Playing for Keeps (Elvis Presley song)

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"Playing for Keeps"
Single by Elvis Presley
from the album For LP Fans Only (1959)
A-side Too Much"
"Your Time Hasn't Come Yet, Baby
Released January 4, 1957[1]
Format 7" single
Recorded September 1, 1956
Length 2:50
Songwriter(s)
Elvis Presley singles chronology
"Love Me Tender"
(1957)
"Too Much" / "Playing for Keeps"
(1957)
"All Shook Up"
(1957)
"Love Me Tender"
(1957)
"Too Much" / "Playing for Keeps"
(1957)
"All Shook Up"
(1957)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Billboard "Spotlight" pick,
"This Week's Best Buys" pick[2]

"Playing for Keeps" is a song originally recorded by Elvis Presley

Its first release on record was on January 4, 1957 on a single with "Too Much" on the other side.[3][1][4][2][5][6][7] "Playing for Keeps" reached number 34 in the United States, while "Too Much" spent 3 weeks at number 1.[6][7][better source needed]

In 1959 the song was included on Elvis' album For LP Fans Only (an unusual album for Presley cause all the songs on it had been already released one to almost five years prior).[4]

Writing and recording history[edit]

The song was written by Sun Studio house band steel guitar and bass player Stan Kesler (words and lyrics), who wrote or co-wrote five songs in total for Elvis Presley during Elvis' early career: "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone". "I Forgot to Remember to Forget", "Thrill of Your Life", "Playing for Keeps", "I'm a Fool (For Loving You)".[8][9][10][11][12][13]

Elvis recorded it on September 1, 1956 at the Radio Recorders Studio in Hollywood, California[3] (at the studio sessions for RCA Victor that were held at Radio Recorders on September 1-3), the master recording of "Playing for Keeps" is a splice of two takes: take 7 with the ending from take 18.[14]

Commercial performance and critical reception[edit]

Preorders for the single "Too Much" / "Playing For Keeps" reached almost 500,000 copies.[15]

Billboard picked the single "Two Much"/"Playing for Keep" for its "Spotlight" section and then (in its January 19, 1957 issue) as one of "This Week's Best Buys":[2][16]

Advance orders put this disk in the best seller class even before it was generally available. [...] It doesn't take genius to see that this will be a chart record shortly. At this early stage, it is hard to determine which side rates top listing, the Presley fans are giving both tunes quite a whirl; both are propeling it forward. A previous Billboard "Spotlight" pick.[2]

Mike Eder states his opinion of the side "Playing for Keeps" in his book Elvis Music FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the King's Recorded Works:

"Playing for Keeps" is one of the few early single sides that wasn't worthy of the spotlight it was given. He tries too hard at putting feeling into the track, pushing his voice intoan awkward whine. Elvis didn't yet possess the kind of big voice he wanted for ballads like this, but you can't blamehim for trying to go beyond his comfort zone, the song was written by Stan Kesler, who had been a friend of Elvis' when they both worked for Sun Records. Kesler had co-composed early single sides “I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone,” and“I Forgot to Remember toForget,” and Elvis may have recorded this somewhat dreary ballad partially as a favor to him.[1]

Track listings[edit]

7" single (RCA 47-6800, 4 January 1957)[17]

  1. "Too Much"
  2. "Playing for Keeps"

7" EP Playing for Keeps (RCA EPA 9561, Germany)[18]

  1. "Playing for Keeps"
  2. "Too Much"
  3. "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck"
  4. "Doncha' Think It's Time"

7" EP All Shook Up (RCA 75.405, France)[19]

  1. "All Shook Up"
  2. "That's When Your Heartaches Begin"
  3. "Too Much"
  4. "Playing for Keeps"

Charts[edit]

Chart (1957) Peak
position
"Playing for Keeps"
U.S. Billboard Most Played by Jockeys[20] 21
U.S. Billboard Top 100[21][22] 34
U.S. Cash Box Magazine Top Singles[citation needed] 33
"Too Much" / "Playing for Keeps"
U.S. Billboard Most Played C&W in Juke Boxes[23][better source needed] 8
U.S. Billboard Best Sellers in Stores[24][25] 1
U.S. Billboard Most Played in Juke Boxes[26] 1

