About the song

Absolutely! Let’s delve into the world of “Crawfish,” a captivating song by the king himself, Elvis Presley, featured in his 1958 film King Creole. This song transcends its role as a mere movie soundtrack number, offering a glimpse into a specific musical landscape and setting the stage for a captivating narrative.

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King Creole marked a turning point in Presley’s cinematic career. Unlike his earlier, more lighthearted films, this one embraced a grittier, more mature tone. Set in the vibrant city of New Orleans, the story follows Danny Fisher (played by Presley), a teenager caught between the allure of music and the temptations of the criminal underworld. “Crawfish” serves as our introduction to this world, establishing the film’s setting and themes with infectious energy.

Musically, “Crawfish” is a delightful gumbo, a delicious blend of influences that reflects the rich musical heritage of New Orleans. The song’s foundation lies in rhythm and blues, a genre with deep roots in African American communities. The prominent use of the walking bassline, a rhythmic pattern characteristic of R&B, propels the song forward with a steady groove. The horns, particularly the saxophone, add a layer of swagger and sophistication, reminiscent of the city’s legendary brass bands.

However, “Crawfish” doesn’t shy away from showcasing Presley’s signature sound. The rock and roll elements are undeniable. The driving beat, Presley’s characteristic vocal inflections, and the overall energy all point towards the genre that had taken the world by storm in the mid-1950s. This fusion of styles creates a unique soundscape that perfectly encapsulates the cultural melting pot of New Orleans.

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Lyrically, “Crawfish” paints a vivid picture of the city’s vibrant nightlife. References to divey bars, “flies drippin’ and cleanin’ before your eyes”, and the titular “crawfish”, a local delicacy, all contribute to a sense of gritty authenticity. The song also hints at the film’s central conflict. Lines like “I got a feelin’ somethin’s gonna break tonight” foreshadow the trouble brewing beneath the surface of this seemingly carefree scene.

“Crawfish” isn’t just a catchy tune; it’s a carefully crafted introduction that sets the stage for King Creole’s narrative. It throws us headfirst into the heart of New Orleans, immersing us in its pulsating music scene and introducing us to a young man on the precipice of a life-altering choice. As the song fades out, we’re left eager to follow Danny Fisher’s journey, a journey that promises both excitement and danger.



(from “King Creole” soundtrack)

Well I went to the bayou just last night
There was no moon but the stars were bright
Put a big long hook on a big long pole
And I pulled Mr. Crawfish out of his hole

See I got him, see the size
Stripped and cleaned before your eyes
Sweet meat look, fresh and ready to cook

Now take Mr. Crawfish in your hand
He’s gonna look good in your frying pan
If you fry him crisp or you boil him right
He’ll be sweeter than sugar when you take a bite