in the business of praising Bruce (nor indeed of burying him) but I should like to point out that his life may well have taken a much more useful (if less exciting) turn had he utilised his considerable intelligence into other fields other than crime. Teaching, for example. I exchanged letters with him after having read his autobiography back in in 1995 and encouraged him in his then ambitions to be a writer. He later acknowledged his regret in going down the path he had taken but notably never regretted the train robbery, which he constantly referred to as his “El Dorado”. The one great minus point, of course, surrouding the robbery concerned the assault on the driver Jack Mills. The supreme irony of this was that the perpetrator of this admittedly brutal act was a gang member who was never caught. He was brought in on the business late in the day by one of Reynold’s chief associates and is, I believe, still alive. It should be pointed out that the gang members who were convicted at the main trial may well have benefitted from identifying the culprit of the assault but not one of them did. They received 30 year sentences, principally on the back of the attack on Mr Mills.

    I hope Bruce Reynolds rests in peace. Never an evil man, but certainly a misguided and foolish one. There are not too many domestic Premiership footballers with a brain in their head. Similarly, there are not too many major robbers who avidly read Hemmingway. Had the wind changed at a crucial time, Bruce may well have been remembered for something far more laudable than robbing a train in the middle of Buckinghamshire in the 1960s.

  3. 3
    hectorthebat on 13 Mar 2014 #

    Critic watch:

    Bruce Pollock (USA) – The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000 (2005)
    Peter Holmes, The Sun-Herald (Australia) – 100 Best Songs of All Time (2003) 77

  4. 4
    lonepilgrim on 28 Jan 2015 #

    for all that I’ve been impressed by The Beatles’ rawness and energy I have to say that I’m very taken by this song. The studio musicians are able to put their skills to good use here. The drumming on the fast sections sounds absurdly complex and puts me in mind of some Drum and Bass The song is meticulously put together and Elvis slips confidently from croon to roar alongside the music.

  5. 5
    Gareth Parker on 2 Jun 2021 #

    Agree with Tom and Lonepilgrim’s observations. I would push up to a 7/10 here.

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