“Heartbreak Hotel” is Elvis’s first Number One for RCA and only the second song he recorded for the label. Chet Atkins played rhythm guitar. You can hear Bill Black’s stand-up bass, Scotty Moore’s electric guitar, D.J. Fontana’s drums and Floyd Cramer’s piano. Recorded in January 1956 in Nashville, it was released as a single in the USA (with the B-side “I Was the One”) on January 27, 1956. Despite RCA’s early objections to the sound quality, one of the early Nashville takes won out, and “Heartbreak Hotel” became the best selling single of 1956, as well as the song with which Elvis is most identified. An English teacher from Bardwell Texas got the idea for the song after a suicide victim left a note, later published in a newspaper, with the phrase, “I walk a lonely street.” Mae Axton toyed with the idea, teeming up with Tom Durden and going so far to get Glenn Reeves to record a demo for Elvis to hear.

Edited by memphisgirl110 on 21 Feb 2010, 22:48

Sources (view history)

album notes; Peter Guralnick’s Last Train to Memphis

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