"Heartbreak Hotel" (1956)
"Heartbreak Hotel" was Elvis Presley's major breakthrough pop hit, and it turned him into a mainstream star. The song was reportedly written by high school teacher Mae Boren Axton and singer-songwriter Tommy Durden after hearing about a man who committed suicide. The man jumped to his death from a hotel window leaving a suicide note with the line, "I walk a lonely street."
"Heartbreak Hotel" was the sixth single released on RCA by Elvis Presley. He performed it on his first national television appearance in January 1956 on CBS' Stage Show. The songhit #1 on both the pop and country singles charts. It spent eight consecutive weeks at the top of the pop chart and became the best selling song of 1956.
"Blue Suede Shoes" (1956)
"Blue Suede Shoes" was first written and recorded by fellow Sun Records artist Carl Perkins. He took it to the top of the country chart and #2 on the pop singles chart. In the 1950s recording cover versions of current hit singles was very common. Elvis Presley recorded his version of "Blue Suede Shoes" as one of his first for RCA. In order to not conflict with Carl Perkins' hit, Elvis Presley requested that RCA hold back his cover of "Blue Suede Shoes" from released as a single. It did not come out until nine months after Carl Perkins' original and only reached #20 on the pop singles chart, but ultimately it became a definitive song of Elvis Presley's early years.
"I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" (1956)
"I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" was slated as the follow up to the massive success of "Heartbreak Hotel." It generated advance orders of over 300,000 which was the largest such demand in RCA's history. "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" was released in May 1956, and Elvis Presley performed it live on The Milton Berle Show in June. His wild gyrations stirred massive public controversy, but the song still became a hit peaking at #3 on the pop chart and #1 on the country chart.
"Don't Be Cruel" (1956)
"Don't Be Cruel" was written by R&B artist Otis Blackwell. In exchange for the agreement to have Elvis Presley record the song, he gave up 50% of songwriting royalties and gave Elvis Presley co-writing credit for last-minute adjustments to lines in the song. It was released as a double A-side single with "Hound Dog." "Don't Be Cruel" climbed to the top of the pop, country and R&B charts and combined with "Hound Dog's" performance, the record spent 11 weeks at #1 tying a record that held up until 1992.
"Hound Dog" (1956)
"Hound Dog" was written by the legendary pop songwriting team of Leiber and Stoller. It was first recorded by blues singer Big Mama Thornton in 1952. She spent seven weeks at the top of the R&B chart with the song. More than ten different artists covered "Hound Dog" before Elvis Presley, but his version became the best-known. In the midst of his live performance of the song on The Milton Berle Show, he slowed the song down into a grinding, gyrating highly sexual performance for the time. The reaction was a mixture of fans being electrified and critics horrified. "Hound Dog" peaked at #2 on the US pop chart, but as a 45 record with "Don't Be Cruel," it was the bestselling record in the US for 11 weeks.
"Love Me Tender" (1956)
The song "Love Me Tender" assigns new words to the Civil War era song "Aura Lee." Elvis Presley recorded it as the title song for his first movie. He performed it live on the Ed Sullivan Show less than a month before the official release, and it generated advance orders numbering one million making "Love Me Tender" a gold-certified record upon release. The slow ballad hit #1 on the pop chart and stayed there for two weeks in November 1956.
"All Shook Up" (1957)
"All Shook Up" was the second major hit single by Elvis Presley written by Otis Blackwell. Reportedly, Otis Blackwell wrote it at Shalimar Music in 1956 after one of the owners shook a bottle of Pepsi and suggested a song be written around the phrase, "all shook up." Like a number of Elvis Presley's early hits, "All Shook Up" was a big hit across pop, country, and R&B charts. It spent eight weeks at #1 on the pop chart and four weeks at the top of the R&B chart. "All Shook Up" reached #3 on the country chart.
