#164: Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby by Elvis Presley

Peak Month: October 1964
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position ~ #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #16
YouTube: “Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby
Lyrics: “Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby
Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby” – Eddie Riff

Elvis Aaron Presley was born on in a two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8, 1935. His twin brother, Jessie Garon Presley, was stillborn. When he was eleven years old his parents bought him a guitar at the Tupelo Hardware Store. As a result Elvis grew up as an only child. He and his parents, Vernon and Gladys, moved to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1948. The young Presley graduated from high school in 1953. That year he stopped by the Memphis Recording Service to record two songs, including “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin”. Elvis’ musical influences were the pop and country music of the time, the gospel music he heard in church and at the all-night gospel sings he frequently attended, and the black R&B he absorbed on historic Beale Street as a Memphis teenager. In 1954, Elvis began his singing career recording “That’s All Right” and “Blue Moon Of Kentucky” at Sun Records in Memphis.

In late 1955, his recording contract was sold to RCA Victor. In 1956 he had his first #1 record titled “Heartbreak Hotel.” He had a sound and style that uniquely combined his diverse musical influences and blurred and challenged the social and racial barriers of the time. Bill Haley & His Comets ushered in the rock ‘n roll into mainstream culture in 1955 when “Rock Around The Clock,” appeared in Blackboard Jungle – a film about juvenile delinquents and anti-social behavior in an inter-racial school. The song became an anthem for teenage rebellion.

However, it was Elvis in 1956 who ensured rock ‘n roll was here to stay with his swiveling hips and R&B infused songs with sexually suggestive lyrics. He had his first number one hit with “Heartbreak Hotel” in February 1956. He starred in 33 successful films, made history with his television appearances and specials, and knew great acclaim through his many, often record-breaking, live concert performances on tour and in Las Vegas. Globally, Elvis Presley has sold over one billion records, more than any other recording artist.

Between 1956 and 1957, Elvis Presley continued his chart-topping ways in Vancouver (BC) with “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You”, “Hound Dog”, “Don’t Be Cruel”, “Love Me Tender”, “Too Much”, “All Shook Up”, “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear”, and “Mean Woman Blues” peaking at #1.

During this chart-topping streak, one of Presley’s Top Ten hits in Vancouver was “(There’ll Be) Peace In The Valley“. Another was “Treat Me Nice”.

Elvis kept on topping the charts into 1958 with “Don’t”, “Wear Your Ring Around My Neck” and “Hard Headed Woman”. He also starred in several films. His second film, Loving You, was released in 1957. Though it was not featured the film, the song “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?” made it onto the Loving You Soundtrack album.

But during his chart-topping ways, he got a letter from Uncle Sam. Sergeant Elvis Presley served with the U.S. Army from March 24, 1958, to March 2, 1960. Meanwhile, Presley managed to climb to the top of the charts once in 1959 with “Big Hunk o’ Love”.

His return to civilian life saw a return to a string of successful single, album and film releases. In April 1960 Elvis topped the Billboard Hot 100 with “Stuck On You. His followup, “It’s Now Or Never”, also topped the pop charts in August 1960, including in Vancouver. The B-side, “A Mess Of Blues”, also charted on CKWX as a double-sided number-one hit.

In November 1960, Elvis was back at number-one with “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”. His chart-topping ways continued in March 1961 with “Surrender”. The album from his first film on return from serving in Germany, G.I. Blues, was a best-seller at the box office (#2 on Variety Magazine for the year 1960) and a number one album in October 1960. He released His Hand In Mine, a collection of sacred gospel music and in November, 1960, began to record his 6th studio album, Something For Everybody. It went on to become his 13th hit album.

In September 1961, in Vancouver Presley topped the charts with “Marie’s The Name (His Latest Flame)” and “Little Sister”. Late in the fall the King of Rock n’ Roll had another Top Ten hit titled “Can’t Help Falling In Love”. The song was from the soundtrack from the film Blue Hawaii. The title track charted on the record surveys on Top40 radio in Vancouver in the winter of 1961.

In 1962 Presley released his seventh studio album, Potluck. From that album the song “Kiss Me Quick” would peak at #34 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964. But his song, “Suspicion”, climbed onto the CFUN chart in the summer of 1962. Also in 1962 Elvis was filming a number of movies. The first to be released in the summer of ’62 was Kid Galahad, which included the song “King Of The Whole Wide World”. Presley also enjoyed hit singles with “Good Luck Charm” and “She’s Not You”.

His next film, Girls! Girls! Girls!, was released in late October. However, the debut single from the soundtrack, “Return To Sender”, was released in September prior to the film appearing in theaters. In Vancouver (BC) the title track from the film, “Girls! Girls! Girls!” also charted on the C-FUNTASTIC FIFTY.

