This was as startling a debut record as any ever made, representing every side of Elvis’ musical influences except gospel — rockabilly, blues, R&B, country, and pop were all here in an explosive and seductive combination. Elvis Presley became the first rock & roll album to reach the number one spot on the national charts, and RCA’s first million dollar-earning pop album.
-Bruce Eder (allmusic.com)
Elvis Presley released Heartbreak Hotel January 27th in 1956
“Heartbreak Hotel” is a song recorded by Elvis Presley. It was released as a single on January 27, 1956, Presley’s first on his new record label RCA Victor. His first number-one pop record, “Heartbreak Hotel” topped Billboard‘s 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.
Well, Since my baby left me
These opening words set the tone, this is not a happy-song…
I got this record from my aunt when I was about 7 or 8 years old (1973/1974), I couldn’t comprehend the heartache and suffering in the lyrics. I just thought it was the coolest thing I had ever heard. I still got that record. It is worn and scratched and it’s still the coolest record in the world.
When I first heard Elvis’ voice I just knew that I wasn’t going to work for anybody; and nobody was going to be my boss. He is the deity supreme of rock & roll religion as it exists in today’s form. Hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail.
~Bob Dylan (1987)
His music and his personality, fusing the styles of white country and black rhythm and blues, permanently changed the face of American popular culture. His following was immense, and he was a symbol to people the world over of the vitality, rebelliousness, and good humor of his country.
~President Jimmy Carter August 17, 1977
Elvis Presley is a supreme figure in American life, one whose presence, no matter how banal or predictable, brooks no real comparisons. … The cultural range of his music has expanded to the point where it includes not only the hits of the day, but also patriotic recitals, pure country gospel, and really dirty blues. … Elvis has emerged as a great artist, a great rocker, a great purveyor of schlock, a great heart throb, a great bore, a great symbol of potency, a great ham, a great nice person, and, yes, a great American.
~Greil Marcus (The Village Voice – Apr 7, 1975)
And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I’ve traveled each and ev’ry highway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way
“Elvis has come out with a record which gives us some of the very finest and most affecting music since he first recorded for Sun almost 17 years ago”- Peter Guralnick (Rolling Stone Magazine 1971)
“…Elvis was at his peak when he cut Elvis Country. Actually, Elvis Presley was positively on a roll at the time. A decade after the end of what were thought to be his prime years, he was singing an ever-widening repertory of songs with more passion and involvement than he’d shown since the end of the 1950s…”
~Bruce Eder (allmusic.com)
Elvis Presley – Funny How Time Slips Away (Willie Nelson):
We’re caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much baby
Recorded between four and seven in the morning, during the landmark Memphis session that helped return the King to his throne, “Suspicious Minds” — the final Number One single of his lifetime — is Presley’s masterpiece: He sings so intensely through the fade-out that his band returns for another minute of the tear-stained chorus.
Together with “Mystery Train” this is my favourite Elvis song.