This day, January 27th, 1956 Elvis’ ‘Heartbreak Hotel¬†was released as a single. It was Presley’s first on his new record label¬†RCA Victor. It was also his first number-one pop record. ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ topped the Billboard¬†Top 100 chart, became his first million-seller, and was the best-selling single of 1956.
It was written by¬†Tommy Durden¬†and¬†Mae Boren Axton.¬†Axton presented the song to Elvis Presley in November 1955 in Nashville. Elvis agreed to record it, and did so on January 10th, 1956 featuring The Blue Moon Boys, guitarist¬†Chet Atkins¬†and pianist¬†Floyd Cramer. ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ is composed of an¬†eight-bar bluesprogression, and features major echo during the entire track, in an attempt to follow the characteristic of¬†Presley’s Sun recordings.
The single topped the chart for¬†seven weeks, was number one on the Country and Western chart and made number five on the black music R&B chart. It would eventually be certified double platinum by the¬†Recording Industry Association of America. Presley had first performed ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ during a live show in December 1955 ona Louisiana Hayride tour and¬†the song gained strong popularity after his appearance on¬†Stage Show¬†in March 1956 – see You Tube clip above.
In 1995 the songs was inducted into the¬†Grammy Hall of Fame, and in 2004¬†Rolling Stone¬†magazine named it one of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time“. That year it was also included in the¬†Rock and Roll Hall of Fame‘s “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll”.