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Gentle on My Mind

Rating:
4.3 / 5

Words & Music: John Hartford

It's knowin' that your door is always open
And you path is free to walk
That makes me tend to keep my sleeping bag rolled up
And stashed behind your couch

It's knowin' I'm not shackled
By forgotten words and bonds
And the heat stains that have dried up on some lovin'
That keeps you in the back roads
By the rivers of my memory
It keeps you ever gentle on my mind

It's not clinging to the rocks and ivy
Planted on their columns mellowed by me
Or something that somebody said
Because they thought we'd fit together walking
It's just knowing that the world will not be cursin'
Or forgiving when I walk along some railroad track and find
That you're moving on the back roads
By the rivers of my memory and for hours
You're just gentle on my mind

Though the wheat fields and the clothes lines
And the junk yards and the highways come between us
And some other woman's cryin' to her mother
'Cause she turned and I was gone
I still might run in silence
Till' the join might stain my face
And the summer sun might burn me 'till I'm blind
But not to where I cannot see you
Walking in the back roads
By the rivers flowing gently on my mind

I dip my cup of soup from a gurgling,
cracking cauldron in some train yard
I'm barely runnin' cold how
Have a dirty hat pulled low across my face
Who cupped hands around the tin cans
I pretend to hold you to my breast and find
That you're wavin' from the back roads
By the rivers of my memory
Ever smiling never changes on my mind

Recordingdate: 1969/01/14, first released on: From Elvis in Memphis (album)

Musicians

Musicians who contributed to the first recording of Gentle on My Mind:

(guitar)
(guitar)
(sitar)
(bass)
(bass)
(drums)
(piano)
(organ)

Others*

(piano)
(harmonica)
(vocals)
(vocals)
(vocals)
(vocals)
(vocals)
(french horn)
(french horn)
(sax)
(trombone)
(trombone)
(trumpet)
(cello)
(viola)
(viola)
(viola)
(viola)
(viola)
(violin)
(violin)
(violin)
(violin)
(violin)
(violin)
(violin)
(violin)

*Orchestra, overdubs

Availability

Find available albums with Gentle on My Mind.

