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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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