Heartbreak Hotel

Album: Elvis' 30 #1 Hits (1956)
Charted: 2 1
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  • The lyrics were written by a steel guitar player from Nashville named Tommy Durden, who was once a dishwasher repairman. Durden, who died in 1999, said he was inspired by a newspaper story about a man who killed himself and left behind a note saying only, "I walk a lonely street." Another Nashville songwriter named Mae Boren Axton wrote the music, and Elvis' manager Tom Parker arranged for Elvis to receive a songwriting credit in exchange for singing it. This meant that royalties were split between Durden, Axton, and Elvis. In a 1982 interview, Durden said this song "has paid the rent for more than 20 years."
  • Mae Axton was living in Jacksonville when this song was written. She got a local country singer named Glenn Reeves to do the demo for Elvis, who did the demo the way he thought Elvis would do it. Elvis liked it, and did it exactly that way. By the way, the country singer didn't care for Elvis and thought that "the boy wouldn't go far." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Barbara - Jacksonville, FL
  • The book Untold Gold: The Story Behind Elvis' Number One Hits claims the song was inspired by a 1955 Miami Herald story about a man who leapt from a hotel window after burning all evidence of his identity. His suicide letter had a single line: "I walk a lonely road."

    Intrigued, we searched for said article at the Miami Dade library, hoping to unearth this song story. After a great deal of searching and many conversations with library historians, we concluded that this article did not exist, and that the story was an urban legend.

    In 2016, Rolling Stone reported that the famous line, "I walk a lonely street," came not from a suicide note, but more likely the writings of a man who was killed while robbing a liquor store. This man, Alvin Krolik, made news when he turned himself in to police in 1953 following a crime spree. A passage from his unpublished memoir was mentioned in some stories:

    This is the story of a person who walked a lonely street. I hope this will help someone in the future.

    In 1955, he tried to rob a liquor store in El Paso, Texas and was shot and killed by the owner. This story also made news, with some papers running headlines with variations on the "Walked a Lonely Street" line: the El Paso Herald-Post went with "Story of Person Who Walked Lonely Street."

    None of these stories appeared in the Miami Herald, but it's likely that the songwriters came across it in some publication.
  • The first Elvis recordings were done at Sun Studios in Memphis, as he was signed to Sam Phillips' Sun Records. On November 21, 1955, RCA Victor bought his contract from Sun for $35,000.

    The first RCA sessions were held on January 10, 1956 at their Nashville studios, and that's where Elvis recorded this song. His backing musicians were his mainstays Scotty Moore on electric guitar and Bill Black on bass, D.J. Fontana on drums, Floyd Cramer on piano and Chet Atkins on acoustic guitar.
  • The song got a boost when Elvis performed it on Stage Show, a TV series hosted by big band leaders and Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, on February 11, 1956, his third appearance on the show. On April 3, he performed it on The Milton Berle Show, and on April 21 the song reached #1 in the US, where it stayed for eight weeks.
  • Elvis was 21 years old when this song was released on January 27, 1956. He had released a few singles and gained a large following in the South, but "Heartbreak Hotel" made him a national sensation. It was his first #1 hit on the US Billboard Pop chart, and it also topped the Country chart. Over the next seven years, he always had at least one song in the Top 10 on the Pop chart.
  • Elvis first performed this song live in December 1955, telling club owner Rob King, "This is gonna be my first hit."
  • This was Elvis' first release on his new label, RCA Victor. He was an unproven talent at the time, and some executives at the label thought it was a bad choice, since both musically and lyrically it veered from convention (they didn't think teenage girls would want to hear about a guy "so lonely he could die").

    "They all told me it didn't sound like anything, it didn't sound like his other records and I'd better not release it, better go back and record it again," producer Steve Sholes said.
  • There was a "Heartbreak Hotel" in Memphis located across the street from Graceland, which has since closed. Rooms featured '50s decor and framed photos of Elvis. For a romantic getaway, you could stay in the Burning Love Suite.
  • This earned Elvis his first Gold record, given for sales of over one million singles.
  • Billboard presented Elvis with a "Double Triple Crown" award for simultaneously reaching #1 on all six of their pop and country charts with this song. The song also reached the Top 5 on the R&B chart.
  • This song had a huge impact in England, including on the four teenagers who would become The Beatles. George Harrison recalled hearing it on his bike when he was passing by a house where it was playing on a turntable, and being blown away. "In the 1950s, America was more cool than Britain, with everybody having their little Chevys or Cadillacs," he told Timothy White in 1992. "We were coming out of a world war, and it was depression. So for us, that was like the sound of hope."
  • Bill Clinton's first US presidential campaign received a much-needed boost when he played "Heartbreak Hotel" on the saxophone as a guest on The Arsenio Hall Show. During that campaign against the first George Bush, Clinton said, "You know, Bush is always comparing me to Elvis in sort of unflattering ways. I don't think Bush would have liked Elvis very much, and that's just another thing that's wrong with him."
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd released an acoustic version on their album Endangered Species. In a low-budget arthouse movie called Grutzi Elvis, Clash singer Joe Strummer did soundtrack work for the film, and recorded two cover versions of the song - a Cajun style acoustic version with German session musicians, and a more rocking version rumored to be an out-take from recording sessions from the Clash. He also regularly covered the song with his pre-Clash band, the 101ers.
  • This was first offered to The Wilburn Brothers, a country music duo who had a handful of hit records in the '50s and '60s and formed the music publishing company that signed an up-and-comer named Loretta Lynn. The brothers turned down the tune, calling it "strange and almost morbid."
  • This was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1995.
  • Willie Nelson and Leon Russell had a #1 Country hit with a version they recorded for their 1979 duet album, One For The Road. Although Nelson had met Mae Axton years earlier when he was a disk jockey in Vancouver and admired her work, it was Russell's idea to cover the tune.

    "It was one of those weeks where we recorded and filmed at the same time, I think, a hundred and four or five tracks at Leon's place there in LA. So every time we'd get through with one song, we'd say, 'Well, now what do you want to do?'," Nelson recalled in The Billboard Book Of Number One Country Hits.

    "One of those times, Leon suggested 'Heartbreak Hotel.' It was Leon's feel that we used on that particular record. He was playin' piano at the time, and I sort of followed his lead. Usually, the one who suggested the song had to set the feel."
  • Ann Nesby, the former lead singer of the gospel/R&B ensemble Sounds of Blackness, recorded this for the soundtrack of Baz Luhrmann's 2022 biopic, Elvis. Austin Butler, who plays the title role, sings it in the movie, which also features Elvis' original version.