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Mike Eder (1 September 2013). Elvis Music FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the King's Recorded Works. Backbeat Books. pp. 77–. ISBN 978-1-61713-580-4. 
  2. ^ a b c d Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (19 January 1957). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. 42–. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  3. ^ a b "Playing for Keeps : by Elvis Presley : Elvis Presley Lyrics : The Elvis SongDataBase". Elvis Australia : Official Elvis Presley Fan Club. Retrieved 2017-01-14. 
  4. ^ a b Jerry Hopkins (1 July 2014). Elvis: The Biography. Plexus Publishing. pp. 168–. ISBN 978-0-85965-899-7. 
  5. ^ Neal Umphred; Linda Jones; Walter Piotrowski (1990). Elvis: A Touch of Gold : the American Record Collector's Price Guide to Elvis Presley Records & Memorabilia. White Dragon Press. 
  6. ^ a b Dafydd Rees; Luke Crampton (1991). Rock Movers & Shakers. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-0-87436-661-7. 
  7. ^ a b Joseph Murrells (1978). The Book of Golden Discs. Barrie and Jenkins. ISBN 978-0-214-20480-7. 
  8. ^ David F. Lonergan (2005). Hit Records, 1950-1975. Scarecrow Press. pp. 174–. ISBN 978-0-8108-5129-0. 
  9. ^ Ken Burke (1 November 2005). Country Music Changed My Life: Tales of Tough Times and Triumph from Country's Legends. Chicago Review Press. pp. 174–. ISBN 978-1-55652-991-7. 
  10. ^ Ace Collins (1 April 2005). Untold Gold: The Stories Behind Elvis's #1 Hits. Chicago Review Press. pp. 9–. ISBN 978-1-56976-507-4. 
  11. ^ Michael Freedland (28 March 2013). Elvis Memories: The real Elvis Presley - by those who knew him. Biteback Publishing. pp. 62–. ISBN 978-1-84954-564-8. 
  12. ^ Colin Escott; Martin Hawkins (1 March 2011). Good Rockin' Tonight: Sun Records and the Birth of Rock 'n' Roll. Open Road Media. pp. 270–. ISBN 978-1-4532-1314-8. 
  13. ^ Pete Daniel (2000). Lost Revolutions: The South in the 1950s. Univ of North Carolina Press. pp. 143–. ISBN 978-0-8078-4848-7. 
  14. ^ Ernst Jorgensen (22 April 2014). Elvis Presley: A Life In Music. St. Martin's Press. pp. 98–. ISBN 978-1-4668-6855-7. 
  15. ^ Ernst Jorgensen (22 April 2014). Elvis Presley: A Life In Music. St. Martin's Press. pp. 116–. ISBN 978-1-4668-6855-7. 
  16. ^ Lee Cotten (1985). All shook up: Elvis day-by-day, 1954-1977. Pierian Press. 
    "Playing For Keeps/Too Much was a "Best Buy" in Billboard. The trade journal said "advance orders put this disk in the best seller class even before it was generally available."
  17. ^ "ultratop.be - Elvis Presley - Too Much". Retrieved 2017-01-14. 
  18. ^ "ultratop.be - Elvis Presley - Playing For Keeps". Retrieved 2017-01-14. 
  19. ^ "ultratop.be - Elvis Presley - All Shook Up". Retrieved 2017-01-14. 
  20. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (23 February 1957). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. 50–. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  21. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (16 February 1957). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. 50–. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  22. ^ "Elvis Presley - Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2017-01-15. 
  23. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (2 March 1957). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. 60–. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  24. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (9 February 1957). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. 38–. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  25. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (18 February 1967). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. 34–. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  26. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (9 March 1957). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. 44–. ISSN 0006-2510. 

External links[edit]