Written by Jerry Reed
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
March 13, 1981
#1 (1 week)
March 14, 1981
It was approaching four years after his death when Elvis Presley topped the country charts for a final time.
He’d been a steady presence already in the seventies, earning a top ten hit with “Hurt” in the year before his death. But once he passed, he scored several posthumous number one singles. “Guitar Man” had originally been recorded in the late sixties, but was remixed and released as the lead single and title track of an album meant to coincide with This is Elvis, a documentary promoted in the inner sleeve of Guitar Man.
Jerry Reed added a new guitar solo to the reworked “Guitar Man,” which featured Elvis’ original vocal but a mostly new instrumental track. The original recording came from one of Presley’s most creative periods, and he turns in a loose and gritty vocal performance that could make you believe the most famous man in the world was a struggling musician looking for an opportunity to play his guitar somewhere. The original version of the song is better, but the eighties revival is still pretty darn good.
Presley wouldn’t top the country charts again, but he would be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, making him one of the few artists to be in both the Country and Rock Hall.
“Guitar Man” gets a B+.
Next: Sylvia, “Drifter”