A Look Back At Waylon Jennings And Jessi Colter’s Version Of Elvis’ “Suspicious Minds”

Wanted the outlaws country music
RCA Records/Youtube

46 years ago today, Elvis Presley passed away at the age of 42.

While not a country artist, Elvis had a major impact on many of the great country acts of his time, and was even inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1998, mainly due to his early and late career work.

Throughout his catalogue you can find covers of country greats, like George Jones’ “She Still Thinks I Care” and Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through The Night,” along with country songs of his own like “Kentucky Rain,” which featured Ronnie Milsap on piano, but some of my favorite Elvis moments are when artists put their own spin on one of his songs.

“Suspicious Minds” has been a fan favorite since Elvis released it in 1969 as the B-side of “You’ll Think Of Me.” Written and originally recorded by Mark James, this song is attributed to a career revival of sorts for the King of Rock and Roll and became his 18th and final number one in the US after being included on his ’68 Comeback Special that aired on NBC.

It’s a great look into a dysfunctional relationship where both people don’t trust each other, both knowing it can’t continue like this but unsure of just how to fix it.

“We’re caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much, baby
Why can’t you see
What you’re doing to me
When you don’t believe a word I say?

We can’t go on together
With suspicious minds
And we can’t build our dreams
On suspicious minds”

Early last year Morgan Wade covered the song for the deluxe edition of Reckless but it wasn’t the first time a country artist put their spin on the track.

Back in 1970, Waylon Jennings and his wife Jessi Colter released a cover of this song, which reached number 25 on the country charts. It was re-released in 1976 as part of the Wanted! The Outlaws project that they, along with Willie Nelson and Tompall Glaser, put out the same year. That version climbed all the way to number 2 and was nominated for the Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal Grammy.

I’ve been jamming out to Morgan Wade’s version since it came out, but I think I’m going to have to work this into the rotation a bit more often now. There’s just something so great about the back and forth between man and woman which adds so much more to the song.

RIP to Elvis Presley and Waylon Jennings. There’s no suspicion in my mind that those two are singing this one together today…


A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock