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Overview: “Guitar Man” is a classic song performed by the legendary Elvis Presley. It was originally recorded in 1967 for the soundtrack of the movie “Clambake.” The song showcases Elvis’s distinctive vocal style and his love for rock and roll. “Guitar Man” tells the story of a talented musician who finds solace and purpose in playing his guitar, ultimately reflecting Elvis’s own passion for music.
Composition and Lyrics: The song was written by Jerry Reed, a renowned country and rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Jerry Reed’s composition features a catchy melody and a foot-tapping rhythm, combining elements of rock, country, and blues. The lyrics describe the life of a traveling musician who faces the ups and downs of his career but remains committed to his music. The refrain “I’m just a guitar man, my mind is on the one-night stands” resonates with the struggles and joys experienced by musicians on the road.
Recording and Legacy: Elvis Presley’s rendition of “Guitar Man” is notable for its energetic and dynamic performance. His charismatic vocals are accompanied by a tight backing band that includes electric guitar, drums, and horns, which give the song a lively and upbeat feel.
The song’s enduring appeal has made it a favorite among Elvis Presley’s fans. It has been covered by various artists over the years, showcasing its lasting impact on the music industry. “Guitar Man” remains a staple in Elvis Presley’s discography and is often remembered as one of his memorable rock and roll tracks.
Notable Performances: Elvis Presley performed “Guitar Man” during his famous ’68 Comeback Special. This electrifying live performance further solidified the song’s place in his repertoire and demonstrated his enduring stage presence.
Conclusion: “Guitar Man” by Elvis Presley is a timeless classic that exemplifies his versatility as a musician. With its catchy melody, relatable lyrics, and Elvis’s charismatic delivery, the song continues to be celebrated by music enthusiasts and serves as a reminder of the enduring legacy of the King of Rock and Roll.
(from “Elvis (NBC TV Special)” soundtrack)
Left my mama a goodbye note,
By sundown I’d left Kingston,
With my guitar under my coat,
I hitchhiked all the way down to Memphis,
Got a room at the YMCA,
For the next three weeks I went huntin’ them nights,
Just lookin’ for a place to play,
Well, I thought my pickin’ would set ’em on fire,
But nobody wanted to hire a guitar man.
Well, I nearly ’bout starved to death down in Memphis,
I run outta money and luck,
So I bought me a ride down to Macon, Georgia,
On a overloaded poultry truck,
I thumbed on down to Panama City,
Started pickin’ out some o’ them all night bars,
Hopin’ I could make myself a dollar,
Makin’ music on my guitar,
I got the same old story at them all night piers,
There ain’t no room around here for a guitar man
We don’t need a guitar man, son
So I slept in the hobo jungles,
Roamed a thousand miles of track,
Till I found myself in Mobile Alabama,
At a club they call Big Jack’s,
A little four-piece band was jammin’,
So I took my guitar and I sat in,
I showed ’em what a band would sound like,
With a swingin’ little guitar man.
Show ’em, son
If you ever take a trip down to the ocean,
Find yourself down around Mobile,
Make it on out to a club called Jack’s,
If you got a little time to kill,
Just follow that crowd of people,
You’ll wind up out on his dance floor,
Diggin’ the finest little five-piece group,
Up and down the Gulf of Mexico,
Guess who’s leadin’ that five-piece band,
Well, wouldn’t ya know, it’s that swingin’ little guitar man.
[The TV-special verse:]
Well, I came a long way from the carwash,
Got to where I said I’d get
Now that I’m here I know for sure
I really ain’t got there yet
Think I’ll start all over
Swing my guitar over my back
I’m gonna get myself back on the track
I’ll never, never ever look back
I’ll never be more than what I am
Wouldn’t you know
I’ m a swinging little Guitar man