Elvis Presley opened his iconic 1968 television special with this fiery medley of “Trouble” and “Guitar Man.” By the end of the program, he’d reclaimed his title as The King of Rock and Roll.
Elvis Presley performed Trouble in the 1958 motion picture King Creole, and his recording was included on the soundtrack of the same name. "Trouble", featuring Scotty Moore on guitar, was one of only three songs written by Leiber and Stoller for the feature. Presley's performance in the film alludes to Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley. "If you're looking for trouble", he intones, "then look right in my face. Because I'm evil. My middle name is Misery". Music critic Maury Dean suggests that "Trouble", with Presley's "growling snarl", is one of the earliest proto-punk rock songs.
Ten years later, Presley opened his 1968 comeback special with this number. With dark, moody lighting highlighting his sneer, the sequence alluded to Presley's checkered past and "dangerous" image and served to prove that the singer was still "sexy, surly and downright provocative". The piece then segued into "Guitar Man" against a "Jailhouse Rock" backdrop featuring male dancers in cells. Presley performed the song several times on tour in the early 1970s and unofficial recordings of these performances have circulated.