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Guitar Man



Guitar Man was written and first recorded by Jerry Reed (RCA 47-9152) in 1967. His recording reached #53 on Billboard’s country chart. 

After hearing Reed’s recording on the radio, Elvis invited him to Graceland. On September 10, 1967, Elvis recorded Guitar Man at RCA’s Nashville studios, and lead guitar was played by Jerry Reed. Elvis’s single release had a six-week stay on the Hot 100 chart, peaking at #43. Guitar Man was featured prominently in the 1968 TV Special, Elvis. Recordings for the special all took place on June 29 and 30, 1968. After Elvis’s death, Felton Jarvis removed the original instrumental backing and recorded a new one on October 16, 1980, at Young ‘Un Sound in Nashville. Again, Jerry Reed, was featured on lead guitar. This new remixed version was released on the Guitar Man LP and as a single. Guitar Man reached #28 on the Hot 100 chart and had a 14-week stay. On the adult contemporary chart, it had a nine-week stay, peaking at #16. In March 1981, Guitar Man replaced The Bellamy Brothers’ Do You Love As Good as You Look at the number one position on the country chart. A week later, Willie Nelson’s Angel Flying Too Close to the Grand took over the top spot. Guitar Man was Elvis’s last number one record on any Billboard chart. It had a total stay of 13 weeks on the country chart.


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,
just 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

Tell me what'd I say, tell me what'd I say, rightnow
Swinging 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

Where it was released:
Released for the first time on the album Clambake »


- Guitar Man / High Heel Sneakers (RCA 47-9425) January 1968. Standard release. Two picture sleeves were used for this record: one that read , “Coming Soon, ELVIS’ GOLD RECORDS, VOLUME 4” and one used in February 1968 that read, “Ask for ELVIS’ GOLD RECORDS, VOLUME 4” »

- Guitar Man / High Heel Sneakers (RCA 447-0663) 1970. Gold Standard Series reissue.

- Guitar Man / Faded Love (RCA JH-12158) January 1981. Disc jockey promotional release. Some of these promo copies were issued in red vinyl.

- Guitar Man / Faded Love (RCA PB-12158) January 1981. New remixed version »



- Stay Away



- Clambake (1967) »

- Elvis NBC TV Special (1968) »
- Elvis Sings Hits From His Movies, Volume 1 (1972) »

- The Elvis Presley Collection (1976) »
– Pickwick Pack (1978) »
- Country Classics (1980) »

– Guitar Man (1981) »

– Elvis NBC TV Special (1981) »

- The Collection, Volume 4 (1986)

- From Nashville to Memphis – The Essential 60’s Masters (1993)

- God – The Very Best of the King (1995)

- Great Country Songs (1996)

- Elvis’ Golden Records, Volume 5 (1997)

- Platinum – A Life in Music (1997)

- A Touch of Platinum, Volume 1 (1998)

- Memories of the ’68 Comeback Special (1998)

- Rock’n’Roll (1999)

- Artist of the Century (1999)

- Elvis The Concert (1999)

- Tomorrow is a Long Time (1999)

- Burbank '68 (1999) – FTD »

- Long Lonely Highway (2000) – FTD »

- Too Much Monkey Business (2000) - FTD »

- The 50 Greatest Hits (2000)

- The Country Side of Elvis (2001)

- Today, Tomorrow and Forever (2002)

- Great Country Songs – Remastered (2003)

- So High (2003) - FTD »

- Artist Collection (2004)

- Elvis NBC TV Special – The Vinyl Classics Edition (2005)

- Hitstory (2005)

- Clambake (2006) - FTD »

- Let Yourself Go (2006) - FTD »

- This is Elvis (2015) - FTD »

– NBC-TV Special (2016) - FTD »


Bootleg Releases:

- The ’68 Comeback (1976) - Memphis Records

- The ’68 Comeback, Volume 2 (1978) - Amiga Records

- The Burbank Sessions, Volume 2 (1979) - Audifon Records

- Special Delivery from Elvis Presley (1979) - Flaming Star Records

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