"(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear" (1957)
Elvis Presley recorded "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear" for the soundtrack to his second movie Loving You. It is believed the melody of the song is rooted in the traditional blues song "Boll Weevil." "Let Me Be Your (Teddy Bear)" became Elvis Presley's third #1 pop hit of 1957 and spent seven weeks at the top. It also reached #1 on both the R&B and country charts.
"Jailhouse Rock" (1957)
"Jailhouse Rock" was the second big hit by Elvis Presley written by the songwriting team Leiber & Stoller. They wrote it for the movie of the same name. They intended it to be a jokey type of song similar to their success with the Coasters' "Yakety Yak." Instead, Elvis Presley recorded it as a straight ahead rock and roll song. The choreographed jail scene in the movie featuring the song "Jailhouse Rock" is particularly memorable. "Jailhouse Rock" spent seven weeks at the top of the US pop chart while also going to the top of the country and R&B charts.
Elvis Presley stuck with Leiber and Stoller for his next hit single. "Don't" went to the top of the pop singles chart, #2 country, and #4 on the R&B chart. It is part of the hit Broadway musical revue Smokey Joe's Cafe built around the music of Leiber and Stoller.
"Hard Headed Woman" (1958)
"Hard Headed Woman" was written by African-American rockabilly songwriter Claude Demetrius. He wrote "I Was the One," the B-Side to Elvis Presley's breakthrough hit "Heartbreak Hotel." Elvis Presley recorded "Hard Headed Woman" for the soundtrack to his movie King Creole. The song went straight to the top of the pop chart and hit #2 on both the country and R&B charts.
"A Big Hunk O' Love" (1959)
"A Big Hunk O' Love" is best known for being recorded at Elvis Presley's only sessions that took place during his two years of military service. It was his first sessions that did not include Scotty Moore on guitar and Bill Black on bass. "A Big Hunk O' Love" reached #1 on the US pop chart. it also reached the top 10 on the R&B chart.
"Stuck On You" (1960)
"Stuck On You" was the first hit single by Elvis Presley after he returned from two years of military service in the US army. He recorded the song in March of 1960, and RCA released it within two weeks. Fans were eager for new music by Elvis Presley, and "Stuck On You" hit #1, becoming his first chart topping hit of the 1960s. It also climbed to #6 on the R&B chart.
"It's Now Or Never" (1960)
"It's Now Or Never" is based on the melody of the classic 1898 Italian song "O Sole Mio." While serving in the army, Elvis Presley reportedly hear singer Tony Martin' 1949 recording of "There's No Tomorrow," another song based on "O Sole Mio." Songwriters Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold wrote new lyrics for Elvis Presley to record. The result was a smash #1 hit that spent five weeks at #1. It also reached #7 on the R&B chart. Elvis Presley sings the original "O Sole Mio" live on his 1977 Elvis In Concert album.
"Are You Lonesome Tonight?" (1960)
"Are You Lonesome Tonight?" was written in 1926. It was recorded a number of times in 1927, but it's Elvis Presley's 1960 recording that has become the definitive version. It was reportedly a favorite song of Marie Mott, the wife of Elvis Presley's manager Colonel Tom Parker. RCA held back on releasing the recording out of concern about whether it fit Elvis Presley's style. When released in November 1960, it only took "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" three weeks to reach #1. It stayed there through the end of the year. The song also reached #3 on the R&B songs chart.
"Surrender" was another adaptation of an Italian pop song from the turn of the twentieth century following the success of "It's Now Or Never." Frequent Elvis Presley collaborators Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman co-wrote the adaptation of "Come Back To Sorrento," originally written in 1902. "Surrender" went to #1 on the US and UK pop charts.
"Can't Help Falling In Love" (1961)
Elvis Presley recorded the original version of "Can't Help Falling In Love" for the soundtrack of his movie Blue Hawaii. The melody is based on that of "Plaisir d'amour," a French love song written in the 1780s. "Can't Help Falling In Love" was a #2 pop hit for Elvis Presley. The song was brought back to the top of the pop charts in 1993 by reggae group UB40. They took it all the way to #1.
