About the song

Absolutely! Let’s delve into the world of the King himself, Elvis Presley, and his captivating song, Surrender (1961).

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Elvis Presley needs no introduction. A cultural icon, a musical pioneer, and a figure who irrevocably altered the landscape of popular music, Presley’s impact transcends mere record sales. His charisma, his voice, and his undeniable stage presence made him a global phenomenon. But Surrender showcases a different side of the King – a side that’s as enthralling as his rock and roll persona.

Released in 1961, Surrender marked a shift in Presley’s musical direction. While he was still riding the crest of the rock and roll wave he’d helped create, Surrender leaned towards a more dramatic and romantic ballad style. This wasn’t entirely new territory for Presley. Hits like “It’s Now or Never” had already hinted at his versatility. However, Surrender fully embraced this yearning, passionate side.

The song itself has a fascinating backstory. It’s actually an adaptation of a 1902 Neapolitan ballad titled “Torna a Surriento” (“Come Back to Sorrento”) by Giambattista de Curtis and Ernesto de Curtis. Songwriters Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman penned the English lyrics, transforming the Italian folk song into a declaration of burning desire.

Surrender opens with a simple yet evocative piano riff, setting the stage for Presley’s smooth, velvety vocals. The lyrics paint a picture of an undeniable attraction, a passionate connection that begs for surrender. Lines like “When we kiss my heart’s on fire / Burning with a strange desire” leave little doubt about the intensity of the emotions at play.

But Surrender isn’t just about physical desire. It’s a song about complete emotional vulnerability, about giving oneself over entirely to the power of love. The repeated plea of “Surrender” throughout the song is a potent one, urging the beloved to shed all inhibitions and embrace the power of this all-consuming connection.

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Musically, Surrender is a masterclass in building tension and release. The verses are relatively subdued, with the piano and Presley’s vocals setting the mood. The chorus, however, explodes with energy. The backing vocals swell, the drums kick in, and Presley’s voice soars, emphasizing the urgency of the plea.

Surrender was a massive commercial success, reaching number one on the charts in both the United States and the United Kingdom. It further cemented Presley’s status as a global superstar and showcased his ability to excel in different musical styles. But more importantly, Surrender offered a glimpse into a more nuanced and vulnerable side of the King, a side that continues to resonate with listeners today.

Video

Lyrics

“Surrender”

When we kiss my heart’s on fire
Burning with a strange desire
And I know, each time I kiss you
That your heart’s on fire too

So, my darling, please surrender
All your love so warm and tender
Let me hold you in my arms, dear
While the moon shines bright above

All the stars will tell the story
Of our love and all its glory
Let us take this night of magic
And make it a night of love

Won’t you please surrender to me
Your lips, your arms, your heart, dear
Be mine forever
Be mine tonight