47) Elvis Presley – “Surrender”

Elvis continues his string of Euro-tinged pop songs with another pop reworking of a turn-of-the-century Neapolitan song – the previous being “It’s Now or Never.”  While “Surrender” isn’t as novel or successful as that single, neither is it as embarrassing as “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” Elvis again plays the Latin lover while showcasing his voice’s astonishing versatility.  But the problem is that it’s not quite as thrilling as it feels like it should be.  The piano charges forward, and the castanets clatter, but there’s no real “this is it!” moment.  The closest point is Presley’s operatic “Be mine forever/Be mine tonight!” Finally, we hit the peak the whole song has been promising – but that’s the song’s end.  I’m all for restraint in pop songs that build into great passionate statements, but it can’t be a valley that suddenly explodes into Mount Everest.  “Surrender” is still enjoyable, but it’s missing that qualcosina. 6

Liner Notes

  • Another #1 written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, almost exactly five months after (the superior) “Save the Last Dance for Me.”

Hit #1 on March 20, 1961; total of 2 weeks at #1
47 of 967 #1’s reviewed; 4.86% through the Hot 100


Filed under 06, 1961

2 responses to “47) Elvis Presley – “Surrender”

  1. Ian Henderson

    Am I the only one who thinks that the opening sounds a lot like “Secret Agent Man”?

  2. Ian – nope! I hear it too!

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