"Good Luck Charm" (1962)
Songwriters Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold, frequent collaborators with Elvis Presley, wrote "Good Luck Charm." It followed the singles from his Blue Hawaii movie. "Good Luck Charm" went to the top of the US pop chart and stayed there for two weeks. It also went all the way to #1 across the Atlantic in the UK.
"Return To Sender" (1962)
"Return To Sender" was another Elvis Presley hit written by Otis Blackwell. This time Winfield Scott, a writer of other hits with Otis Blackwell, received co-writing credit. "Return To Sender" tells a tale of a man who continually attempts to mail a letter to a former girlfriend refusing to believe their relationship is over. "Return To Sender" reached #2 on the US pop chart and went to #5 on the R&B chart.
"Crying In the Chapel" (1965)
Gospel music is a particularly rich part of Elvis Presley's recording legacy that many pop fans miss. "Crying In the Chapel" was written by Artie Glenn in 1953 for his son, a high school student, to record. The original recording was a #6 pop hit and #4 country hit for Darrell Glenn. Ella Fitzgerald also had a minor hit with the song. Elvis Presley recorded "Crying In the Chapel" during the sessions for his gospel album His Hand In Mine. However, RCA held it off the album and released it as an Easter single in April 1965. The song hit #3 on the pop chart and spent seven weeks at the top of the easy listening (precursor to adult contemporary) chart.
"A Little Less Conversation" (1968)
Elvis Presley recorded "A Little Less Conversation" in 1968 for the soundtrack to his movie Live a Little, Love a Little. It became a minor hit peaking at #69 on the US pop chart. However, it received its greatest acclaim more than thirty years later when Dutch DJ remixed it and had a worldwide pop hit in 2002. It went to #1 in the UK and many other countries while reaching the top 30 on the adult pop radio chart in the US.
"In the Ghetto" (1969)
The social commentary of "In the Ghetto" was written by country singer and songwriter Mac Davis. It was recorded as part of Elvis Presley's comeback sessions in Memphis. "In the Ghetto" became Elvis Presley's first top 10 pop hit in four years climbing to #3. His daughter Lisa Marie Presley recorded "In the Ghetto" as a digitally created duet with her father in 2007 to raise funds for the Presley Foundation.
"Suspicious Minds" (1969)
"Suspicious Minds" songwriter Mark James is also known as the songwriter of "Always On My Mind." He recorded his own version of "Suspicious Minds" in 1968 and released it on Scepter Records. When producer Chips Moman began working with Elvis Presley on his 1969 Memphis comeback recording sessions, he asked Mark James if he had any songs that would be right for the situation. When Elvis Presley heard the song, he was convinced he could turn it into a hit. "Suspicious Minds" was a #1 smash and the final #1 hit of Elvis Presley's career.
"Burning Love" (1972)
"Burning Love" was first recorded by country-soul artist Arthur Alexander. It failed to make much impact, but Elvis Presley turned it into a major pop hit peaking at #2 and becoming his final top 10 single. The notable electric guitar opening to the song is played by the songwriter Dennis Linde.
"My Way" (1977)
In 1967, singer-songwriter Paul Anka wrote the lyrics of "My Way" to the melody of the French pop song "Comme d'habitude." He offered the song to Frank Sinatra, and it became a standard for the legendary singer. Frank Sinatra released "My Way" as a single in 1969 and it climbed to #27 on the pop chart and #2 on the easy listening chart. Elvis Presley began performing "My Way" in concerts in the 1970s. In October 1977, a few weeks after Elvis Presley's death, a live recording of the song was released as a single. It climbed to #22 on the pop singles chart and #6 on the adult contemporary chart. It also hit #2 on the country chart. "My Way" also later became associated with punk bassist Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols.
