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Heartbreak Hotel

[Mae Axton, Tommy Durden, Elvis Presley]

Martin Carthy sang Heartbreak Hotel on his 1998 album Signs of Life. He noted:

What started me learning songs was buying two 78s on the same day. The Rock Island Line by Lonnie Donegan and Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis Presley. Lonnie made me want to play the guitar, though I never learned the song, but Heartbreak Hotel was the first song I ever learned from a record and I often wondered at the fact that, for me, Elvis never recorded as good a song subsequently. Later on, I found out that it was written by a woman called Mae Axton and felt somehow justified because she was (is) the mother of Hoyt Axton, a singer and writer I liked a lot (still do). I also felt that, if we must have royalty, the king’s crown always fitted Chuck Berry better. Or Little Richard.


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