Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll, is crowned this week’s winner of The Ultimate Mississippi Playlist competition. Elvis’ Heartbreak Hotel, his first million-selling single, received 61 percent of the votes in Round 8. The other nominees were no match. Emmylou Harris’ Miss the Mississippi and You got 18 percent of the votes, LeAnn Rimes’ How Do I Live, 15 percent, and Marty Stuart’s Hillbilly Rock, 6 percent.
Joining Heartbreak Hotel on The Ultimate Mississippi Playlist are Hello Darlin’ by Conway Twitty, Stand by Your Man by Tammy Wynette, Great Balls of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis, Come Monday by Jimmy Buffett, Ode to Billie Joe by Bobbie Gentry, The Thrill is Gone by B.B. King and Cross Road Blues by Robert Johnson, which were selected in earlier rounds of voting. The Playlist salutes the significance of Mississippi music during our state’s bicentennial celebration.
Next up, four new nominees representing hip-hop, country, blues and funk-rock: Black Beatles by Rae Sremmurd, If I Die Young by The Band Perry, Misty Blue by Dorothy Moore and Proud Mary by Ike and Tina Turner.
You can listen to the new entries and vote for your favorite on mississippitoday.org. You also can vote on our Twitter account. Every two weeks through the fall, a fresh ballot of four new nominees will be published.
To be nominated, songs must be about Mississippi or performed by Mississippi artists. All of the contenders were selected by Mississippi music experts, Mississippi Today and The ‘Sip magazine.
Contenders in Round 9
• Black Beatles, by the Tupelo hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd, debuted Sept. 13, 2016. Brothers Aaquil Ibinshaman “Slim Jxmmi” Brown and Khalif Malikibnsham “Swae Lee” Brown released the song as the third single on their second studio album, SremmLife 2. Produced by Mike Will Made It, the song features guest vocals from rapper Gucci Mane. Because Black Beatles became the unofficial theme song in the Mannequin Challenge, an internet video phenomenon in which people remain frozen in action like mannequins, Black Beatles also went viral. The song became Rae Sremmurd’s first No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 and first Top 10 in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. After many versions of the challenge began surfacing with Black Beatles as the background music, Rae Sremmurd paused a concert to do a Mannequin Challenge video live on stage.
• If I Die Young was written by Kimberly Perry, one-third of the Ridgeland-born sibling trio that make up country music group The Band Perry. Brothers Neil and Reid started out as roadies for a teenage Kimberly as she sang in her own band. Once they had united to form The Band Perry, the siblings joined a New Faces of Country tour in 2005. If I Die Young was released in June 2010 as the second single from the group’s self-titled debut album. Despite the somber subject matter — “Funny when you’re dead how people start listenin’ ” — If I Die Young became The Band Perry’s first No. 1 hit on the Hot Country Songs chart for the week of Dec. 11, 2010. By May 2011, the song had sold more than 2 million copies, the 11th country music song to do so.
• Misty Blue, written by Bob Montgomery in 1966 and recorded by Eddy Arnold, Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Simon, among others in various genres, was most successful in the 1976 blues version by Dorothy Moore. The Jackson native recorded the song in 1973, but Malaco Records wasn’t able to release it. Henry Stone of TK Productions picked up the single for national distribution and began promoting it. Initial airplay in Chicago and Washington, D.C., led to its April 1976 release in the South. Three months later, it was nominated for a Grammy Award and reached No. 2 on the R&B chart, No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 14 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 19 song for 1976. Misty Blue remains in the Top 10 on iTunes’ Top 4o blues chart.
• Proud Mary was written by John Fogerty and first recorded by his band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, in 1969. A year later, Ike and Tina Turner recorded quite a different version arranged by Soko Richardson and Ike Turner. The song starts off with a slow, sultry tone in which Tina warns the audience that she and the band are going to start it off “nice and easy” but finish it “nice and rough.” After the lyrics are first sung softly by the Turners, the song turns into a funk-rock vamp by Tina and the Ikettes. It took only one performance to know it would become one of Tina Turner’s signature songs. Ike and Tina’s Proud Mary reached No. 4 on the pop charts on March 27, 1971, two years to the week after Creedence Clearwater Revival’s version was at its peak. Ike, a native of Clarksdale, and Tina won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group in 1972 for their version.