COVER vs ORIGINAL: ‘Suspicious Minds’

The song, “Suspicious Minds”, was originally recorded by Mark James in 1968

“Suspicious Minds” is a song written by American songwriter Mark James (b.1940), which he recorded as a Country ballad in 1968, although the track was not well received and failed to make an impression with anyone at all.

However, help was on the way as one fan of the song was producer Lincoln ‘Chips’ Moman (1937-2016), who was good friends with Elvis and played the song to ‘The King’, who instantly fell in love with it. It was recorded as part of his “Elvis In Memphis” sessions and released as a single in August the following year. “Suspicious Minds” took Elvis to the top of the charts, selling more than four million copies and was seen as his ‘comeback’ hit after three years of less favourable releases.

“Suspicious Minds” has been covered numerous times since, including Dionne Warwick’s sister, Dee Dee in 1970, Judy Cheeks in 1973 and Candi Staton in 1982. The first big hit version came from UK group Fine Young Cannibals in 1985. The song was released as a single in January 1986 and peaked at No.8 in the UK and No.23 on the US dance chart as well as being a modest hit across mainland Europe.

In 2002, UK Pop Idol runner up Gareth Gates recorded the song as a double A side along with “The Long And Winding Road”, performed with winner Will Young. This version went to No.1 in the UK for two weeks in September 2002 (Elvis’ version had peaked at No.2 in the UK).

But which version is the best? MARK JAMES’ original, ELVIS’ smash hit, FINE YOUNG CANNIBALS cover or GARETH’s runner up?

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So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!