Elvis Presley's greatest songs of the 1970s

Elvis Presley released some of his most memorable work in his last decade despite facing significant personal challenges.
Sunset Boulevard/GettyImages

The 1960s proved to be a pivotal era in Elvis Presley's career. While he enjoyed significant box office success as a Hollywood actor, perhaps Elvis's crowning achievement in the 1960s was his ability to rejuvenate his singing and touring career.

By the late 1960s, Elvis was energized. He wanted to tour again and release songs that he felt passionate about. The 1970s allowed him to do that. He would become a Las Vegas legend and one of the most sought-after touring acts in the country. Perhaps, more importantly, he recorded a collection of songs that allowed his vocal talents to shine more so than ever before.

This is the third and final entry in my Elvis Greatest Songs series. As I stated in my previous two entries, my rankings are based solely on personal opinion. Elvis's 1970s catalog is phenomenal, and like his 1950s and 1960s work, it is difficult to rank. In the 1970s, Elvis cut far more ballads and slower songs that highlighted his vocal range. He was seasoned and his voice was better than ever. Due to the amount of material Elvis released between 1970 and 1979, it is only right to highlight 12 songs.

Elvis Presley's best songs from the 1970s ranked

12. "Heart of Rome"

"Heart of Rome", which was released in 1971, has been a personal favorite since 2020. I first heard it when taking my second trip to Graceland. I was in the car on my way to Memphis listening to an Elvis playlist that I did not create and this song popped up. As soon as I heard it, I became hooked. Not only were Elvis's vocals amazing, the song was beyond catchy. It's been a repeat song since.

11. "It's Only Love"

"It's Only Love", which was also released in 1971, is very similar to "Heart of Rome." Elvis boasts his vocal strength in a song that is a joy to listen to. His passion is felt in every note he sings, a gift Elvis has been known to have. I first heard "It's Only Love" probably about two years ago, and as soon as I heard it, I downloaded it. When I want to listen to 1970s Elvis, this song is a frequent pick.

10. "We Can Make The Morning"

Of all of the 1970s songs that demonstrate Elvis as a vocalist, "We Can Make The Morning" is at the top of the list. Listen to the last minute of this track, and you will see what I mean. "We Can Make The Morning" is a passionate song that evokes a lot of emotion. This type of song was Elvis's expertise in his later career. Like my favorite Elvis song, "Memories", "We Can Make The Morning" proves Elvis is the greatest singer of all time, in my humble opinion. This song is an experience.

9. "An American Trilogy"

"An American Trilogy" is one of Elvis's best-known 1970s songs for a reason. When listening to it, you feel it. His best performance of the song was during his 1973 Aloha from Hawaii concert, though the song was first released in 1972. When Elvis sings "hush little baby, don't you cry, you know your daddy's bound to die", you imagine a young Lisa Marie heartbroken after losing her beloved father only a few years later. If any song proves Elvis's ability as a performer, "An American Trilogy" is it.

8. "The Wonder of You"

"The Wonder of You", which was released in 1970, is a passionate love song that exemplifies Elvis's early Vegas years. He often performed this song at the Hilton and it was featured in his acclaimed concert documentary, "Elvis: That's The Way It Is." He was at the height of his powers when he recorded "The Wonder of You" and you can tell. I have been a fan of this song since high school and it has remained on my 1970s playlist throughout the years.

7. "The Next Step Is Love"

"The Next Step Is Love" is one of my favorite songs featured in "Elvis: That's The Way It Is." I have loved this song since high school. More importantly, it is one of the few Elvis songs I can enjoy with my mom. She is not an Elvis fan, but there are a few songs she appreciates. "The Next Step Is Love" is catchy and shows an energetic and romantic Elvis in his prime.

6. "When I'm Over You"

While I may have heard "When I'm Over You" years ago, I really just discovered this song within the past year. I have to give credit where credit is due, SiriusXM's Elvis Radio introduced me to this incredible 1971 track. As soon as I heard it, I immediately downloaded it. Elvis's vocals are top notch and in my opinion, this track represents the era well. It's akin to "Heart of Rome" and "It's Only Love."

5. "Burning Love"

You're probably thinking, finally a rock song. The truth of the matter is that Elvis recorded only a few rock songs in the 1970s. Yes, "Burning Love" is one of Elvis's most recognizable rock hits and is his most famous one from the 1970s. This song remains beloved by fans today for a reason, it's a catchy and enjoyable track. Not my favorite Elvis rock song by any stretch of the imagination, but it deserves a place in my Top 5.

4. "Just Pretend"

There's so much I can say about 1970's "Just Pretend." In my humble opinion, it is one of Elvis's most beautiful songs. When I hear this song, it evokes emotion every time. Elvis's vocals are strong, passionate, and comforting. While I was first introduced to this song in high school, it became a favorite in college. "Just Pretend" is another song, similar to "Memories" and "We Can Make The Morning", that proves Elvis mastered his craft, in my humble opinion. Listen to this song if you want to fully experience Elvis the vocalist.

3. "I've Lost You"

"I've Lost You" is one of those songs that I believe, if performed live today, would encourage audience interaction, whether that be the swaying of arms or turning on the phone flashlight. I have loved this song for so many years. In my opinion, it is one of Elvis's most passionate performances. I know I say that about almost every song, but that's just the kind of entertainer he was. While Elvis never wrote his own music, he made up for that through performance. When I listen to "I've Lost You", I often sing along and sway my arms in the air. It's that kind of song.

2. "Bridge Over Troubled Water"

Elvis did many covers in the early 1970s, "Sweet Caroline" and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" included. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" was his masterpiece, however. While Simon & Garfunkel's version is iconic, I have always preferred Elvis's interpretation. Elvis had a gift to make covers his own and create versions that could easily rival the originals. Elvis's powerful voice was made for songs like "Bridge..." and his cover of this classic ballad is one of my favorite records of all time.

1. "Kentucky Rain"

"Kentucky Rain", which was released in 1970, is one of my favorite Elvis songs of all time. Selecting "Kentucky Rain" as my number-one song from the 1970s was an easy decision. I have loved this song since I was a small child. I even vividly remember when I fell asleep on an airplane listening to it on my dad's iPod. "Kentucky Rain" is my mom's favorite Elvis song and a song we both love listening to. This song is personal and brings back many great memories. I still often fall asleep to "Kentucky Rain", more than fifteen years later.

More music news and analysis