Heartbreak Hotel

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Elvis Presley’s moody first single for RCA was not cut from the same rockabilly cloth as his Sun Records material: Sun founder Sam Phillips called “Heartbreak Hotel” “a morbid mess.” Written by Mae Boren Axton (who was Elvis’ former publicist) and Tommy Durden, Presley’s first of many Number Ones and the biggest-selling song of 1956 was based on a true-life tale. A news story in the Miami Herald reported a man’s suicide in a hotel: He left a note consisting solely of the line, “I walk a lonely street."

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