Tune du Jour: “Burning Love” – Elvis Presley
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: Kingsized vs. The Residents
Peruse, Comment and Vote (I Beseech, Implore and Urge Thee, respectively)
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Why Can't You See, I'm Just A Stalk of Broccoli Incapable of Cheatin' On You, Baby...

Why Can’t You See,
I’m Just A Stalk of Broccoli,
Incapable of Cheatin’ On You, Baby…

Burning Love was written by Dennis Linde and first released by Arthur Alexander in 1972. Alexander’s version failed to make many waves. A few months later, Elvis Presley released his killer cover of Burning Love, which quickly rose to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Chuck Berry’s My Ding-A-Ling kept Burning Love from reaching #1, thereby proving that the early 70’s just might have been the horniest period in American history. But that’s fodder for another post on a different day.

Burning Love was Elvis’ 40th and last Top Ten hit on the US charts. But if this was going to be his final real rocker then at least he left one of the best for last. I mean, c’mon, how many artists could throw down the line “I’m just a hunk-a, hunk-a burnin’ love” and pull it off with aplomb? Let’s just say you could maybe count them up on one hand after a major industrial accident, if you know what I mean…and I think you do!

The brilliance of Burnin’ Love is that it manages to meld rock with gospel, all the while soaked with raw, passionate desire. As Steve Huey of AllMusic aptly puts it:

Presley gives a supremely passionate performance that rivals his most incendiary ’50s work. The lyrics never depart from the theme of smoldering passion, but the chorus — “Your kisses lift me higher/Like the sweet song of a choir” (which happens to be backing Presley’s vocals) — imparts a gospel-ish transcendence that elevates earthly love into a spiritual experience. There are several occasions where Presley allows the music to carry him away, humming and moaning to keep the feeling going in between lyrics. Yet, while he’s larger than life, he’s never over the top — when you’ve reclaimed your title as the King of rock & roll, there’s nothing to prove, and Presley’s cool (but not complacent) assurance keeps things grounded amidst all the storm and fire. Drummer Ronnie Tutt straddles the two sensibilities well; he knows when to lay back and let the beat swing, but also when to drive the song with explosive bursts in between the vocals, and proves a major supporting player.”

A few tidbits, which may very well be true:

Writer of the song, Dennis Linde, kicks out the opening guitar jam as well as a few other licks throughout Presley’s version of Burning’ Love.

Bruce Springsteen consistently covered the song in his live shows of the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

Burning Love was used as the wake-up song on the 2008 space shuttle mission STS-123.

The Simpsons’ paid homage to the song, titling a 2001 episode “A-Hunka-Hunka Burns in Love“.

Perhaps the single greatest performance of the song was RDubbs‘ legendary and much-revered throw-down a decade or two ago at a Star Bar karaoke night.


The Original

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Arthur Alexander:

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The Most Popular

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Elvis Presley:

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THE CLASH of Cover Tunes

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Kingsized vs. The Residents

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Kingsized holds the distinction of being CMI’s Reigning Exultant Virtuosic Performer of “Burning Love”. Additionally, Kingsized is a recipient of CMI’s universally coveted title of Tri Victor Melodious Maximus in Adversarial Replication. Among the title’s myriad of rewards and benefits, perhaps most desirous is that it bestows upon the recipient the eminently yearned for privilege of having one’s name appear in print media in bold green!

Kingsized’s triumphal exploits in CMI’s THE CLASH of Cover Tunes competitions are detailed below:

11/26/2013 – THE CLASH of the Mini Medleys: Tongo Hiti (75%) – “My Heart Will Go On” (Celine Dion); “Rebel Yell” (Billy Idol); and some God-awful Metalica song (Metalica) vanguish Tiny Tim & The New Duncan Imperials (25%) – “Tennessee Waltz” (Cowboy Copas); “Back in the Saddle” (Gene Autry); and “Your Cheatin’ Heart” (Hank Williams)

11/11/2013 – “Burning Love” (Arthur Alexander) – Kingsized (100%) obliterate Swing Cats (0%)

11/2/2013 – “Pinball Wizard” (The Who) – Mike Geier & the Reverend Horton Heat (88%) trounce Sandy Nelson (12%)

The Residents:

Okay, this one was included solely for the video. Stuff like this just kills me.

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Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. Only one cover tune will live to play another day and it is your solemn responsibility to decide which one prevails. So tell me … Which Side Are You On?!!?

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Votes can be cast up to three months from the day and time of the original post.

Disclaimer: Votes cast from Florida may or may not be counted.

  1. bornunderabadsign says:

    The Residents for its bizarre rendition in some ways strangely recalling Pere Ubu…

  2. Cuspid says:

    I’m trying to think if I have ever liked any song I’ve ever heard the Residents do. I think not. I usually enjoy Kingsized. But he sounds like he’s just going through the motions with this one. Two thumbs down.

    By the way, a decade earlier than this song, Arthur Alexander did the original of a song called “Anna” which the Beatles covered and included on their seminal debut album “Please Please Me”. I’m not sure if Dubbs ever did this one at the Star Bar on karaoke night. Then again, maybe Dubbs’ version was John Lennon’s inspiration to sing the song in the first place.

    • RDubbs says:

      Cuspid, I’m not sure that your realize it but, although only two at the time I had a major impact on John Lennon, assuring and providing him with much needed confidence and direction. John had unabashed admiration for me and, in fact, penned “Love Me Do” in my honor.

  3. Arnold Plotnick says:

    The Residents are an interesting band. My friend Danny bought a 45 of their version of Satisfaction, way back in high school, which was unlistenable and made Devo’s version sound positively normal. Then he played an LP of theirs called Eskimo, which I really liked. A few years later, they actually released a disco version of the album Eskimo, called Diskomo, which I bought (and still own). It was great. The point I’m trying to make, I guess, is that they’re fucking weird as shit. So naturally, last year I downloaded a torrent containing their entire catalog. Like, 60 albums. Let’s just say, it’s not for everyone. However, I do think their version of Burning Love, here, is better than Kingsized.

  4. RDubbs says:

    Well usually I fall on the side of creativity, which The Residents undoubtedly have going for them in this competition. But through the years I’ve grown from disliking this song (Burning Love) to being somewhat drawn by its absurdity to ultimately embracing its brilliance: shifting genres, high energy, eminently catchy beat, absurd chorus and, of course, Elvis’ incomparable voice. So this is one time that I have to go with the cover that is closer to the original. Kingsized by four lengths…

    Yet I can’t help but wonder, how did The Residents video manage to not make it into one of Twin Peaks’ dream sequences? I’m practically in awe every time I watch it. The choreography is impeccable!

  5. Kerry Black says:

    Looks like you set your buddy Mike Geier up for an easy victory on this one.

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