About the song

Ah, there you have it, folks, a true gem from the King himself, Elvis Presley. Now, hold on a second, though. You might be surprised to learn that I Feel So Bad wasn’t actually released in 1953. Elvis recorded his version in 1961, but the song itself has a richer history that stretches back a few years prior.

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Let’s delve into the origins of this melancholic yet undeniably catchy tune. I Feel So Bad first surfaced in 1954, belted out by the soulful voice of R&B legend Chuck Willis. Willis’ rendition, a blues rhumba, was a Top 10 hit on the Billboard Rhythm & Blues Chart, showcasing his powerful vocals and signature storytelling style. This genre, a fusion of blues and the Latin-influenced rhumba rhythm, was quite popular in the mid-20th century, and I Feel So Bad perfectly captured its essence.

Elvis, with his keen ear for a good song and a talent for reinterpreting existing hits, clearly appreciated Willis’ work. Fast forward to 1961, and I Feel So Bad found its way onto Elvis’ recording session in Nashville. Here’s where things get interesting. Originally, Elvis’ team planned to pair the title track from his upcoming movie, Wild in the Country, with another song from the film. But fate, or perhaps a shrewd decision by RCA executive Bill Bullock, intervened. Bullock insisted on including I Feel So Bad on the single instead. This turned out to be a wise move.

Elvis’ version of I Feel So Bad retained the core elements of Willis’ original – the bluesy feel, the rhumba beat, and the relatable lyrics about emotional turmoil. However, Elvis undeniably added his own unique touch. His powerful vocals, both smooth and soulful, delivered the lyrics with a touch of swagger and vulnerability. The backing band, tight and energetic, perfectly complemented Elvis’ performance. The result? A double A-side single, with I Feel So Bad sharing the spotlight with Wild in the Country. The single became a hit, reaching No. 4 on the UK charts and solidifying I Feel So Bad‘s place in music history.

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So, while Elvis may not have originated I Feel So Bad, his version stands as a testament to his ability to breathe new life into existing songs. It’s a captivating blend of blues, rhumba, and pure Presley magic, a reminder of why he continues to be revered as the King of Rock and Roll. So, put on your blue suede shoes, crank up the volume, and let Elvis’ soulful rendition of I Feel So Bad wash over you.

Video

Lyrics

“I Feel So Bad”

(Chuck Willis)
Feel so bad
Like a ball game on a rainy day
Feel so bad
Like a ball game on a rainy day
Yes’ I got my rain check
Shake my head and walk away

Oooo-people that’s the way I feel
Oooo-people that’s the way I feel
Sometimes I think I want
Then again I think I don’t
Sometimes I want to stay here
Then again I want to leave here
Then again I want to stay
Yes, I got my train fare
Pack my grip and ride away

Oooo-people that’s the way I feel
Oooo-people that’s the way I feel
Sometimes I think I want
Then again I think I don’t