Elvis Presley
Vital cuts from rock 'n' roll's most formidable catalogue...

Elvis Presley wasn't one for titles.

A humble boy from America's deep South, he knew that rock 'n' roll began before he first touched a microphone stand.

But if rock 'n' roll has one definitive figure - a King, even - then it remains Elvis Aaron Presley.

From those urgent rockabilly cuts to the grandiose figure stalking Las Vegas, Elvis became one of the 20th century's greatest icons, someone whose name - no surname is necessary - is practically a by-word in rebellion, sex, social upheaval, and life generally spent without rules.

Elvis passed on 40 years ago today (August 16th) - here, London based vinyl selector DJ Diddy Wah picks out a few of the King's greatest ever cuts...

There’s been plenty written about Elvis Presley by people far more qualified and better at putting words together than me so, instead of a cack-handed attempt at a eulogy, here are six songs that never stray too far from my playbox.

'Jailhouse Rock'

Everyone knows this Leiber/Stoller classic from the film of the same name and it excites dancefloors to this day. Let’s rock!

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'Blue Suede Shoes'

Similar recognition level to 'Jailhouse Rock', the opening just gets people on their feet. I know it’s Carl Perkins’ song, but Elvis made it bigger.

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'Viva Las Vegas'

Great for ending a night on an upbeat note. Huge sound, recorded long before Elvis’s Vegas period and he never played it live.

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'My Baby Left Me'

Like his first Sun single, this was a blues song by Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup before Elvis, along with Scotty Moore, Bill Black and D.J. Fontana, recast it as perfect rockabilly.

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'Crawfish'

A sultry ode to the Louisiana variety of freshwater crustacean that, round where I grew up, is known as a yabby. A duet with Kitty White from the movie King Creole.

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'Can’t Help Falling In Love'

Super slow-grinder, end-of-the-night erection-section gear. I’ve played this pitched down to minus 8, for extra depth and length, to a packed Dalston pub at 3am.

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Catch DJ Diddy Wah on NTS.

DJ Diddy Wah joins the line up for A Date With Elvis at London's Strongroom Bar tonight (August 16th) - a tribute to the rock 'n' roll icon.

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