News Item


Featured Timeline Winner for October - Elvis Records Heartbreak Hotel

October 01, 2010

The winning Elvis timeline milestone for October that Elvis fans voted as their number one favorite Elvis moment is #10 - Elvis arrives at RCA's Nashville studio to record his first songs for his new label, including "Heartbreak Hotel."

1956 was a whirlwind year for the young entertainer who had only begun breaking new ground with his unique performance and vocal style. That year, Elvis enjoyed his first RCA single and national hit, "Heartbreak Hotel," his first album, "Elvis Presley," his first movie, "Love Me Tender," and his first television appearances on The Dorsey Brothers' "Stage Show," "The Milton Berle Show," "The Steve Allen Show" and "Ed Sullivan."

"Heartbreak Hotel" was recorded on January 10, 1956 at RCA Victor in Nashville, Tennessee, and released on January 27, 1956, with the B-side "I Was the One." Despite the song not having the same sound as his Sun recordings like "That's All Right" and "Blue Moon of Kentucky," "Heartbreak Hotel" first appeared on the pop chart at #68 and the country and western chart at #9 in March of 1956. Less than two months later, Heartbreak Hotel reached #1 on both charts and even made it to #5 on the R&B chart.

See a full gallery of photos related to the recording of "Heartbreak Hotel."

Five new photos relating to the recording of "Heartbreak Hotel" have been added to the Elvis Mobile app for iPhone and iPod Touch users. Download the free app to enjoy weekly Elvis photo updates, periodic video updates, the latest news on all things Elvis, the Graceland LiveCam, podcasts and more.

Each week in October, Elvis Insiders will have access to a new, rare artifact relating to the recording of "Heartbreak Hotel" from the Graceland archives in the members-only exclusive image gallery on ElvisInsiders.com.

Be sure to visit Elvis.com/timeline and vote for your favorite Elvis timeline milestone, which will be featured in November. 

Facts About "Heartbreak Hotel:"

- "Heartbreak Hotel" was written by Tommy Durden, a steel guitarist for Smiling Jack Herring and His Swing Billies, and Mae Boren Axton, a Florida teacher.

- It took the Durden and Axton just 30 minutes to write the song, which was inspired by a line in a young man's suicide note, which said: "I walk a lonely street." 

- In 1995, "Heartbreak Hotel" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

- RCA producer, Steve Sholes, attempted to duplicate the slight echo on Elvis' Sun recordings by using a hallway in the Nashville studio. However, he was unaware that the echo from the Sun recordings was produced by using two tape recorders and a slight time delay.

- Elvis insisted on recording "Heartbreak Hotel," against the wishes of RCA executives and Steve Sholes, who viewed the recording as a mistake.

Other Current Events in 1956:

- Autherine Lucy, the first black student at the University of Alabama, was suspended after a hostile mob assembled to prevent her from attending class.

- The "Wizard of Oz" aired on television for the first time.

- "The Diary of Anne Frank," by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, won the Pulitzer Prize for drama.

- Morocco gained independence from France and Spain.

- The U.S. population was 168,903,031. In the year 2000, it was 281,421,906.

- "Marty," produced by Harold Hecht, won the Academy Award for Best Picture.