old shep wrote on April 11, 2008
An altogether different reworking of John Hartford's folk/country classic. I like the song especially Hartford's, Glen Campbell's, Wally Wyton's and the Dean Martin version but I can't make up my mind with Elvis' version.
elvisfan1958 wrote on April 24, 2008
Somebody needs to re-do the lyrics, on this page. You have made many mistakes. Elvis does a fantastic job on this song. Lots of feeling. Much different from Glen Campbell.
PolkSaladAnnie wrote on August 13, 2008
I love Elvis' version of this song; the melody and Elvis' vocals are haunting. Sometimes I just listen to it on repeat as I can't get enough of it.
Elvis Rimes wrote on April 11, 2009
Just how good does Elvis sound on this track! Awesome and yet somehow haunting, this track is easily in my top 10 of favourite Elvis songs. Absolutely lovely.
ger wrote on April 11, 2009
Elvis version is the best
Viva wrote on April 11, 2009
Yet another example of Elvis taking a tune and really making it his own. This version is so clever in it's delivery and arrangement, I've often felt that this track is sadly neglected by the world at large. A vast difference to the somewhat rushed original, and a vast improvement as a result. The lyrics are brilliantly crafted, but it takes the genius of Elvis to wring every bit of feeling from them. Beautifully sung and beautifully recorded, this remains one of my all-time favourites. Shame about the mistakes in the lyrics represented above.
Jay wrote on April 11, 2009
Love this track, one of the best 69 session cuts.. Elvis' version is by far the best. Should have been released as a single!
Steve V wrote on April 11, 2009
Elvis does a great job with this song as he does with all the Memphis 69 songs (except Hey Jude), but the definitive version remains Campbells. After all it was his signature song, his TV theme song, an international hit and the version most people know. Dino's wasnt bad either. Elvis may have slowed it down a bit too much for me.
Rob Wanders wrote on April 11, 2009
great song
sitdown68 wrote on April 11, 2009
I like this song very much and the genre per se. It's this type of song which appeared in those late 60's. It's a Everybody's Talkin' type song. Elvis did a great job indeed and I would have loved to here him do a full version of Campbells other classic: By The Time I Get To Phoenix. These song were tailored for Presley's vocal and musical ability. The whole 69 sessions are the best ever done. 68-69 was his year.
NONE000000 wrote on April 11, 2009
Love the song, but I wish Elvis would have kept the tempo of Glen's version. Dean Martin did a nice job on this song too. Too bad Elvis never performed it live, since he had a habit of speeding things up in the live versions of things---he may have gotten it back to the tempo it should be. Still, I am not knocking it. Elvis was in peak form and everything he did is worthy of a listen, it's just a shame he didn't totally nail this one, in my opinion. I wonder if there are some other takes floating around at various speeds--like the slow version and fast version of "Stay Away" or "Ain't That Loving You Baby"
SNAgy wrote on April 11, 2009
I never knew other versions of the song 'til now. And I must say both Campbell and Dean Martin are simply boring to me. Elvis made it a really haunting and exciting version of this song. It's not slow, it's just following Hartford's path and reaches the goal on that way.
GEORGE (GK) wrote on April 11, 2009
The Memphis Recordings in 1969, were simply, Elvis at his best. I wish RCA, would have released more singles, from these sessions. "Gentle on My Mind" would have been a good single choice. So would have the songs, "Power of My Love" & "Wearin' that Loved on Look", among many more. I was very surprised that the song, "Any Day Now" which was the "B" side, of "In the Ghetto" never charted. It was a strong performance.
dgirl wrote on April 11, 2009
This is one of the few Memphis sessions songs I skip. I just dont like it. Its too slow, the female voices dont go with it, and the strings should have been left off. Just a bad arrangement and would have made a bad choice for a single, since it was a hit for Glen and a grammy winner 2 years prior. Elvis should have taken Glen's arrangement and built from it. It is a country song after all. Glen's version by a mile.
Ruthie wrote on April 12, 2009
Sorry, I just can't stand this song. Elvis does a wonderful job with it & yes, it is his type of song, but I have never liked it. And it doesn't matter who does it, I just don't like anything about it. I never skip an Elvis song, even this one, because his voice is so great on it, but I am always relieved when it is over. Go figure.
FLASHBOY wrote on April 12, 2009
I Have nothing Against Glen Campbell in general But he sing this song in a very very boring way he was a great signer but never liked his version of this. Elvis version is another story i love it But hey this happen alot when Elvis cover a song!
Sundial77 wrote on August 31, 2009
This is one of my alltime favourites, like many songs from these sessions!
JLpResLey wrote on August 31, 2009
Good song from a great recording session. However, I think that it´s not among the greatest recordings from the Memphis session. Still an enjoyable song
Swen wrote on August 31, 2009
One of my favourite songs! So beautiful, floating, haunting. I was so disappointed when I heard Elvis´s version because for once he changed a song in the wrong way. I read Chips wanted him to sing it this way: Staccato and more soulful(?) If so he was wrong. Such a shame.
JerryNodak wrote on August 31, 2009
This is one of those songs I've never been able to make up my mind about. I don't dislike it. I can listen to it. But I don't really like it either. Perhaps if the tempo had been a little faster?
Elvis Rimes wrote on August 31, 2009
One of my all time favourite Elvis songs, it reminds me of my teenage years when my best mate and I used to listen to Elvis all the time. Absolutely wonderful and I still listen to it often. 5 stars!!!
shoesuedeblues wrote on January 14, 2010
Definately different from all the versions I have heard, but that was Elvis for you.
Deano1 wrote on May 23, 2011
Extremely well-delivered song by Elvis. I have listened to Glen Campbell's version and Dean Martin's version and I go with Elvis' version easily. Keep in mind, I am a big Deano fan (hence the nickname), but his version is too breezy. Glen's is okay, but a little dull. Elvis' vocals are perfect on this one.
Biffx wrote on August 31, 2011
Great song an all time favorite. Elvis s voice together with the tunes base line are just so perfectly matched.
Gorse wrote on November 14, 2012
Not one of my favourites from the '69 sessions and although it may be interpreted as sacrilege, I prefer the Dean Martin version. I think this one is too deliberate and sung a tad slow for my liking but is still more tha passable.
sugartummy wrote on March 07, 2013
A lot of lyrics. No wonder Elvis never did this one live. He should, 'cause it's a great song and interpretation.
Matthias Kuenzer wrote on August 01, 2013
It's knowing that your door is always open And your path is free to walk That makes me tend to leave my sleeping bag Rolled up and stashed behind your couch And it's knowing I'm not shackled By forgotten words and bonds And the ink stains that have dried upon some line That keeps you in the backroads By the rivers of my mem'ry That keeps you ever gentle on my mind It's not clinging to the rocks and ivy Planted on their columns now that binds me Or something that somebody said Because they thought we fit together walking It's just knowing that the world will not be cursing Or forgiving when I walk along some railroad track and find That you are moving on the backroads By the rivers of my mem'ry And for hours you're just gentle on my mind Though the wheat fields and the clothes lines And the junkyards and the highways come between us And some other woman crying to her mother 'Cause she turned and I was gone I still might run in silence tears of joy might stain my face And the summer sun might burn me 'til I'm blind But not to where I cannot see you walkin' on the backroads By the rivers flowing gentle on my mind I dip my cup of soup back from the gurglin' Cracklin' caldron in some train yard My beard a-rufflin'cold cowl A dirty hat pulled low across my face Through cupped hands 'round a tin can I pretend I hold you to my breast and find That you're waving from the backroads By the rivers of my mem'ry Ever smilin' ever gentle on my mind
shawnrw wrote on January 04, 2014
A excellent rendition of the Glenn Campbell classic. Elvis's version is not much different than Campbell's, although I do think Elvis puts some extra power behind it.
Pedro Nuno wrote on June 05, 2015
What a great tune and rendition. This music is a "late love" to me. Always liked it as an album track, but recently, maybe in the last 3/4 years i just become so in love with it that it's now a favorite. To bad that in the end the instrumental part is so small.
ElvisSacramento wrote on June 06, 2015
This is such a stellar, catchy and unique song and Elvis' rendition of it was good, but Elvis' rendition of this gem isn't the best rendition of it. The best renditions of this song that I've ever heard are definitely by John Hartford, Glen Campbell and Dean Martin. This is surely a five star song.
TheMemphisFan wrote on September 27, 2017
I've never cared much for this song. The musical sequencing is great in Elvis' recording, but the lyrics are too busy and confusing.
Cruiser621 wrote on September 28, 2017
One of those tunes that's ok but nothing to celebrate about; it sequences after "Power of My Love" on side 2 of the LP rather nicely, but other than that, Glenn Campbell's version was the best.
jaques marcello wrote on October 02, 2017
5 stars for this song
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