“Clean Up Your Own Back Yard”: Elvis, Like Dion, Gardens From Within

The synchronicity is startling:  Elvis and Dion would release single-only tracks that share the title “Your Own Back Yard” within 12 months of each other.  Spooky, isn’t it?

Elvis’s “Clean Up Your Own Back Yard” was, as the 45 picture sleeve tells us, the radio-ready track plucked from the MGM motion picture, “The Trouble With Girls.”  Embodying the “new social awareness” that was trending strongly at the time, this song was composed by the rabbit looper himself, Mac Davis, along with veteran west coast session guitarist, Billy Strange.

Back porch preacher preaching at me
Acting like he wrote The Golden Rule
Shaking his fist and speeching at me
Shouting from his soap box like a fool
Come Sunday morning he’s lying in bed
with his eyes all red from the wine in his head
wishing he was dead
when he ought to be heading for Sunday school —
Clean up your own back yard.

Elvis 45“Clean Up Your Own Back Yard” – which hit #35 on the pop chart – would also be included on the Australian EP for “Suspicious Minds” – Elvis’s last great single.

Elvis’s “back yard” hit was released in June, 1969 – Dion’s “back yard” 45 in June, 1970.