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The Producer of Elvis Presley’s ‘Suspicious Minds’ Said His Publishing Rights Were Almost Stolen




The producer of Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds” almost wasn’t compensated properly but the situation was resolved. The tune was a huge hit.

It might surprise listeners to learn Elvis Presley‘s “Suspicious Minds” was a cover of a song by Mark James. The same producer worked on both James’ version and Elvis’ rendition. The producer revealed Elvis’ people almost didn’t compensate him properly for his work on the song. Fortunately, someone else resolved the situation.

Elvis Presley sang ‘Suspicious Minds’ late at night after playing ping-pong with a producer

Chips Moman produced both Mark James’ original version of “Suspicious Minds” and Elvis’ far more famous cover of it. During a 2017 interview with Elvis Australia, Moman said Elvis wanted to listen to “Suspicious Minds” repeatedly and he learned the track on the spot. “We finally got around to recording ‘Suspicious Minds’ after midnight,” he said. “I had a ping-pong table, and Elvis was pretty good at it. 

“He used the same arrangement on Mark’s single and most of the same American Sound studio musicians,” he added. “When we finished, Elvis’ crowd of business people standing around said they wanted half my publishing rights. I told them they were barking up the wrong tree. I accused them of stealing, they got angry, and I threatened to halt the entire session.”


Chips Moman said Elvis Presley’s version of the song has an error that doesn’t matter

Moman discussed how someone at RCA Victor resolved the situation. “Fortunately, RCA’s Harry Jenkins said, ‘This boy is right and we’re going to finish the session just the way he wants to,’” he recalled. “Jenkins sensed ‘Suspicious Minds’ was going to be big and he knew there would be plenty to go around.”

Moman worked on “Suspicious Minds” with producer Felton Jarvis. He said Jarvis added an accidental fade-out and fade-in near the end of the track. Moman felt this error didn’t matter because the track became so prominent.

How ‘Suspicious Minds’ performed in the United States and impacted pop culture

According to The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits, “Suspicious Minds” topped the Billboard Hot 100 for a single week. It was the final No. 1 single from the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. What a tune to go out on! After a years-long slump, he had returned to the top of the charts.

The tune appeared on the career-spanning compilation album Elvis: 30 #1 Hits. The compilation is an incredible run through the singer’s biggest hits, including “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Hound Dog,” “All Shook Up,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” and “Burning Love.” That record topped the Billboard 200 for three weeks, staying on the chart for 171 weeks. It remains Elvis’ most successful album on the Billboard 200, and was followed by a sequel, Elvis: 2nd to None. That record includes a lot of the great Elvis tracks that aren’t featured on Elvis: 30 #1 Hits.

“Suspicious Minds”‘s importance extended beyond its time on the charts. Country star Dwight Yoakam covered it in the 1990s. Baz Luhrmann’s film Elvis, its trailers, and its soundtrack made major use of “Suspicious Minds.” The soundtrack even features a ghostly acapella version of the song.


“Suspicious Minds” became a classic track and Moman was paid his dues for his musical genius.

Source: Cheat Sheet

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