About The Song

Elvis recorded “Return to Sender” on March 27, 1962, at Radio Recorders in Hollywood. Presley regulars Scotty Moore, D. J. Fontana, and Dudley Brooks were among an unusually large contingent of musicians in the studio to provide instrumentation for the eclectic collection of songs in the Girls! Girls! Girls! soundtrack. Boots Randolph’s baritone saxophone provided the memorable opening notes to “Return to Sender.”

The extensive backing vocals of the Jordanaires were given emphasis in recording’s final mix. In fact, there is some irony in Colonel Parker bringing “Return to Sender” to Elvis. Parker often complained that the Jordanaires’ voices were too loud on RCA’s recordings and insisted that they be pushed to the background and Elvis’ voice brought to the forefront. In “Return to Sender,” however, the Jordanaires’ part is so strong that it, at the very least, suppresses Presley’s vocal and at times comes very near to overwhelming it.

Elvis’s recording had a 16-week run on Billboard’s Hot 100. It entered the chart at #68 on October 20, 1962. Two weeks later “Return to Sender” was in the top 10, where it remained for 10 weeks. It never reached #1, however. On November 17 it settled at #2, where it remained for five weeks. Presley’s record had the misfortune of being released at the same time as The Four Seasons’ “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” a blockbuster hit that kept “Return to Sender” out of the top spot for all of those five weeks. Elvis’ hit did reach #1 for one week on Cashbox’s Top 100 Singles chart. However, with the Hot 100 long considered the music industry standard for measuring single releases, “Return to Sender” is usually not included on Presley’s long list of #1 records.

See also  Elvis Presley - And I Love You So

Over five decades after his death, there are still two expressions that, when heard, immediately bring Elvis Presley to mind in the public consciousness—“All Shook Up” and “Return to Sender.” On what would have been Elvis’ 58th birthday on January 8, 1993, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp bearing his image. According toWikipedia, “Many stamp collectors mailed envelopes, franked with this stamp, to fictitious addresses in the hopes that they would receive their letters not only postmarked with the first day of issue, but also with a ‘return to sender’ postal marking.”

For me “Return to Sender” has remained a special Elvis record since I first heard it on the radio over 60 years ago. It was the first time I really listened to an Elvis Presley song. I mean really listened. And that really opened my eyes.

Video

Lyric

🎵 Let’s sing along with the lyrics! 🎤
Return to sender
Return to senderI gave a letter to the postman
He put it his sack
Bright in early next morning
He brought my letter backShe wrote upon it
Return to sender, address unknown
No such number, no such zoneWe had a quarrel, a lovers’ spat
I write I’m sorry but my letter keeps coming backSo then I dropped it in the mailbox
And sent it special D
Bright in early next morning
It came right back to meShe wrote upon it
Return to sender, address unknown
No such person, no such zone

This time I’m gonna take it myself
And put it right in her hand
And if it comes back the very next day
Then I’ll understand the writing on it

Return to sender, address unknown
No such number, no such zone

Return to sender
Return to sender
Return to sender
Return to sender

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