Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Similarly Requested CDs
"Heartbreak Hotel"/"I Was the One," Elvis Presley (1956)
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 03/31/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well, since my baby left me,
I found a new place to dwell.
It's down at the end of lonely street
at Heartbreak Hotel.
You make me so lonely baby,
I get so lonely,
I get so lonely I could die.
Elvis Presley had already had a #1 hit with "Don't Be Cruel" in 1956 when he followed it up with what would be his signature song, "Heartbreak Hotel." The song was written by Tommy Durden and Mae Boren Axton (mother of Hoyt) after Durden read a newspaper story about a person who had committed suicide and left a note that read, "I walk a lonely street." The result was a song about a hotel where people would go when their hearts broken so that they could be with people were so lonely they could die. Elvis is not exactly singing the blues here, but this is certainly at the depressing end of the music spectrum and decidedly unlike what was playing on the radio at that time. Durden wrote the lyrics, Axton the music, and Colonel Tom Parker arranged for Presley to get a songwriting credit in exchange for singing the song.
Presley record "Heartbreak Hotel," either "I Got a Woman" or "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" (depending on what you read), and "I Was the One" two days after his 21st birthday on January 10, 1956. Floyd Cramer played the distinctive bluesy piano part of the song and the unforgettable slashing electric guitar is played by Scotty Moore. "Heartbreak Hotel" b/w "I Was the One" was released by RCA on January 17 and sold over 300,000 copies in the first three weeks. It went on to be #1 on Billboard's Pop singles chart for eight weeks, as well as #1 on the Country chart, #3 on the Black singles chart, and #5 on the R&B chart. This was the first of Elvis's gold records, eventually selling over two million copies. There was also an EP released in April of 1956 that had "Heartbreak Hotel" and "I Was the One" on Side 1 and "Money Honey" and "I Forgot to Remember to Forget" back when Elvis was RCA's new recording artist.
What you have here are the well known versions of these two songs from the original release along with an alternative take of each. Take 5 of "Heartbreak Hotel" runs 2:33 (versus 2:11) and Take 2 of "I Was the One" also runs longer at 2:56 (versus 2:25). Presley had been performing "Hearbreak Hotel" in live appearances before he recorded it, so he had worked out how he wanted to do the song (some of the live versions of "Heartbreak Hotel" that he did on television shows in 1956 are available on CDs today as well). The song has been on a dozen Elvis albums that have charted between then and now but there is something to be said for going back to the raw power of the original. These CD singles will speak to a small segment of Elvis's fans, but those are going to be largely those who grew up listening mainly to radio stations and playing 45's to get their music. But if you get one of these, this would be the one to get.