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Elvis Presley in 1971

This sad and delicious song was recorded by Elvis on March 15, 1971, at RCA Studio B in Nashville.

It was a success in the voice of its author, the Canadian singer-songwriter of folk, country and pop, Gordon Lightfoot, in 1966, who gave a magnificent interpretation of his song.

Lightfoot, sadly gone forever on May 1st. But he left us an immense legacy with his interpretations and compositions, which were recorded by himself, but also by the greatest.

Singers like Elvis, Johnny Cash, Peter Paul and Mary, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Harry Belafonte and many others have left us the memory of Lightfoot’s compositions in their voices forever.

Elvis always loved this song and decided to record it, and he also liked to sing it live, so he would include it in his concert repertoire. He also performed it in the Post-Concert of the satellite television show, “Aloha from Hawaii” in 1973.

About how Lightfoot’s inspiration came to write and compose this song, it’s a nice story…

Lightfoot wrote and composed it in 1964, but its gestation began during his stay in Westlake, Los Angeles in 1960.

Throughout that time, Gordon, on numerous occasions, felt very nostalgic, longed for his origins. From his immense sensitivity, when he felt melancholic, he would go to the Los Angeles International Airport on rainy days, to see how the planes approached and took off…

The image of the flights taking off into the cloudy sky, sad and leaden, still remained in his retina in 1964, and one day, when he was taking care of his 5-month-old son, after putting his baby in the cradle, magic happened… and he created the melody.

In the lyrics of the song, Lightfoot shows us a desolate man who suffers, with very bad luck in life. He is far from home, longing for his loved ones and has nowhere to go.
He is alone, in an airport, watching the thunderous takeoff of a Boeing 707 passenger plane…

A beautiful song full of feeling and regret, which in Elvis’s interpretation gains strength and melancholy, in which you can imagine and feel the sadness of that man, alone, lost, drunk, with a broken life in solitude, not knowing where to go and surrendering his sadness to the contemplation of the coming and going of the planes… leaving his desolation to the roar of his own pain.

“In the early mornin’ rain
With a dollar in my hand
And an aching in my heart
And my pockets full of sand
I’m a long ways from home
And I missed my loved one so
In the early mornin’ rain
With no place to go

Out on runway number nine
Big 707 set to go
Well I’m out here on the grass
Where the pavement never grows
Where the liquor tasted good
And the woman all were fast
There she goes, my friend
She’s rolling out at last”

Impressive Elvis in this sincere, heartfelt and sorrowful performance. A simple song, with the beauty and grandeur that characterizes simplicity, very much in the country folk style that was heard in those years, but in Elvis’s voice it faithfully maintains the essence of the song, and at the same time makes it his own, giving it his own feeling and bitterness. So after listening to it, you can’t help but feel filled with a taste of loneliness, sadness and sorrow…

Here is the link of the song:

Inforamtion provided by Elvis. El Chico De Tupelo

Rosa Garcia Mora.



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