Elvis Presley - Heartbreak Hotel - 1956


Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" (1956)

"Heartbreak Hotel" is one of the most iconic songs by Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll. Released in 1956, this song marked a significant moment in the history of rock and roll and popular culture. Let's dive into the history, context, and impact of this groundbreaking track.

Background of "Heartbreak Hotel"

The song was written by Mae Boren Axton, a high school teacher and journalist, and Tommy Durden, a singer-songwriter. They were inspired by a newspaper article about a man who destroyed all his identity papers and committed suicide, leaving behind a note saying, "I walk a lonely street."

Recording and Release

Recorded in January 1956, "Heartbreak Hotel" became Presley's first million-selling single and his first number one hit on the Billboard pop charts. This success catapulted him into national fame.

Musical Style and Influence

The song is known for its distinctive and innovative style, combining elements of blues, country, and rockabilly. Elvis's passionate and soulful vocals, along with the haunting lyrics, created a sound that resonated with a wide audience. The song is seen as a pioneering track in the formation of rock and roll as a genre.

Impact and Legacy

"Heartbreak Hotel" not only helped in shaping the musical landscape of the 1950s but also played a crucial role in breaking down racial barriers in the music industry. It influenced countless artists and continues to be a significant piece of musical history.

For more about Elvis Presley and his impact on music and culture, check out his detailed biography on Wikipedia.

Interactive Tasks

Quiz: Questions on the song

What year was "Heartbreak Hotel" released? (1956) (!1954) (!1958) (!1960)

Which artists wrote "Heartbreak Hotel"? (Mae Boren Axton and Tommy Durden) (!Elvis Presley and Jerry Leiber) (!Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash) (!Chuck Berry and Little Richard)

What was the inspiration behind "Heartbreak Hotel"? (A newspaper article about a man's suicide) (!A book about the Great Depression) (!A movie about a haunted hotel) (!Elvis Presley's personal heartbreak)

What was unique about the musical style of "Heartbreak Hotel"? (It combined elements of blues, country, and rockabilly) (!It was the first rock and roll song) (!It featured a full orchestra) (!It included a rap section)

What milestone did "Heartbreak Hotel" achieve for Elvis Presley? (His first million-selling single and first number one hit on Billboard) (!His first Grammy Award) (!His first performance on national television) (!His first movie soundtrack song)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

What is Elvis Presley's nickname? (The King of Rock and Roll) (!The Duke of Rock) (!The Rockabilly Master) (!The Music Maverick)

In which year was Elvis Presley born? (1935) (!1930) (!1940) (!1928)

Which of the following movies did Elvis Presley star in? ("Jailhouse Rock") (!"West Side Story") (!"The Graduate") (!"Rebel Without a Cause")

Which of these instruments was Elvis known for playing? (Guitar) (!Piano) (!Drums) (!Saxophone)

Where is Graceland, Elvis Presley's famous home, located? (Memphis, Tennessee) (!Nashville, Tennessee) (!Las Vegas, Nevada) (!New Orleans, Louisiana)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

What street does the narrator mention in "Heartbreak Hotel"? (Lonely Street) (!Heartbreak Avenue) (!Love Lane) (!Blue Boulevard)

In "Heartbreak Hotel," where do the "broken-hearted lovers" cry? (In their lonely rooms) (!In the chapel) (!On the dance floor) (!In the street)

What is the narrator's feeling in the song? (Heartbroken and lonely) (!Happy and content) (!Angry and vengeful) (!Hopeful and optimistic)

How does the song describe the hotel? (As a place where you can be lonely) (!As a fun holiday resort) (!As a luxurious retreat) (!As a family-friendly inn)

What does the song suggest happens to your heart at the Heartbreak Hotel? (It gets broken) (!It heals) (!It finds love) (!It dances)


Create a memory game with matching pairs for this topic. Insert suitable texts (at least 5 pairs) using exactly the following format, write only the text and leave no characters out, do not transform anything into a table, etc. Do not use any term twice. Term A matches Term 1, Term B matches Term 2, etc.

Year of Release 1956
Inspired by Newspaper article
Music Style Blues, Country, Rockabilly
First Major Hit Heartbreak Hotel
Location of Graceland Memphis, Tennessee

Open Tasks


  1. Explore Music Genres: Listen to other genres that influenced "Heartbreak Hotel," like blues, country, and rockabilly. Identify common elements in these genres.
  2. Musician Research: Research other famous musicians from the 1950s and compare their styles to Elvis Presley's.
  3. Song Analysis: Analyze the lyrics of "Heartbreak Hotel" and discuss its themes of loneliness and heartbreak.


  1. Musical Time Travel: Imagine if "Heartbreak Hotel" was released today. How would it be different? Consider changes in musical style, technology, and cultural context.
  2. Create a Playlist: Curate a playlist of songs from the 1950s that share similar themes or styles with "Heartbreak Hotel."
  3. Write a Review: Pretend you're a music critic in 1956. Write a review of "Heartbreak Hotel" and its impact on the music industry.


  1. Songwriting Challenge: Write your own song inspired by "Heartbreak Hotel," incorporating elements of rock and roll, blues, and country.
  2. Cultural Impact Essay: Write an essay on how "Heartbreak Hotel" and Elvis Presley influenced American culture in the 1950s.
  3. Perform a Cover: Record your own cover version of "Heartbreak Hotel," putting a unique spin on the classic hit.

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