Comments: 48

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1956 {June 22nd} Elvis' "Heartbreak Hotel" peaked at #2 {for 2 weeks} on the United Kingdom's Official Singles chart, the two weeks it was at #2, the #1 record for both of those weeks was "I'll Be Home" by Pat Boone...
    "Heartbreak Hotel" was the first of seventeen records by Elvis to peak at #2 in the United Kingdom...
    May the King R.I.P. {1935 - 1977}...
    And from the 'For What It's Worth' department, the remainder of the UK Top 10 on June 22nd, 1956 was:
    At #3. "Lost John/Stewball" by Lonnie Donegan
    #4. "Hot Diggity {Dog Ziggity Boom)" by Perry Como
    #5. "No Other Love by Ronnie Hilton
    #6. "The Saints Rock 'N Roll" by Billy Haley and his Comets
    #7. "Moonglow and the Theme from 'Picnic'" by Morris Stoloff
    #8. "My September Love" by David Whitfield
    #8. "A Tear Fell" by Teresa Brewer
    #10. "Blue Suede Shoes" by Elvis Presley
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 8th 1956, Elvis performed a matinee and an evening show at the Denver Coliseum in Denver, Colorado...
    At the time his "Heartbreak Hotel" was at #1 on Billboard's Best-Sellers in Stores chart, "Blue Suede Shoes" by Carl Perkins was at #2, while Elvis' "I Forgot to Remember to Forget" held the #3 spot...
    "Heartbreak Hotel" was also at #1 on Billboard's Most by Jockeys chart, and again "Blue Suede Shoes" was at #2...
    But there was a flip-flop on Billboard's Most Played on Juke Boxes chart; "Blue Suede Shoes was at #1 and "Heartbreak Hotel" at #2.
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaScotty's playing on this song is...... also if you want a laugh or two, find the Heart Brake Hotel version by Homer and Jethro.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 17 1956, Carl Perkins made his first TV appearance and performed "Blue Suede Shoes" on the ABC-TV program 'Ozark Jubilee'...
    At the time his "Blue Suede Shoes" was tied at #9 on Billboard's Top 100 chart, and the song it was tied with, Elvis' "Heartbreak Hotel"...
    Both record entered the Top 100 on the same day, February 16th, 1956, "Heartbreak Hotel" at #68 and "Blue Suede Shoes" at #83...
    And on May 3rd, 1956 "Blue Suede Shoes" it peaked at #2 {for 4 weeks} on Billboard's Most Played in Juke Boxes chart; and record at #1 for those 4 weeks was, you guessed it, "Heartbreak Hotel" by The King...
    R.I.P. Mr. Perkins {1932 - 1998} and to The King {1935 - 1977}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 10th 1956, the latest issue of Billboard Magazine hit the news stands; and on page #54, RCA-Victor Records had a half-page ad promoting their latest artist, the ad read 'The New Singing Rage!!! Elvis Presley'...
    At the time Elvis's debut charted record, "Heartbreak Hotel", was in its first week on Billboard's Best Seller in Stores chart, it was at #19...
    See site: https://books.google.com/books/about/Billboard.html?id=4R4EAAAAMBAJ&q=ELVIS+PRESLEY
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 16th 1956, Elvis performed three shows at the Carolina Theater in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; show times were at 4:30, 7:00 and 9:00 p.m.
    And on this very same day he entered Billboard's Top 100 chart for the first time when "Heartbreak Hotel" debut at #68; nine weeks later on April 19th it would become the first of his eighteen #1 records on the Top 100, and it remain on the chart for over a half year {27 weeks}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyWhat to believe? On January 8th 1946, Elvis celebrated his 11th birthday. As a birthday gift his mother purchased a guitar for $12.95 but what Elvis really wanted was a rifle...
    Then again, another site claimed the guitar cost $7.75, while a third site claimed that Elvis was hoping for a new bicycle and that it was his 10th birthday...
    But all three sites did agree that the guitar was purchased from the Tupelo Hardware Store...
    A little over ten years and one month later on February 16th, 1956 his debut Top 100 record, "Heartbreak Hotel", entered the chart at #68... And also that very same week, Carl Perkins' first Top 100 record, "Blue Suede Shoes", debut at #83.
  • George from London UkThank you for this enjoyable page. I've been researching the origin of this great song for the past four years and in 2016 I intend to publish my findings in "Walk A Lonely Street: Elvis Presley, Country Music & The True Story of Heartbreak Hotel".

