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"Trouble" is a blues song written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, originally performed by Elvis Presley in 1958 and covered by a number of artists in later years, most notably by Amanda Lear.

Song by Elvis Presley
from the album King Creole
ReleasedJuly 29, 1958
RecordedJanuary 15, 1958
GenreRock and roll, blues
LabelRCA Victor
Songwriter(s)Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller


Elvis Presley performed the song 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.[1]

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".[2][3] 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. In 1975, Presley recorded "T-R-O-U-B-L-E" for a single, but this is a completely different song.

The song was included in the musical revue Smokey Joe's Cafe.


The song uses the same "stop-time" riff as Muddy Waters' 1954 song "Hoochie Coochie Man" written by Willie Dixon. This particular riff is one of the most recognizable lick in blues, and is also heard in Bo Diddley's "I'm a man" (1955) and Muddy Waters' "Mannish boy" (1955).

Indeed, the key feature of the song is the use of stop time, or pauses in the music, during the first half of the progression. This musical device is commonly heard in New Orleans jazz, when the instrumentation briefly stops, allowing for a short instrumental solo before resuming.

Amanda Lear versionEdit

"La Bagarre"
1976 West German single cover
Single by Amanda Lear
from the album I Am a Photograph
B-side"Lethal Leading Lady"
GenrePop rock
LabelPolydor, Creole, Ariola
Songwriter(s)Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Vline Buggy
Amanda Lear singles chronology
"La Bagarre"
"Blood and Honey"

Singer and model Amanda Lear recorded a French-language version of "Trouble", retitled as "La Bagarre", with French lyrics written by Vline Buggy (originally recorded by Johnny Hallyday in 1962). The cover was released as her debut single in France and Belgium in 1975 by Polydor Records, with "Lethal Leading Lady" on the side B, a song co-written by Lear. The single turned out a commercial failure and in 1976, an English-language version with original lyrics was released in the UK by Creole Records and other parts of Europe, again to no chart success.

Lear performed the song in an episode of Musikladen aired 29 May 1976 in West Germany, clad in black leather outfit, alluding to Presley's tough 1950s image.[4] The performance led Ariola Records to re-release "La Bagarre" and sign her to a six-album record contract. The single was also promoted by an appearance in German TV show 3 nach 9, where Amanda had to contradict the transsexual rumours.[5]

"La Bagarre" was included on Lear's 1977 debut album I Am a Photograph. However, it was removed from the track listing of subsequent pressings in favour of "Queen of Chinatown". In 1980, "La Bagarre" was re-released with "Le Chat de gouttière" on side B, a song with both music and lyrics written by Lear and recorded for francophone markets.

Lear recorded the English-language version of the song for her 2014 album of Elvis Presley covers, My Happiness.

Track listingEdit

A. "La Bagarre" – 3:40
B. "Lethal Leading Lady" – 2:50
A. "Trouble" – 3:40
B. "Lethal Leading Lady" – 2:50
A. "La Bagarre" – 3:34
B1. "Le Chat de gouttière" – 3:24
B2. "Insomnia" – 3:15

Other versionsEdit


Figure skating world champion Javier Fernández performed part of his Elvis Presley free program to "Trouble" during the 2016–17 season[15], when he won his 5th consecutive European Championships gold medal. The program also included sections of "Fever" and "Jailhouse Rock".


  1. ^ Dean, Maury. Rock N Roll Gold Rush: A Singles Un-Cyclopedia p. 438.
  2. ^ Doll, Susan. Understanding Elvis: Southern Roots vs. Star Image 1998. p. 154.
  3. ^ Doll, Susan. Elvis for Dummies 2009. p. 182.
  4. ^ "La Bagarre Amanda Lear". YouTube. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  5. ^ "AMANDA LEAR – INTERVIEW "3NACH9" (GERMANY 29/05/1976)". 3 nach 9 (in English and German). Retrieved 2012-08-25.
  6. ^ "Amanda Lear – La Bagarre / Lethal Leading Lady (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  7. ^ "LA BAGARRE – 1975 France". Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  8. ^ "Trouble / Lethal Leading Lady by Amanda Lear : Reviews and Ratings – Rate Your Music". Retrieved 2011-05-06.
  9. ^ "TROUBLE – 1976 Spain". Retrieved 2011-05-06.
  10. ^ "Amanda Lear - La Bagarre / Le Chat De Gouttière / Insomnia (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 2018-01-13.
  11. ^ "LA BAGARRE / LE CHAT DE GOUTTIERE 1980 France". Retrieved 2018-01-13.
  12. ^ Auslander, Phillip. Performing Glam rock: Gender and Theatricality in Popular Music 2006. pg 205
  13. ^ Christgau, Robert. Rock albums of the '70s: a critical guide 1990. pg 312
  14. ^ "The Official Charts Company – Gillan – Trouble". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  15. ^ "Biography". 2017-04-06. Archived from the original on 2017-04-06. Retrieved 2017-05-10. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)