Suspicious Minds - Fine Young Cannibals - 80sneverend

Suspicion of covering

Fine Young Cannibals – Suspicious Minds

We can't go on together
With suspicious minds (with suspicious minds)
And we can't build our dreams
On suspicious minds
#FineYoungCannibals #SuspiciousMinds

Let’s be honest: it was clear to everyone that Fine Young Cannibals were making a cover of a very famous song. The song that in 1969 had brought Elvis Presley back to the top of the charts after seven years, and which would be his last song to reach the top position. However, Elvis Presley had also done a cover, because Suspicious Minds was written in 1968 by an author named Mark James, who had made a version that had not been successful. Elvis had moved from Nashville to Memphis to record with his production company, and in the next door offices Elvis met Mark James. Mark played with the song for Elvis, recorded in a version with some backup singers’ voices, and Elvis told the producer that he wanted not only that song, but those singers’ voices as well. Recorded by Elvis, the song was the hit we know.

However Mark James was a very good composer, because he also wrote another song also recorded by Elvis Presley that became famous in the 80s: Always on My Mind, which was brought back to success by Pet Shop Boys in 1987.

The text is quite simple, and it speaks of a love story that fails to take off due to the suspicions within the couple. We do not know, in the end, if the protagonist was guilty or if the suspicions of the girlfriend were unjustified: trust is something that is built and grown together, this is the story of the song.

From 1969 to 1986, when the Fine Young Cannibals version came out in early January, the step is short, not mentioning the seventeen years in between. The English group with the characteristic voice of Roland Gift, already very famous thanks to the success of Johnny Come Home, released about seven months earlier, decided not to change the song too much, with an arrangement that was very similar to the original, but enriched with a very particular voice. In fact, the background voice that follows the whole song until the final crescendo is not just any backup singer’s voice, but it is one of the most important and characteristic voices of the 80s! Did you recognize him? Of course, this background voice belongs to Jimmy Somerville, the voice of Bronski Beat in Smalltown Boy, and then of Communards in Don’t leave me this way.

The video is also very simple, in black and white with Fine Young Cannibals playing in an empty and rather dark space. I would say there is an obvious tribute to Elvis Presley’s times in the video, and we see it in the few scenes where Fine Young Cannibals wear electronically colored tuxedos. Well, they were just like the stage costumes of rock orchestras in the 60s: Roland Gift in this way probably imagined to go really for a few seconds in the 60s, as if to thank for this song and for all the rock music that is born from that period. It is no coincidence that at that moment the rhythm of the song also changes for a few moments.

In short, the echo of the immense figure of Elvis Presley was still very present throughout the 80s, if we think that in addition to the covers of Suspicious Minds and Always on My Mind, Black Velvet by Alannah Myles is also dedicated to the cult of his personality, and that Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus was born from a reflection of Elvis’ wife, Priscilla Beaulieu, for whom (as well as for millions of fans) he was a kind of ever-present point of reference.

So, if we suspected this was a cover, now we can’t have any more doubt: Suspicious Minds in the Fine Young Cannibals version is a true tribute to the greatness of 60s rock, and its most prominent figure, Elvis Presley.

Fine Young Cannibals on Wikipedia

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