Written by: Mae Boren Axton, Tommy Durden, Elvis Presley
Recorded: January 10, 1956, RCA Studios, Nashville
Released master is take 7.
Single:w/ "I Was The One", 47-6420, January 27, 1956
Also re-released as Gold Standard Series, 447-0605, March 1959
RIAA Certified: 2X Multi-Platinum (as of 07/15/1999)
Highest U.S. Charts Positions:
#1 on Billboard's Hot 100 (In 2006, the CD single, which also contained "I Was The One", reached #1 again.)
#1 on Cash Box chart
#1 on Billboard's Country chart
#5 on Billboard's R&B chart
The second single ever to make all 3 of Billboard's charts, the first being Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes".
For other versions, see Lyrics and Downloads section below.
(Just my opinion. Give us yours!)
Stylistically, "Heartbreak Hotel" was not quite like anything else Elvis did, and yet it became a sort of signature song of his in the early days. Partly because it was his first nation-wide hit and his first million-selling single, but also because he performed it on many of his early TV appearances, and it became part of the image associated with him in the public mind. Although not typical of what he'd do later with his hit songs, it still remains a great "first glimpse" of Elvis as a singer!
(What did the critics and fans say?)
"Heartbreak Hotel" is a classic performance, yet when it is analyzed it appears so simple that one cannot recall a time when one did not know it. It is all the more effective for being so restrained. This may seem surprising in view of Presley's early image, but the beat is held back; the smouldering intensity and wounded defiance is conveyed entirely by the voice. "Heartbreak Hotel" is a basic blues, with a syncopated throb. The key, E minor, fits Presley's voice like a glove, and when the bass guitar enters before "Heartbreak" in the line "...down at the corner of Lonely Street at Heartbreak Hotel..." the interest quickens, leading to the second time, with quiet, insistent drums and guitar. Floyd Cramer's piano is ideal: it is impossible to imagine this song without his phrases high on the piano pattering like sad rain. The whole performance is outstanding.
...Having begun to perform "Heartbreak Hotel" at his concerts, he was able to get an acceptable take of the song early in his recording session of January 10, 1956, with Scotty Moore taking a slashing electric guitar solo and Floyd Cramer playing some bluesy piano. The spare arrangement, which frequently came to a full stop, was dominated by Presley's melodramatic vocal; it was an excellent showcase for the young singer. ...
Glenn Reeves - Singer/songwriter who sang the demo of "Heartbreak Hotel"
"Heartbreak Hotel" Lyrics and Downloads
Well, since my baby left me
I've found a new place to dwell
It's down at the end of lonely street
At Heartbreak Hotel, and I'll be
I'll be so lonely, baby
I'm so lonely
I'll be so lonely I could die.
And although it's always crowded
you still can find some room
For broken hearted lovers
to cry there in their gloom, and they'll be
They'll be so lonely baby
They'll be so lonely
They'll be so lonely they could die
Well, the bell hop's tears keep flowin'
The desk clerk's dressed in black
Well they've been so long on lonely street
They'll never, they'll never look back, and they're so
They'll be so lonely, baby
Well they're so lonely
Well they're so lonely they pray to die
Hey now, if your baby leaves you
And you've got a tale to tell
Just take that walk down lonely street
To Heartbreak Hotel where you'll be
You'll be so lonely, baby
Well you'll be lonely
You'll be so lonely you could die
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Study Up Some More!
Elvis song reference books on Amazon!
Ernst Jorgensen's complete chronicle of Elvis' recording sessions, with loads of detailed information about each session and each song.
This is the definitive encyclopedia on Elvis' life details, as well as all the background and trivia you need for all the songs, movies, and TV appearances. Authors are Fred L. Worth and Steve D. Tamerius.
The subtitle of Ace Collins' book says it all: "The stories behind Elvis' #1 hits"!
"Elvis The #1 Hits: The Secret History of the Classics". Another self-explanatory book title. :)