Elvis continued to enjoy more Top Ten hits between 1963 and 1964. This included “One Broken Heart For Sale”, “(You’re The) Devil In Disguise”, “Witchcraft”, “Bossa Nova Baby”, “Such A Night” and “Ain’t That Loving You Baby”.

Ain't That Lovin' You Baby by Elvis Presley

“Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby” was recorded by Elvis Presley on June 10, 1958, but wasn’t released as a single until September 1964. The song was written by Clyde Otis and Ivory Joe Hunter in 1956. It was originally recorded in ’56 by obscure R&B singer Eddie Riff.

Clyde Lovern Otis was born in 1924 in Prentiss, Mississippi. He was a United States Marine during World War II. In 1952, he penned “How Blind Can You Be” for the Orioles. Others who recorded his songs into the mid-50s include The Four Tunes, Faye Adams, Varetta Dillard, The Moonglows, The Five Keys, The Cues, Roy Hamilton, Clyde McPhatter, Ruth Brown, LaVern Baker, Georgia Gibbs, Connie Francis, Ivory Joe Hunter, Wade Flemons and Priscilla Bowman.

In 1956 Otis wrote “That’s All There Is to That”, a Top 20 hit for Nat “King” Cole on both the pop and R&B charts. In 1957 Otis co-wrote “The Stroll”, a number-one hit for The Diamonds in early 1958, and “Looking Back” for Nat “King” Cole later that year. In 1959, Otis co-wrote “It’s Just a Matter of Time” for Brook Benton. Otis collaborated with Benton, cowriting “Endlessly”, “Kiddio”, and “The Boll Weevil Song”. Clyde Otis also produced “Broken Hearted Melody” for Sarah Vaughan, a Top Ten hit in 1959. As well, Otis cowrote the 1960 duets recorded by Brook Benton and Dinah Washington “Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes)” and “A Rockin’ Good Way”. He also produced Dinah Washington’s Grammy Award winning “What A Difference A Day Makes” and wrote her #1 R&B hit in 1960 “This Bitter Earth”. In 1961, Clyde Otis produced a Top Ten cover of the Roy Hamilton R&B classic “Hurt”, which peaked at #4 for Timi Yuro.

Clyde Otis also had songs he wrote recorded by Sam Cooke, King Curtis, B.B. King, Mary Wells, Bobby Darin, Aretha Franklin and Johnny Mathis. In 1994, Otis received a Grammy Award for producing Natalie Cole’s recording of “Take A Look”. He joined Mercury Records in 1958 as an Artists and repertoire (A&R) man. In this capacity, Otis was responsible for talent scouting and overseeing the artistic development of recording artists, as well as marketing and promotion of new releases. Clyde Otis was among the first African-Americans to be hired by a major record label in A&R. In 2008, Otis died at the age of 83.

Ivory Joe Hunter was born in Kirbyville, Texas, in 1914. Ivory Joe was his given name, not a nickname nor a stage name. According to Hunter, when he was born his parents thought he “looked just like the baby on the outside of the Castoria Ivory bottle, so they called [him] Ivory.” By 1927, at the age of 13, Ivory Joe was a talented pianist playing in the school orchestra. He recorded his first record in 1933 when he was just 19-years-old. From 1940-42, Hunter had his own radio show on KFDM in Beaumont, Texas. He moved to Los Angeles in 1942 and recorded “Blues At Sunrise” in 1945. Backed by Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers, the song became a #3 hit on the Billboard R&B chart that same year on Ivory Records. In 1947 his “Pretty Mama Blues” became his first number-one hit on the R&B charts. In the late ’40s, Ivory Joe Hunter charted another eight songs into the Top Ten on R&B charts in the USA. The biggest sellers among these were “Guess Who” and “Jealous Heart”, which both peaked at #2. In 1949, Hunter had five Top Ten charting songs.

In 1950, Ivory Joe Hunter charted another five songs into the Top Ten, including number-one hits “I Almost Lost My Mind” and “I Need You So”. But he struggled to match his chart successes from 1947-1950, waiting until 1955 before he had another charting song. In 1956, his most commercially successful recording, “Since I Met You Baby”, became his fourth number-one hit on the R&B chart, and climbed to #12 on the Billboard pop chart. While “Empty Arms” became a #2 hit for Ivory Joe in 1957. A series of non-album single releases failed to get the attention of record buyers in the late ’50s. Hunter he was swept away by the new rock ‘n roll artists, as were many other classic R&B recording artists.

Throughout his career, Ivory Joe Hunter wrote over 2,000 songs. He died in November 1974, just one month after he turned 64. However, the New York Times, in error, shaved a year off his age when they wrote an obituary.

“Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby” is a song about devotion and letting a gal know she is number-one in her man’s life: “I could ride around the world in an old oxcart, and never let another girl thrill my heart. Ain’t that lovin’ you baby….If you gave me nine lives like a tommy cat,
I’d give ’em all to you and never take one back. Ain’t that lovin’ you baby.”

Ain't That Lovin' You Baby by Elvis Presley

The song was written by two African-American men who, though they became successful in the music business, both had poor beginnings. A line about riding around the world in an old oxcart is indicative of scenes both would know. Prentiss, Mississippi, where Clyde Otis was born, was a town of 500 in 1924. It was rural and agriculture was the main economy. And life for African-Americans in southern pre-Civil Rights Mississippi was one of hard times. Ivory Joe Hunter, grew up in Kirbyville, Texas, which was an unincorporated town until he turned 12 years of age. A lumber town in Jasper County in east Texas, near the Louisiana border, life in Kirbyville was hard for most people. Riding around the world in an old oxcart like the one pictured above, would give a man a bad back in short order. But, when the song was recorded in 1956, the image of riding in an old oxcart had some resonance. You’d be poor enough not to be able to afford a car, so hitching a ride in an oxcart was the next best thing.

“Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby” peaked at #1 in Vancouver (BC), Miami, Raleigh (NC), Tucson (AZ), St. Louis, and Hamilton (ON), #2 in Springfield (OH), Winnipeg (MB), Akron (OH), and Louisville (KY), #3 in Buffalo, San Francisco, and Toronto, #4 in Toledo (OH), and San Jose (CA), #5 in Denver, Detroit, Grand Rapids (MI), Milwaukee (WI), and New Haven (CT), #6 in Saginaw (MI), Edmonton (AB), Grande Prairie (AB), Richmond (VA), Dayton (OH), Phoenix, #7 in Reading (PA), Lancaster (PA), #8 in Houston, Los Angeles, Battle Creek (MI), and Baltimore, #9 in Boston, Lansing (MI), Newport News (VA), Cincinnati (OH), Eureka (CA), Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Columbus (GA), #10 in Allentown (PA), Springfield (MA), El Cajon (CA), Hartford (CT), and Sacramento (CA).

In 1965, Presley returned to the Top Ten with a cover of the 1953 R&B hit, “Crying In The Chapel”, first recorded by Sonny Til and the Orioles. He also had a #2 hit in Vancouver with “Puppet On A String” from the film Girl Happy. 

After 1965, Elvis found it increasingly challenging to enter the Top 30. Between the end of 1965 and the winter of 1968 Presley released 22 singles and only four of these made the Billboard Hot 100’s Top 30. But in 1969, Presley had his best year since 1962 charting three singles into the Top Ten with “In The Ghetto”, “Suspicious Minds” and “Don’t Cry Daddy”. Between 1970 and 1983 Elvis released 36 singles, including eight posthumous singles. Of these, “Burning Love” and “The Wonder Of You” were his most successful and six others made the Top 20 on the Billboard charts.

Over his recording career Elvis Presley earned 14 Grammy Award nominations including for Record of the Year with “A Fool Such As I” (1959) and “Are You Lonesome Tonight” (1960) and won six Hall of Fame Awards. After his comeback tour in 1968 Presley had continued to tour extensively, with 168 concerts in 1973, a pace he kept through the mid-70’s. By 1976 he was suffering from multiple ailments: glaucoma, high blood pressure, liver damage, and an enlarged colon, all believed to be related to prescription drug abuse. He died on August 16, 1977, and a funeral was attended by over 80,000 mourners. His legacy continues to live on. There were also numerous sightings of Elvis including around the 40th anniversary of his death in 2017.

July 1, 2022
Ray McGinnis

graceland.com (Elvis bio)
Elvis Presley: Rock’s First Icon,” Rolling Stone, September 22, 1977.
Paul Lichter, The Boy Who Dared to Rock: The Definitive Elvis, (Garden City, NY: Dolphin Books, 1978).
Elizabeth Nix, “7 Fascinating Facts About Elvis Presley,” History.com, July 1, 2014
Wendy Sauer, Elvis Presley: A Complete Reference, (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1984).
Peter Keepnews, “Clyde Otis, 83, Executive and Songwriter, Dies,” New York Times, January 18, 2008.
Ruth Bonapace, “Songwriter Gets Turn in the Spotlight Finally,” New York Times, February 27, 1994.
Ivory Joe Hunter, Blues Pianist, 63,” New York Times, November 10, 1974.
C-FUNTASTIC FIFTY,” CFUN 1410 AM, Vancouver, BC, October 26, 1964.

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