For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams is going all sadistic on us, with the theme words of “anguish, “misery,” and torment.” I decided to go way back into the 1960s with a song of anguish, misery, and torment: “Suspicion.”
“Suspicion” was written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman and was originally recorded by Elvis Presley in March 1962 and was a track on Presley’s album Pot Luck, which was released in June 1962. But after Elvis turned down releasing a single version of “Suspicion,” Terry Stafford recorded it himself in the style of Presley. He cut a demo of “Suspicion” at the Los Angeles studio of Bob Summers, who played all of the instruments except bass guitar, in May 1962. Stafford and his manager then pitched the song to record companies and local radio stations in the Los Angeles area.
In April 1964, when the Terry Stafford version of “Suspicion” made it to the Top Ten of the Billboard Hot 100, the Presley original was given a U.S. single release with “Kiss Me Quick” as the flip side, and it was “Kiss Me Quick” that was the favored side, reaching number 34 nationally. Presley’s version of “Suspicion” peaked at number 103.
“Suspicion” is a song about suspicion in a romantic dating relationship. The narrator is suspicious that there is someone else his lover is involved with. When they kiss it reminds him that he’s not certain if his girlfriend loves him. It undercuts her verbal assurances that she “really, really, really loves” him. The couple isn’t living together and every time he wants to be with her, she keeps putting him off until “tomorrow.” In the final verse he begs her to “wait until I drive all these foolish fears out of my mind.” He wonders why she is tormenting him, yet, as much as he is suspicious of her, he knows himself well enough to also suspect that he is just being overwrought and introducing needless drama into the romance.
Ev’rytime you kiss me
I’m still not certain that you love me
Ev’ry time you hold me
I’m still not certain that you care
Though you keep on saying
you really, really, really love me
do you speak the same words
To someone else when I’m not there
Suspicion torments my heart
Suspicion keeps us apart
Suspicion why torture me
Ev’rytime you call me
and tell me we should meet tomorrow
I can’t help but think that
you’re meeting someone else tonight
Why should our romance just
keep on causing me such sorrow?
Why am I so doubtful
whenever you’re out of sight?
Darling, if you love me,
I beg you wait a little longer
Wait until I drive all
these foolish fears out of my mind
How I hope and pray that
our love will keep on growing stronger
Maybe I’m suspicious
’cause true love is so hard to find
Here is the Elvis version of the song.