As the '60s wore on, Elvis Presley's career seemed to be on permanent autopilot, drowned in kitsch and consigned to irrelevance. However, a live performance on NBC in late 1968 and a 1969 recording session in Memphis resulted in a remarkable comeback, returning Presley to the public eye and renewing his status as a chart-topping hitmaker. A full three years later, Presley was still going strong, enough to -- improbably, at this juncture -- release one of the defining singles of his career, the Dennis Linde-penned "Burning Love." It features the huge, shiny production that typified the post-comeback material, but even if it isn't as unfiltered, Presley gives a supremely passionate performance that rivals his most incendiary '50s work. The lyrics never depart from the theme of smoldering passion, but the chorus -- "Your kisses lift me higher/Like the sweet song of a choir" (which happens to be backing Presley's vocals) -- imparts a gospel-ish transcendence that elevates earthly love into a spiritual experience. There are several occasions where Presley allows the music to carry him away, humming and moaning to keep the feeling going in between lyrics. Yet, while he's larger than life, he's never over the top -- when you've reclaimed your title as the King of rock & roll, there's nothing to prove, and Presley's cool (but not complacent) assurance keeps things grounded amidst all the storm and fire. Drummer Ronnie Tutt straddles the two sensibilities well; he knows when to lay back and let the beat swing, but also when to drive the song with explosive bursts in between the vocals, and proves a major supporting player. The outro is a brilliantly irresistible capper to the rest of the song, with Presley repeating over and over "I'm just a hunk-a, hunk-a burnin' love"; decades later, the signature phrase is still indelibly stamped into popular consciousness. "Burning Love" would be Presley's final Top Ten hit, just missing the top of the charts after its release in 1972; it was, however, a memorable way to bow out.