    The truth isn't necessarily what you expect … there is a tale to be told …


    (Oh, and if Wilma from Gainesville is able to contact me through that website I would be delighted to exchange thoughts.)
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 31st 1956, Elvis was a guest on the 'Roy Orbison & the Teen Kings' TV program on station KOSA-TV in Odessa, Texas...
    At the time the King's "Heartbreak Hotel" was at #1* on Billboard's Top 100 chart...
    Plus he also had four other songs on the Top 100; "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" {at #16}, "My Baby Left Me" {at #31}, "Blue Suede Shoes" {at #66}, and "Money, Honey" {at #93}...
    * According to Billboard it was actually tied at #1 with "The Wayward Wind" by Gogi Grant.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 23rd 1955, Elvis auditioned for TV's "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts" in New York City, he was rejected because his performance was considered weak...
    Exactly one year later on March 23rd, 1956 his debut RCA record, "Heartbreak Hotel", was tied at #8* on Billboard's Top 100 chart; and on April 19th, 1956 it became the first of his eighteen #1 records on the Top 100...
    * The record it was tied with at #8 was "The Great Pretender" by the Platters.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 6th 1954, Elvis filed his first federal income tax return; his income for 1953 was $786.59 from Precision Tool Inc. and $129.74 from M.B. Parker...
    Exactly two years later on March 6th, 1956 his "Heartbreak Hotel"* would be at #23 on Billboard's Top 100 chart, and the B-side, "I Was the One" was at #31...
    * Plus at the time "Heartbreaker Hotel" was at #15 on Billboard's Best Sellers in Stores chart...
    {See posts below}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 18th 1956, Elvis performed "I Was The One" on the Dorsey Brothers' CBS-TV program 'The Stage Show' in New York City...
    Five days later on February 23rd, 1956 it entered Billboard's Top 100 chart at position #84*; and on March 22nd it peaked at #23 for four weeks...
    The week it peak at #23 the record's A-side, "Heartbreak Hotel", was at #8 on the chart, and four weeks later on April 19th, 1956 it would become the first of Elvis' eighteen #1 records on the Top 100 {he also had five records peak at #2}...
    R.I.P. to The King {1935 - 1977}...
    * "I Was The One" was actually tied at #84 with "I've Changed My Mind A Thousand Times" by Kay Starr, she was also an RCA Victor artist.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 9th 1955, Elvis performed at the B & I Club in Swifton, Arkansas...
    At that performance he performed "Heartbreak Hotel", it was the first time he sang the song in public; and four months later it would be his first #1 record on Billboard's Top 100 chart, it remained in the top spot for eight weeks and stayed on the chart for over a half-year {27 weeks}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyFrom the November 13th, 1954 issue of Billboard Magazine...
    'The Most Promising New Hillbilly or Country & Western Artists of 1954'...
    #1. Tommy Collins
    #2. Justin Tubb
    #3. Jimmy and Johnny
    #4. Maxine & Ed Brown
    #5. Rita Robbins
    #6. Skeeter Bonn
    #7. Jimmy Newman
    #8. Elvis Presley
    #9. Willie Jackson
    #10. Faron Young
    At the time Elvis had yet to make the national charts*; but on Billboard's Country & Western Territorial Best Sellers chart for Memphis, TN his "Good Rockin' Tonight' was at #3...
    * Fifteen months later on February 23rd, 1956 he would make Billboard's Best Sellers in Stores national chart for the first time with "Heartbreak Hotel"; it entered at position #19.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 30th 1966, "Heartbreak Hotel" by Roger Miller entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #92; it remained on the chart for a grand total of four weeks, peaking at #84...
    It fared a little better on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart were it reached #55...
    Between 1960 and 1986 he had thirty-nine records make the Hot Country Singles chart; eleven made the Top 10 with two reaching #1, "Dang Me" in 1964 and "King of the Road" in 1965...
    He just missed having a third #1 when "Engine, Engine #9" peaked at #2 in 1965...
    Roger Dean Miller, Sr. passed away on October 25th, 1992 at the young age of 56...
    May he R.I.P.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 1st 1957, Elvis performed in concert at the Sick's Stadium in Seattle, Washington...
    He opened his 15 song set with "Heartbreak Hotel"; before he sang the 9th song in the set he claimed it would be his next single, the song was "Fool's Hall of Fame", but he never recorded it and it was released on the Sun Record label by Rudi Richardson later in 1957...
    One of the fans in the audience of 16,000 was a fourteen year lad by the name of Jimi Hendrix...
    R.I.P. to The King {1935 - 1977} and Jimi {1942 - 1970}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 3rd 1955, Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly were signing autographs at a promotional appearance at the John-Connelley Pontiac dealership in Lubbock, Texas...
    Exactly one year later on June 3rd, 1956 Elvis would have six records on Billboard's Top 100 on this date, with "Heartbreak Hotel" being in its 7th week as the #1 record...
    And two years later on the first week of August 1957 "That's Be The Day" by the Crickets entered the Top 100 chart...