What is the #1 Elvis song of all time? ›
Topping the list is Can't Help Falling In Love, which has notched up 13 million plays. Released in 1961 as a double A-side with Rock-A-Hula-Baby, the song reached Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart and became his signature ballad, closing many of his live performances in the '60s and '70s.What is Elvis most powerful song? ›
"Heartbreak Hotel" is the song that launched Elvis' career into the stratosphere, firmly establishing him as a rock 'n' roll sensation. Long after its release, "Heartbreak Hotel" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1995.What was Elvis last #1 hit? ›
Rewinding the Charts: In 1969, Elvis Presley Hit No. 1 for the Last Time With 'Suspicious Minds' Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds" hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969, marking the King of Rock & Roll's final chart-topper on the list.What was Elvis Presley's first 1 hit song? ›
According to Wiki: 'Heartbreak Hotel: Elvis's first RCA release reached #1 on the “Top 100” on May 5, 1956, knocking Les Baxter's “The Poor People of Paris” from the top spot. Elvis's single remained at #1 for 7 weeks, finally giving way to Gogi Grant's “The Wayward Wind.” It was Elvis's 1st #1 single.Did Elvis have a favorite song? ›
Elvis's favorite Gospel song was entitled, Known Only To Him. This song was so near and dear to his heart that it was performed at his beloved mother's funeral. And Elvis loved performing Don't Be Cruel for audiences.What is the only song Elvis wrote? ›
And while Elvis wasn't a songwriter per se, he did co-write a few songs in his career including 'That's Someone You Never Forget' and the haunting 'You'll Be Gone'.What was Elvis's favorite saying? ›
“Don't criticize what you don't understand, son. You never walked in that man's shoes.” - Elvis often used this adaptation of a well-known quotation.What song made Elvis cry? ›
Christmas Duets reached No. 17 on the Billboard 200 in 2008. “I'll Be Home for Christmas” caused Elvis and Priscilla to cry — and the song seemed to resonate with audiences decades after its original release.Who was Elvis favorite singer? ›
Elvis held Roy Orbison is very high regard, publicly stating that Roy had ' most perfect voice' and referring to him as the 'greatest singer in the world' during one of his Vegas concerts. And Roy's respect was mutual, he went to Elvis' concerts from 1954 to 1976.Who had more number 1 Beatles Elvis? ›
With or without the releases, Presley's total is still more than any other artist in history. The Beatles hold the record for the most number-ones singles by a group (with 17), while Madonna holds the record for a female artist (with 13).
How many #1 songs did Elvis write? ›
Elvis has had no less than 149 songs to appear on Billboard's Hot 100 Pop Chart in America. Of these, 114 were in the top forty, 40 were in the top 10, and 18 went to number one. His number one singles spent a total of 80 weeks at number one.What was Elvis Presley's best selling single record? ›
Elvis' all-time top-selling single, “It's Now or Never,” was based on the Italian standard “O Sole Mio.” Elvis had heard Mario Lanza's recording of that song during his time in the Army in Germany and asked his publisher what he could come up with along the same lines.Did Elvis have 30 number 1 hits? ›
ELV1S: 30 No. 1 Hits.
|Elvis: 30 #1 Hits|
|Recorded||January 10, 1956 – October 29, 1976|
|Genre||Rock and roll|
Elvis loved makeup and he loved how dramatic it made the eyes.…”How many number one hits did Elvis have in 1956? ›
The year of 1956 has seen the beginning of Elvis souvenir merchandising, the beginning of a successful movie career, huge record sales (five number one singles on the pop chart, two number one albums on the pop chart, and other hits), history-making television appearances, record-breaking personal appearances and more.What was Elvis favorite snack? ›
Presley's fondness for peanut butter and banana sandwiches is well established; however, bacon is not mentioned in all accounts. A book about Presley and his mother, Gladys Presley, though, says he had "sandwich after sandwich of his favorite—peanut butter, sliced bananas, and crisp bacon".What was Elvis favorite sandwich? ›
While Elvis is primarily known for being one of the greatest entertainers of the 20th century, we can't ignore his namesake sandwich—the one with peanut butter, banana, and bacon all smashed together.Was Elvis considered a good singer? ›
Elvis Presley's talent as a musical artist was double barrelled and more; he was an exceptional vocalist and a unique stage performer with instinctive, natural ability in both areas. It appears from available recollections that Presley was born with a love of music.What song did they play at Elvis funeral? ›
It is widely known that Elvis Presley's funeral song was “My Way.” The song was played at his funeral on August 16, 1977, which was held at Graceland, his home in Memphis, Tennessee. “My Way” is a song popularized by Frank Sinatra. The song was written by Paul Anka and released in 1969.Could Elvis read music? ›
While he couldn't read or write music and had no formal lessons, he was a natural musician and played everything by ear. He could often hear a song, pick up an instrument, and play. He often played an instrument in his recordings, and always produced his own music.
