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Elvis SongPedia: Guitar Man

Guitar Man

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Basic Stats

(Just the facts, ma'am!)

Written by: Jerry Reed

Recorded: September 10, 1967, RCA Studio, Nashville
Released master is take 12.

Single:w/ "High Heel Sneakers", 47-9425, January 9, 1968
Also re-released as Gold Standard Series, 447-0663, 1970
Remixed version released w/ "Faded Love", PB-12158, January 1981

Highest U.S. Charts Positions:
Original 1968 version:
#43 on Billboard's Hot 100
#39 on Cash Box Top 100
Remixed 1981 version:
#28 on Billboard's Hot 100
#1 on Country chart
#16 on Adult Contemporary chart

1st LP release: Clambake - November 19, 1967
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"Guitar Man"
now from Amazon!

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For other versions, see
Lyrics and Downloads section below.

My Spin

(Just my opinion. Give us yours!)

"Guitar Man" was used to great effect in Elvis' comeback special, and became quite an iconic song for Elvis, but almost a year earlier, the original studio version was pretty dynamic too, and represented a "pre-comeback" Elvis, itching to try something different! Jerry Reed himself was brought in for the guitar work (see Big Boss Man) and it obviously fueled Elvis' enthusiasm for the song. He's in his element!

Other Spins

(What did the critics and fans say?)

"Guitar Man" a finely driven country song, with Presley relishing the almost autobiographical lyrics.
(Comeback Special version) ...this segues into "Guitar Man", which appears as a recurring theme. This gets a tremendous performance full of dark surging qualities from Presley; and the orchestra, helped by squealing high trumpets, is fabulous.

Robert Matthew-Walker, Elvis Presley: A Study in Music, 1979

A talking-fast-blues about a jobless country picker, with Jerry Reed providing the licks himself.

Martin Torgoff, The Complete Elvis, 1982

Check out other Elvis fans' opinions on the Elvis News page for Guitar Man

Check out other opinions at Rate Your Music

"Guitar Man" Links

"Guitar Man" Lyrics and Downloads

Well, I quit my job down at the car wash,
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
Ain't never, ever gonna look back
I'll never be more than what I am
Wouldn't you know, I'm a swinging little Guitar man

Download the Karaoke Version!

Guitar Man karaoke - Elvis PresleyGuitar Man
Elvis Presley

or download from Amazon! Different versions by Elvis...

...or different versions by other artists

What's YOUR Spin on "Guitar Man"?
Yea or Nay?

Yea! Show 'Em Sonnnn!

Nay! I Don't Need A Guitar Man, Son!

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Study Up Some More!

Elvis song reference books on Amazon!

Ernst Jorgensen's complete chronicle of Elvis' recording sessions, with loads of detailed information about each session and each song.
This is the definitive encyclopedia on Elvis' life details, as well as all the background and trivia you need for all the songs, movies, and TV appearances. Authors are Fred L. Worth and Steve D. Tamerius.
The subtitle of Ace Collins' book says it all: "The stories behind Elvis' #1 hits"!
"Elvis The #1 Hits: The Secret History of the Classics". Another self-explanatory book title. :)