    R.I.P. to Mr. Holley (1936 -1959) and to The King (1935 - 1977).
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 28th 1956, Elvis performed "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Blue Suede Shoes" on the CBS-TV program 'The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show'...
    It was his debut on national TV and four weeks later on February 26th "Heartbreak Hotel" entered Billboard's Top 100...
    And on the very same day that "Heartbreak Hotel" entered the Top 100 so did the original version of "Blue Suede Shoes" by Carl Perkins (it reached #2 for 4 weeks on the Top 100).
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 6th 1957, Elvis Presley performed "Heartbreak Hotel" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    Ten months earlier on February 26th, 1956 it entered Billboard's Top 100 chart; eventually it peaked at #1 (for 8 weeks) and spent over a half year on the Top 100 (27 weeks)...
    It did even better on the country chart; on March 1st, 1956 it reached #1 (for an amazing 17 weeks) on Billboard's Best Selling Country chart...
    And it took Elvis himself to knock it out off the top spot, his "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" did the trick...
    This appearance on Sullivan was the famous 'shot above the waist' show...
    R.I.P. Mr. Sullivan (1901 - 1974) and to The King (1935 - 1977).
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyThe last week that 'Rock Around the Clock' was No. 1 was the week of August 27th, 1955. It would then take 33 weeks before another rock 'n roll record would reach No.1 and it was Elvis who would do it. His "Heartbreak Hotel" made No. 1 on April 21st, 1956 {After that the next rock song to reached #1 was "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You", then came "Don't Be Cruel"; you get the drift!!!}
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 3rd, 1956 "Lisbon Antigua" by Nelson Riddle became the #1 record in the USA; but way down the chart a new record spent it's 1st week in the Top 100, that record was "Heartbreak Hotel", and as they say 'The rest is history!!!'...
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyAccording to Billboard's Year-End chart for the Top 100 Songs of 1956; Heartbreak Hotel was the Number One Record for the year of 1956. Elvis also had the #2 record {Don't Be Cruel}, the #8 record {Hound dog} and the #15 record {All Shook Up}!!! Copy & paste: http://www.musicoutfitters.com/topsongs/1956.htm
  • Michael from Eastleigh, United Kingdomthis song will always be special to me. i never tire of hearing it. even people who don't particularly like elvis sing along when they hear it.great song, fantastic lyrics sung to perfection.heartbreak hotel started it all. the rest is history. long live the king!!!!
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyReached No. 1 on Billboard's Top 100 on May 5th, 1956 and stayed there for 7 weeks, was preceded by "The Poor People of Paris" by Les Baxter and succeeded by "The Wayward Wind" by Gogi Grant...
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn Sunday night in 1956 Ed Sullivan & Steven Allen had TV shows opposite of each other at the same time {8 PM EST}. On one of those Sundays Elvis was on one show and Guy Mitchel was on the other. I remember running between our apartment and our tenants because I didn't want to miss either Elvis singing 'Heartbreak Hotel' or Guy's 'Singing The Blues' {which was the number one record at the time} And wouldn't you know it, they both performed at exactly the same time, so I only got yo see half of each act!!!
  • Rex from Urbana, IlA few years ago, MTV had a series named "Unplugged", seems as though the new generation could not show up on this show because their appeal was plugged in. Elvis was always unplugged and only had his voice. Which was unforgettable. Damn he will always be missed.
  • Jennifer Harris from Grand Blanc, MiI didn't know it's about a Suicide letter.Fonzie did perform this at Arnolds,but he didn't sing it only spoke it.He said,I hope it is one of your favorites,because it sure ain't mine.I love Heartbreak Hotel,1st one is Suspicious Minds.
  • George from Belleville, NjHeartbreak Hotel is a classic.it's a blusey kind of rocker that's taken at a slower pace and proves that rock songs don't have to be done at a fast pace or beat to be effective.this song creates a mood and there is nobody around who can sing a song this way.Elvis' unique style shines on this number.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScElvis was a great performer and great singer. Most of the people I listen to write there own songs, but I enjoy listening to great singers, and Elvis was one of those. Hey, not all good songwriters are good singers and vice versa.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScNot only was Elvis a great erformer, he was reat singer oo.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScActually Rick, I think Elvis does sing "They pray to Die" instead of "They could die" in one f the verses.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScActually, Richard I thikn Elvis does ing "pray o ie" n ne f he verses. In he others, he says "they could ie."
  • Richard from London, EnglandCatherine: Lawrence Olivier, Marilyn Monroe and many other great actors never wrote or directed their own films. Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and scores of other vocalists never wrote their own songs. Millions of conductors and classical musicians have well-deserved reputations gained only from playing other people's compositions. Some people were put on this planet to PERFORM. If you appreciate this, why criticise Presley? If you don't, then that's your loss. I happen to think that the Beatles were not "that amazing", but I'm big enough to admit that millions of Beatle fans appreciate something I don't.
