Elvis Was a Heart Breaker

From The Don: "Heartbreak Hotel" was Elvis' first record on RCA records after they bought his contract from Sam Phillips at Sun in Memphis for $35,000. ("I needed the money," Sam later said.) It was also incredibly successful at the time, charting #1 in Billboard for seven weeks, and an unprecended Top 5 in the C&W, Pop, and R&B charts simultaneously. Obviously, RCA had made a good investment although a lot of the suits in NYC had resisted the signing of the hillbilly from Memphis. - TDR

Elvis Presley made history when Sam Phillips of Sun Records sold his contract to RCA Records for a reported 35 thousand dollars in the mid-fifties. Presley’s first release on his new label was a very different song from his Sun hits. Heartbreak Hotel was co-written by Mae Boren Axton, the mother of future singer and songwriter Hoyt Axton. It was based in part on an actual event…an unknown man destroyed all of his identification, and jumped to his death from a Miami hotel room.

Elvis Presley was easily the hottest new performer in the music business when Heartbreak Hotel came out, and it kept his hot streak going. Heartbreak Hotel stayed at number one on the Billboard Top 100 music charts for seven weeks, and was number one on Billboard’s country chart for seventeen weeks. Heartbreak Hotel was Elvis’ first million selling hit, and it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1995. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has named Heartbreak Hotel one of the top 500 songs that shaped rock & roll, and Rolling Stone magazine named Heartbreak Hotel one of the 500 greatest songs of all time.


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