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Elvis Presley's 40 Best Songs: Critic's Picks

Gary Null/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
Elvis Presley photographed in 1968.

Forty years ago this Wednesday (Aug 16), the day was shaping up to be just another hot and humid summer afternoon in Memphis, Tennessee. Then, about 3 p.m. in the afternoon -- the world changed forever for millions of Elvis Presley fans around the world with the sudden passing of “The King Of Rock and Roll.”

Though much has been written in the years since of his passing -- and the excessive lifestyle that contributed to it -- one thing that remains all of these years later is the music. There was no other musical performer who left such a unique and indelible stamp on the American music landscape than Elvis Aron Presley. Whether it was rock and roll, gospel or country, the singer did it all -- as nobody else before him or since.

To narrow Presley’s recorded legacy to a simple 40 recordings is quite the impossible task. Some prefer the era of the early Elvis, while some enjoy the '60s sounds after his discharge. And, to an extent his later catalog doesn’t get the respect it deserves -- he turned in covers of “My Way” and “Goodtime Charlie’s Got The Blues” that, at the very least, equaled the original -- with all due respect to the "Chairman of the Board." So, here are 40 Elvis Presley songs that can fit on any playlist, any time.

40. Elvis Presley - "Always On My Mind" (1972)

39. Elvis Presley - "For The Heart" (1976)

38. Elvis Presley - "Moody Blue" (1977)

37. Elvis Presley - "U.S. Male" (1968)

36. Elvis Presley - "Bossa Nova Baby" (1963)

35. Elvis Presley - "Way Down" (1977)

34. Elvis Presley - "Good Luck Charm" (1962)

33. Elvis Presley - "My Boy" (1975)

32. Elvis Presley - "Return To Sender" (1962)

31. Elvis Presley - "Separate Ways" (1972)

30. Elvis Presley - "In The Ghetto" (1969)

29. Elvis Presley - "A Little Less Conversation" (1968)

28. Elvis Presley - "Fever" (1960)

27. Elvis Presley - "It’s Midnight" (1974)

26. Elvis Presley - "Stuck On You" (1960)

25. Elvis Presley - "If I Can Dream" (1968)

24. Elvis Presley - "She’s Not You" (1962)

23. Elvis Presley - "Steamroller Blues" (1973)

22. Elvis Presley - "Kentucky Rain" (1970)

21. Elvis Presley - "Suspicious Minds" (1969)

20. Elvis Presley - "Little Sister" (1961)

19. Elvis Presley - "Too Much" (1957)

18. Elvis Presley - "Don’t Cry Daddy" (1969)

17. Elvis Presley - "Crying In The Chapel" (1965)

16. Elvis Presley - "Hard Headed Woman" (1958)

15. Elvis Presley - "Guitar Man" (1968)

14. Elvis Presley - "Hound Dog" (1956)

13. Elvis Presley - "One Night" (1958)

12. Elvis Presley - "Memories" (1969)

11. Elvis Presley - "Blue Suede Shoes" (1956)

10. Elvis Presley - "Burning Love" (1972)

9. Elvis Presley - "Love Me Tender" (1956)

8. Elvis Presley - "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" (1960)

7. Elvis Presley - "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear" (1957)

6. Elvis Presley - "Heartbreak Hotel" (1956)

5. Elvis Presley - "Can’t Help Falling In Love" (1961)

4. Elvis Presley - "Don’t Be Cruel" (1956)

3. Elvis Presley - "It’s Now Or Never" (1960)

2. Elvis Presley - "Jailhouse Rock" (1957)

1. Elvis Presley - "All Shook Up" (1957)