    Incidentally, Heartbreak Hotel's origin lyrics were changed slightly at the recording session (Jan 10-11, 1956): "They'll be so lonely they could die" replaced "They'll be so lonely they pray to die".
    - Rik, London, England
  • Caitlin from Upper Township, NjElvis is a legend! This is one of my favorite songs from him!
  • Alan from Grande Prairie, Alberta, CanadaMae Axton was the mother of Hoyt Axton song writer "Never Been To Spain" etc. actor and country music singer who passed away about 10 years ago.
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnHeartbreak Hotel was "sung" by Fonzie in the Happy Days episode where the guys wanted Fonzie to sing at the senior dance. Henry Winkler actually didn't sing, he spoke the lyrics since he wasn't much of a singer.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScCathrine. I get your point, but I gotta agree with Kelly from California. without elvis's music, the beatles wouldn't have made the type of music they did. I think people like Elvis, Buddy holly, and Chuck berry were the Beatles primary influences.
  • Wayne from Fort Atkinson, WiJim Reeves mentions 'Heartbreak Hotel' in his 1962 country hit Blue Side Of Lonesome.
  • Ross from Independence, MoThis is #45 in Rolling Stone's list of 500 greatest songs.
  • Adnan from Houston, TxMan, never heard about Elvis being indimated by the Beatles!! I see no reason why Elvis should have been indimidated... both Elvis and Beatles have their own places in the world of music, and both were great. Well, I love the Beatles, one of the most amazing bands in the world, and I just love some of their songs (Imagine by Lennon is my all time favorite). But I have to say I love Elvis songs more, and i think elvis was a better vocalist than lennon or mcartney. but, considering elvis hardly wrote any of his songs, i hold the beatles and elvis to be in the same level...
  • Tom from Trowbridge, EnglandThis song always reminds me of Soinal Tap; the part of the film where they visit Elvis' grave. They try to sing 'Heartbreak Hotel' with the harmony parts but declare "it sounds too f***in ragga!"
  • Kelly from Burbank, CaTo the contrary Cathrine, even if Elvis was afraid of The Beatles, Elvis inspired them more then anyone can say. When The Beatles finally got to meet Elvis, their idol for all these years, he was fat and pretty much a has-been. But when they walked through the door to Elvis' house John walked right up to him and said, "Before you there was nothing." I don't think Elvis was overrated, he was quite talented. But think what you want, AND The Beatles are the most awesome band of all time.
  • Catherine from Glasgow, EnglandElvis is so incrediablly overrated it's not true. He wasn't that amazing people. He didn't even write his songs himself and he was terrified of the Beatles. Rightly so.
  • Ted from Camarillo, CaI was 15 when this song came out, and I still remember the incredible physical sensation I felt all over my body every time I heard it. After a steady diet of songs like "Love and Marriage," "Mockingbird Hill," and "Mr. Sandman," this song was a powerful paradigm shift for kids my age. The dark lyrics, the slow driving rhythm, the pain in Elvis' voice, all combined to hypnotize me. It gave me a highly pleasurable, sexy feeling in my groin. It must have been what the kids felt like in 1900 when they first heard ragtime. It's amazing how music can make you feel!
  • Wilma from Gainesville, FlTommy Durden wrote the song (solely) as a ballad.
    Mae Axton's contribution told the songwriter/
    guitar/singer-----more or less---that if he were
    willing to change it a little, she thought she
    knew just the right singer for the song. Tommy
    agreed. Mae introduced him to someone who changed it from the original ballad tune to a
    rock-n-roll tune.
    The rest-----is as we say-----history.
    (Oh, by the way. Tommy told his father (who was a "doubting Thomas" & had told Tommy to "get a
    job") that he had written a hit & when it sold
    he was going to show up in his (the father's)
    front yard in a "pea-green" Cadallac.
    He showed up in his father's front yard in------
    Yep! A "pea-green" Cadallac.
    True story.
    Ask any old time Gainesville-ite.
    (I'm only a transplanted one.)
    Check it out, if you don't beleive me.
  • Brett from Edmonton, CanadaConsidering that this is the song that really introduced rock to the mainstream (ie white) public, it's amazing how dark the lyrics really are ("The bell hop's tears keep flowing, the bell hop's dressed in black..."). Compare this to songs that got banned during the sixties. I guess everyone was so mesmerized by this fascinating new sound that they weren't paying attention to the lyrics.
  • Dede from Chapel Hill, NcThis was Elvis's first recording for RCA Victor after leaving Sun Records.
  • Jeff from Boston, MaThe song was written for Elvis by Tommy Durden and school teacher/songwriter and publicist - Mae Boren Axton (Hoyt Axton's mother. They wrote the song in 22-minutes after reading a front-page story in the Miami Herald about a suicide victim who'd left a one-line note that read "I walk a lonely street."
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