Nine Covers of "Heartbreak Hotel" on Its 58th Birthday
Exactly 58 years ago, Elvis Presley released Heartbreak Hotel on RCA Records, which had just bought his contract from Sun Records for a measly $35,000. Heartbreak sold 300,000 copies in its first week and would eventually become the King's first certified gold record.
Also, it's worth noting that, while moving 300,000 copies in a week is hardly unheard of, this was before iTunes.
The song itself, which Presley himself didn't write, was based on the story of a man jumping to his death from a hotel window. Its writer, a high school teacher named Mae Boren Axton who also wrote songs for the likes of Willie Nelson, Reba McEntire and even Miranda Lambert's husband Blake Shelton, didn't even approach Presley with the song first. Originally, she tried to sell it to the Wilburn brothers who declined, calling it "morbid."
Hindsight is a killer. But hey, a syndicated television program is a lot like a certified gold record, right?
Presley, meanwhile, liked the song so much, he agreed to take only 33 percent of the royalties, leaving the songwriter with what we can only assume is an abundance of cash.
In honor of the King, his music and this day in music history, here are a few interesting, odd and/or lesser-known covers of the iconic "Heartbreak Hotel" we've put together for your listening pleasure.