Was Elvis a good guitar player? ›
Elvis Presley often used his guitar as a prop, before abandoning it completely in the Las Vegas stage of his career, but it turns out that he could really play the instrument. Nobody would call him a virtuoso, but he could do more than just bang on it and break strings.What did Sinatra think of Elvis? ›
Speaking about the "King of Rock and Roll" after his death in 1977, Sinatra said: "There have been many accolades uttered about Elvis' talent and performances through the years, all of which I agree with wholeheartedly. I shall miss him dearly as a friend. "He was a warm, considerate and generous man."What did the Beatles say about Elvis? ›
"Nothing affected me until I heard Elvis. Without Elvis, there would be no Beatles", John Lennon famously said about the King of Rock 'n' Roll. No other recording artist influenced the young Beatles quite as much as Elvis Presley.What did it mean when Elvis wiggled his pinky? ›
Among the moments combined into one scene are a Jacksonville, FL, concert where he wiggled his pinky in mockery of a judge's order to tone down his moves, and a 1957 Los Angeles concert where the vice squad filmed him to ensure he wasn't gyrating too much.What did Elvis listen to? ›
Elvis loved his R&B, soul and blues records. He had albums and singles by the likes of John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Sam & Dave, Chuck Berry, The Platters, Little Richard and Stevie Wonder.What music did Elvis walk on stage to? ›
Did you know...? Starting with a performance on February 20, 1971 at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, Elvis began entering the stage for his concerts to "Also Sprach Zarathustra," the theme from the film "2001: A Space Odyssey."What spiritual songs did Elvis sing? ›
- His Hand in MineElvis Presley.
- Where Could I Go But to the LordElvis Presley.
- He Touched MeElvis Presley.
- How Great Thou ArtElvis Presley.
- Amazing GraceElvis Presley.
- Crying In the ChapelElvis Presley.
- Swing Down Sweet ChariotElvis Presley.
- I Believe in the Man in the SkyElvis Presley.
Jerry Schilling was Elvis' buddy for 23 years after he played football with the King one hot Memphis afternoon on July 11, 1954.Who was Elvis favorite female singer? ›
Elton John once said, There are only two things I know about Canada: hockey and Anne Murray." In a recent interview, Linda Thompson, a friend of the late Elvis Presley said, "Anne Murray was the King's favorite female singer and he used to listen to 'Snowbird' more than any other song.Who was more famous than Elvis? ›
However, The Beatles outrank Elvis in terms of “fame”: The Beatles scored 4.423 vs. Elvis at 3.592. In terms of achievement (referred to as “gravitas”), Presley ranks at 3.523 vs. The Beatles at 2.284.
