Heartbreak Hotel Elvis’s first release after moving to major label RCA from independent label Sun Records. His first #1 million selling record The first Elvis song to be released in the UK
Origins Written in 1955 by Mae Boren Axton a high school teacher with singer–songwriter Tommy Durden. The lyrics were based on a report in The Miami Herald about a man who had jumped to his death from a hotel window, leaving a suicide note: "I walk a lonely street". Axton said "Let's put a Heartbreak Hotel at the end of this lonely street".
Recording Recording at RCA Nashville was a different experience for Presley and his band, who were used to a more relaxed atmosphere at Sun. Producer Steve Sholes painted an X on the floor, telling him "Whatever you do, don't move". Sholes noticed that Presley's voice and guitar were not always being picked up by the microphone. Presley explained to Sholes that he had to "jump around to sing it right. It's something that just happens—just a part of the way I sing". Sholes arranged for the whole studio to be re-miked so that Presley's voice and guitar could be picked up from anywhere in the studio
The band The record features Presley’s live band: Bill Black – double bass DJ Fontana – drums Presley’s guitar player Scotty Moore was given the guitar solo despite the presence of Nashville guitar legend Chet Atkins Nashville session pianist Floyd Cramer also features.
Structure 8 bar blues : /E /E/E/E/A/A/B/E/ Stop time accents in verse. The verses are an octave higher than the chorus. Four verses are broken with a guitar solo. Melody is based on blues pentatonic scale.
Melody 5th 8th8th8th5th 7th 8th “Well since my ba by left me.......” 8th 7th 4thb3rd “Heart break Ho-tel” 1st1st1stb3rd 1st “I'll be so lone-ly ...”
Arrangement High guitar/snare on stop accents Only voice and double bass on first chorus Brush drums & guitar counter riff on second chorus Blues piano trills added on third chorus. Guitar plays Elmore James style solo riff at 12th fret. Piano adds walking bass beneath guitar solo and takes over solo with blue note trills in high octave. Band play triplet accent at the end of last verse. Bass descent outrofollowed by guitar: F9th/ E9th
Vocal Drenched in tape echo (a more lonely effect?) Opening line pushes voice into belt tone Chorus more breathy/thin fold baritone Rhythmic burst release on plosive “baby” Emotes the lyric: Slight creak release on “cry there....” Emotes the lyric: Surly diction/attitude Spits “tale to tell” Creak sustain on last “die”