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Bitter They Are, Harder They Fall

4.2 / 5

Words & Music: Larry Gatlin

I told her to leave me alone
That's what she's done, just what she's done
And a house built for two, ain't a home
When it's lived in by one, one lonely one

And I can no longer hear footsteps, come right down the hall
Here come the teardrops, bitter they are, harder they fall
She caught me lying, then she caught a train
And I caught a fever walking home in the rain
Oh yeah!
But it's over and I’m done
She left me once and for all
Here come the teardrops, bitter they are, harder they fall
Here come the teardrops, bitter they are, harder they fall

Recordingdate: 1976/02/02, first released on: From Elvis Presley Boulevard (album)


Musicians who contributed to the first recording of Bitter They Are, Harder They Fall:

(electric piano)


(french horn)
(french horn)

*Orchestra, overdubs


Find available albums with Bitter They Are, Harder They Fall.

old shep wrote on April 23, 2008
This is another good Larry Gatlin song and one of my 70s favourites from Elvis. A bit mournful though!
Jerome wrote on June 16, 2008
both original and Elvis' are great. Can't listen to it too often to prevent from hanging myself..
Matthias Kuenzer wrote on July 02, 2008
The best song on From Elvis Presley Boulevard, an album dominated by sad and melancholic songs. At that time, Elvis recorded almost exclusively songs that spoke to him, that had a meaning for him. The lines "She caught me lying, then she caught a train, and I caught a fever walking home in the rain" sum up the events in his personal life in 71-73. Sung with soul and conviction as only Elvis could. Brilliant.
Pedro Nuno wrote on July 02, 2008
Never really liked this song. Far to bitter and hard for my taste. Instead of recording this type of songs, from 1975 on Elvis, should had put some jeans on, fired all his Mafia and Big Band, grab only the TCB Band and Rock the Hell of the World!
FLASHBOY wrote on July 02, 2008
From Elvis Presley boulevard is an album where Elvis speaks wth his heart one of my favorite album no doubt about that. He was pouring his feelings throught the microphone and i think he was kind of sad during that time but he delivers an amazing performance with this album in 1976.
Jesse Garon Presley wrote on July 02, 2008
A True Masterpiece!! i really love this song, i can listen to it all day
Ton Bruins wrote on July 02, 2008
Best version ever on "The Jungle Room Sessions" ! Good ballad, little sad though. But that was in 1976 so it fitted Elvis live at that moment guitte well....
Rob Wanders wrote on July 02, 2008
wonderful song. Pure and sincere. I love him.
JerryNodak wrote on July 02, 2008
Now, a song like this is the Elvis I love. Sincere, heartfelt, gut-wrenching. Superb!
Clambake67 wrote on July 03, 2008
from a great album but cant say the same for this cut.......Cant like em' all.
Marty_TCE wrote on December 29, 2008
Not the cheeriest song ever recorded by Elvis, but was sung with conviction and sincerity. A real insight into his life at the time. 5 stars
Steve V wrote on December 29, 2008
One of the better songs from an otherwise very depressing album & one I havent played in years. Yeah I hear all the opinions about sincerity & heartfelt performances, but the truth is Elvis was at a very bad stage in his life in 1976 and his voice wasnt as versatile as it once was. Id rather hear the Elvis of 1956 than 1976 anytime.
Rob Wanders wrote on December 29, 2008
sad but beautiful ballad. One of the best songs from a great album
theoldscudder wrote on December 29, 2008
Yes this is a depressing song from a very unlistenable album. The whole Lp was just a downer. I will never listen to it again. I prefer the other side of Elvis.
Jimmy Boy wrote on January 06, 2009
A dreadful song from an even worse album! Along with some of his 60's film soundtrack stuff , i rate this as his worst recordings.
sitdown68 wrote on January 06, 2009
Well, I would opt for a paradigm shift and say: if this is what Presley was living in those days, it is an honest and couragous, and personal abum. To me, as sad as it is, the song contains great metaphors like: She caught me lying, then she caught a train. And I caught a fever walking home in the rain. I don't know if we are allowed to judge the album the way it's been done regarding the context the singer was involved in. It is what it is. It is what the man was in his day, when he choose those songs, the comparison to the movie years is rather odd minded, due to the fact that these songs are far from b-movie nonsence.
NONE000000 wrote on January 06, 2009
This is a song I tend to forget about, but when I hear it, I really like it. Yes it is a depressing song from an album pretty much full of depressing songs. But lots and lots of artists have put out albums like that. Sinatra certainly did--listen to In The Wee Small Hours or Sinatra Sings For Only The Lonely. And those are very very highly regarded albums. To me, this album falls somewhat into that category. And this is a song that fits the mold. (BTW--how cool it would have been if Elvis had done a few concept albums? Aside from Elvis Country, every other studio album of the 70s was a mish-mash of material. I really focused thematically tied together album late in his career really would have been amazing to me. The mostly depressing tracks on this album are as close to it as he got.)
Adams wrote on January 07, 2010
