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Elvis Presley‘s “Trouble” was a little bit of a joke except when Elvis sang it during the ’68 Comeback Special. One of the writers who wrote the song was shocked by how much power he brought to the track. Elvis incorporated the tune into a medley and knocked it out of the park.

Elvis Presley’s ‘Trouble’ has a connection to Ben E. King’s ‘Stand By Me’

Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were one of the most important songwriting duos from the 1950s and early 1960s. They penned Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me,” The Clovers’ “Love Potion No. 9,” and The Coasters’ “Yakety Yak.” Some of the hits they wrote for Elvis included “Jailhouse Rock,” “Hound Dog,” and “Bossa Nova Baby.” During a 2006 interview with Elvis Information Network, Leiber was a big fan of how Elvis performed “Trouble” during a famous television appearance.

“I especially liked ‘Trouble’ and I loved the way he [did] it in the comeback special,” he said. “He brought a menace to that song. I mean, if you’re for trouble, you’re gonna get your brains knocked out. That kind of menacing thing was natural for him He had different degrees, different variations and different permutations of potential danger. Just the look on his face from time to time was, ‘Watch out!’ I think the little girls really loved that.”

Elvis Presley brilliantly combined the track with ‘Guitar Man’

Who knows how little girls reacted to the ’68 Comeback Special? Regardless, Leiber had a point. The original version of “Trouble” has a chewy machismo to it. When Elvis performed the song on television, he played it dead serious. The tune wasn’t just a fun pop song anymore, it was a threat. The lyrics “If you’re looking for trouble / You came to the right place / If you’re looking for trouble / Just look right in my face” never had more bite.

During the special, “Trouble” segues into “Guitar Man,” which is another serious song. Bringing the two together sent out a major message. Elvis was no longer the kitschy singer who gave us “Rock-A-Hula Baby” and “Do the Clam.” He’s the dangerous, sexy icon who shocked America in the 1950s. “Guitar Man” also spread the message that Elvis was a musician a real musician rather than a studio puppet. That medley alone would be enough to make the ’68 Comeback Special an incredible experience.


Why Elvis Presley’s Songwriters Didn’t Like His Version of ‘Hound Dog’

‘Trouble’ appeared on an awesome album

“Trouble” appeared on the compilation Elvis: 2nd to None, a truly amazing compilation that shows Elvis really was second to none (except maybe The Beatles). That record reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for sixteen weeks. Elvis: 2nd to None wasn’t a huge hit, but it wasn’t a flop either.

If you are an Elvis, fan, even a casual Elvis, fan, go and do yourself a favor and listen to that record all the way through. It does a great job capturing every side of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, from his early years to his stardom to his goofy novelty era to his comeback in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It’s essential listening for rock fans who want more than just the big hits.

“Trouble” is a stone-cold classic that appeared on an awesome record.