Who was a better singer Elvis or The Beatles? ›
Vocally: Elvis had a great voice, and few could touch him. His rock 'n' roll numbers were electrifying, and his slower ballads were beautiful. His ability to command a song was just fantastic. The Beatles all had good voices (except Ringo Starr, obviously), but they couldn't touch Elvis for vocal ability.Who is bigger Elvis or Michael Jackson? ›
According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Elvis Presley sold 146.5 million albums, which is 62.5 more than Michael Jackson, who sold 84 million albums.Is Elvis the best selling solo artist of all time? ›
Elvis Presley, recognised as the best-selling solo music artist of all time by Guinness World Records, sold over 400.What is the #1 song of all time? ›
According to Guinness World Records, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" (1942) as performed by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single worldwide, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies.What is the number 1 most played song of all time? ›
There's even a dispute over the exact title. Yet “It's a Small World,” also known as “It's a Small, Small World” and “It's a Small World (After All),” is very likely the most played song in music history — nearly 50 million times.Who has sold more records than Elvis? ›
Perhaps unsurprisingly, British rock band The Beatles are top of the list for best-selling artists worldwide, with 183 million units certified sales. Second is Garth Brooks with over 157 million units sales, followed by Elvis Presley with 139 million units.Who sold the most records Elvis or Michael Jackson? ›
Elvis Presley – 146.5 million units. Eagles – 101 million units. Billy Joel – 82.5 million units. Michael Jackson – 81 million units.Who owns the royalties to Elvis Presley's music? ›
RCA Records owned all of Elvis' music recordings. The RCA Records Label was bought by BMG in the 1980s and in 2004 BMG merged with Sony Music Entertainment to become Sony BMG. Sony BMG owns Elvis' recordings and they continue to use the RCA Records label for issuing Elvis releases.How many #1's did Elvis have? ›
The oldest is Elvis Presley, who's had 18 No. 1 songs.
Did Elvis have his teeth done? ›
The always image-conscious Elvis was embarrassed about a gap in his teeth, and had a crown fitted by his Memphis dentist Henry Weiss.Did Elvis Presley wear jeans? ›
ONE thing you may not have known about Elvis Presley and his peculiar fashion choices is that he never liked wearing jeans.What was the true color of Elvis Presley's eyes? ›
What Colour is Elvis Presley's eyes? While his gorgeous locks of jet-black hair that perfectly complement Elvis Presley's eye color of striking ice blue helped him seduce any woman possible, it's surprising to know that The King of Rock' n' Roll was actually born a natural blonde.What was Elvis last #1 song? ›
Rewinding the Charts: In 1969, Elvis Presley Hit No. 1 for the Last Time With 'Suspicious Minds' Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds" hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969, marking the King of Rock & Roll's final chart-topper on the list.What was Elvis Presley's No 1 hit in the United States? ›
"Heartbreak Hotel" became Elvis' first #1 on Billboard's pop singles chart and his first gold record award winner. It reigned on the Billboard pop charts for eight weeks of its 27-week stay. It also enjoyed a 27-week run on the country singles chart with 17 of those weeks at #1.What was the #1 song in 1956? ›
Record Chart Statistics
Elvis has had no less than 149 songs to appear on Billboard's Hot 100 Pop Chart in America. Of these, 114 were in the top forty, 40 were in the top 10, and 18 went to number one. His number one singles spent a total of 80 weeks at number one.
“Don't criticize what you don't understand, son. You never walked in that man's shoes.” - Elvis often used this adaptation of a well-known quotation.Who had more #1 hits Elvis or The Beatles? ›
Presley still had more in the top 10 (38 to 31) and the top 5 (32 to 29), but at the coveted #1 position, The Beatles dominated Elvis with 20 chart-toppers to Presley's 14.
Who sold more records Elvis or Michael Jackson? ›
According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Elvis Presley sold 146.5 million albums, which is 62.5 more than Michael Jackson, who sold 84 million albums.What is considered the best song ever written? ›
- Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana.
- Imagine - John Lennon.
- One - U2.
- Billie Jean - Michael Jackson.
- Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen.
- Hey Jude - The Beatles.
- Like A Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan.
- I Can't Get No Satisfaction - Rolling Stones.
The 20 best male singers of all time, ranked in order of pure...
- Al Green. ...
- Sam Cooke. ...
- Otis Redding. ...
- Frank Sinatra. ...
- Nat King Cole. ...
- Michael Jackson. ...
- George Michael. ...
- Freddie Mercury.
“Elvis is NOT King,” wrote Jackson. “I am not prejudiced, it's just time for the first Black King now.” Jackson vowed to use his huge influence to end racism beyond the music industry. The star divulged his aims to “end prejudice” when he was writing his 1982 album Thriller.