Well, I think Boulevard IS a concept album. And it's great. Bitter they are is one of the highlights from this album. Beautiful rendition from El, touching lyrics. Also great outtakes on Jungle room FTD with infamous "shoot all the dogs!" phrase.
Deano1 wrote on January 07, 2010
A solid ballad from an outstanding LP ("From Elvis Presley Boulevard Memphis, Tennessee). Not one of my personal favorites, but Elvis gives this song the same emotion and good vocals as he gives the other nine songs on this album. The words, like the other Gatlin tune Elvis recorded "Help Me" are not perfect lyrics, but Elvis makes the most of them. Yes this album contains a lot of sad songs, but so did most of Elvis' post movie albums and they normally were the highlights of the albums. "From Elvis In Memphis" ("Long Black Limousine", "In The Ghetto", "It Keeps Right On A Hurtin", etc), "Good Times ("My Boy", "Lovin' Arms", "Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues"), heck even the celebration of "Aloha From Hawaii" had "You Gave Me A Mountain", "I'll Remember You", "What Now My Love" and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry". Anyhow, 4 star song on a 5 star album.
shoesuedeblues wrote on January 07, 2010
A track which I love to play albeit from one of Elvis' worst albums.
dgirl wrote on January 07, 2010
One of the better tracks from a woeful album.
LonElvis wrote on January 08, 2010
One of my favorite songs on my favorite album. This is a song that Elvis obviously feels and is connected with on a spiritual level....and as a result he pours his heart and sould into it. Elvis never made a "truer" album than the Boulevard album. It's true in every aspect of the word - including the material and his performances.
JER wrote on January 08, 2010
A incredible performance as only Elvis could do it. Recorded in the Jungle Room, the producer end engineer did an incredible job.
Marty_TCE wrote on January 08, 2010
A wonderful track from an awesome album, his voice is packed with much more power and emotion than some of his previous 70s albums. A real tightrope this album, you live every line of some of those songs. 5 stars * * * * *
shoesuedeblues wrote on April 09, 2010
Love the song and Elvis' performance a far better version than Larry Gatlin's. Elvis put so much emotion into the song.
bajo wrote on April 10, 2010
I like this one! Actually I have always had a heart for the album also. When I got the LP back then, it was wintertime and long dark nights over here. The album suited the mood of those long, cold and dark nights. It was something special about Elvis' singing and the mood of the album. As such it became a favourite Elvis album of it's own. Some people don't like this album! To each their own! Bitter They Are, Harder They Fall could well have been the album title!
SatninTCB wrote on November 09, 2010
Even though this is a well sung song with heart this is THE MOST depressing album of Elvis' entire career. Of course it's understandable why he would choose this kind of material given the state of his personal life at that moment-every fan can connect to that. But i also think that most fans would agree this is NOT the Elvis that we came to love. Most songs on this LP are well performed but it*s much 2 sad 2 listen 2. EP 4EVER
Gorse wrote on November 13, 2012
Yes a sad song, but beautifully sung by Elvis as he digs deep into his soul and reaches the heart of this listener
sugartummy wrote on February 26, 2013
I love sad songs and this one is great, even in the original version. But you can not beat Elvis at his own game. An awesome job he did.
ElvisSacramento wrote on May 09, 2013
This is such a splendid and underrated song and Elvis' rendition of it was brilliant. It's one of two songs that Elvis recorded that was written by Larry Gatlin. I love the entire "From Elvis Presley Boulevard" album. The other song that Elvis recorded that was written by Larry Gatlin is "Help Me".
In-A-Flash wrote on May 09, 2013
A heartfelt performance from a heartbreaking album. The end was near and this album is just too much sadness.
GEORGE (GK) wrote on May 09, 2013
"Bitter they are, harder they fall" is a strong Performance from Elvis and his backup vocalists and band. The "Elvis Presley Blvd-album" was a real good album, but it could have used a few happier songs added in the mix. After the powerful rocking "For the Heart" it goes into slow heartbreak. Love the songs: For the Heart/Hurt/Blue eyes crying in the Rain/Bitter they are, harder they fall /Never Again/The Last Farewell/I'll never Fall in Love Again/Love Coming Down/ The 2 slow tracks, I would have replaced on the album (and use them on another album) in favor of 2 uptempo Rockers, would have been the songs "Solitaire" and "Danny Boy". Those 2 songs, which are real good, are the ones, that seem slower than the rest.
cookingfat wrote on May 09, 2013
Not struck on the album but I love this Larry Gatlin song, which Elvis bettered.
Jim Davidson wrote on February 15, 2016
To me, the Jungle Room sessions generated some of Elvis' best work. There is much more emotion in songs like Bitter They Are, The Harder They Fall than in a lot of his earlier recordings.
Great Dane wrote on February 15, 2016
Yes this sad like most of the album. But for me this is pure perfection. 5 stars for the album and song.
Cruiser621 wrote on July 30, 2017
Not one of my favorites. Just drags on; too slow, way too slow. The lyrics are fine, it's the arrangement that stinks.
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