Elvis Presley’s #1 Hits – Part 4

Performing to sold-out crowds of adoring fans. Winning awards and accolades. Topping the charts.

Elvis Presley, like so many musicians before and since, had those same dreams – and he accomplished his goals in dazzling, legendary fashion. Elvis didn’t just top the charts once, or even a few times – he did it repeatedly. He scored so many No. 1 hits that we’re on part four of our series about Elvis’ hit singles.

Check out part one, part two and part three – and now, on to part four.

“Don’t”

"Don't" was Elvis' 11th No. 1 hit in the U.S.

“Don’t” was Elvis’ 11th No. 1 hit in the U.S.

This you can believe
I will never leave you
Heaven knows I won’t
Baby, don’t say don’t

On September 6, 1957, Elvis was at Radio Recorders in Hollywood and was scheduled to record material for a Christmas album. It was September, though, and Elvis wasn’t in the Christmas spirit just yet. Instead he recorded “Don’t,” written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who wrote a slew of Elvis hits such as “Jailhouse Rock,” “Bossa Nova Baby,” “Trouble” and “Treat Me Nice.” Musicians Scotty Moore, D.J. Fontana, Bill Black and Dudley Brooks perform on the track. Elvis’ regular back-up vocalist group, The Jordanaires, were teamed up with soprano Millie Kirkham for the first time at this session.

“Don’t” was paired with “I Beg of You,” and the single was released in January 1958. The song topped the Billboard pop singles chart for five weeks. It performed well on other charts, too: “Don’t” peaked at No. 2 on the country chart, and it peaked at No. 4 in its 10-week run on the R&B chart. The track hit No. 2 on Britain’s pop singles chart, and it stayed on the charts for 11 weeks.

“Hard Headed Woman”

Carolyn Jones starred in "King Creole" with Elvis.

Carolyn Jones starred in “King Creole” with Elvis.

I got a woman, a head like a rock.
If she ever went away I’d cry around the clock.
Oh yeah, ever since the world began
a hard headed woman been
a thorn in the side of man.

This hit single is from the “King Creole” soundtrack. It was written by Claude DeMetrius, and Elvis recorded it on January 15, 1958 – just a few days following his 23rd birthday – at Radio Recorders in Hollywood. Elvis had already received his military draft notice, but was allowed a deferment on his induction date to have time to make “King Creole,” since Paramount had already spent a lot of pre-production money on the movie. Elvis finished the movie and its recording sessions, and Elvis began his two-year stint in the U.S. Army in March. “Hard Headed Woman” was released in June 1958, as Elvis was in basic training in Texas. “Don’t Ask Me Why” was the single’s B-side. “King Creole,” the film hit theaters in July.

Elvis’ band grew by several more musicians for these sessions, because the producers wanted to get an authentic New Orleans sound. The additional musicians were Ray Siegel on bass and tuba, Mahlon Clark on clarinet, John Ed Buckner on trumpet, Justin Gordon on saxophone and Elmer Schneider on trombone.

“Hard Headed Woman” spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard pop singles chart, and it remained on the charts for 16 weeks. It spent 10 weeks on the R&B chart, peaking at No. 2; it also peaked at No. 2 on the country chart, where it stayed for 16 weeks. The single hit No. 2 in the UK’s pop singles chart, and it stayed on the charts there for 11 weeks.

Rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson and singer/songwriter/actress Suzi Quatro have covered the tune.

“Stuck on You”

A few weeks before recording "Stuck on You," RCA gave Elvis a television set to celebrate the fact that he sold 50 million records between 1956 and 1960. This set is still on display here at Graceland.

A few weeks before recording “Stuck on You,” RCA gave Elvis a television set to celebrate the fact that he sold 50 million records between 1956 and 1960. This set is still on display here at Graceland.

You can shake an apple off an apple tree
Shake-a, shake-a sugar,
But you’ll never shake me

March 1960 was a busy time for the young King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. He returned home from his first tour of duty in the U.S. Army – and held a press conference at Graceland not long after his arrival home, had his first recording session in a while and he was given an official welcome home party by Frank Sinatra on his variety show.

It was at that recording session, on March 20, 1960, that Elvis recorded “Stuck on You.” Joining him for the track were musicians Scotty Moore on guitar and Bob Moore on bass, as well as D.J. Fontana and Buddy Harman on drums. Floyd Cramer played the piano and the Jordanaires sang the back-up vocals.

RCA was eager to get a fresh single out to fans. The company had pre-printed the record sleeve for the new single – even though that hadn’t been decided just yet – and left a center hole big enough for the label to show through. Elvis’ Army photos were used, plus the promo line, “Elvis’ 1st recording for his 50,000,000 fans all over the world.” The single was released just days following the recording session – the master had been rushed to the pressing plant and 1.4 million units were shipped to record stores. They didn’t even wait for orders. “Fame and Fortune” was the single’s B-side.

Fans eagerly gobbled up the king’s latest hit. “Stuck on You” remained at No. 1 for four weeks of its 16-week stay on Billboard’s pop singles chart. The song hit No. 6 on its 9-week run on the R&B singles chart, and peaked at No. 27 on the country chart. Across the pond in Britain, the song peaked at No. 3 for its 14-week long run on the pop singles chart.

“She’s Not You”

In the spring of 1962, Elvis recorded "She's Not You," and he filmed the comedy "Girls! Girls! Girls!"

In the spring of 1962, Elvis recorded “She’s Not You,” and he filmed the comedy “Girls! Girls! Girls!”

She knows just how to make me laugh when I feel blue
She’s everything a man could want,
but she’s not you.

Elvis recorded this song on March 19, 1962 at RCA Studio B in Nashville.

“She’s Not You” was written by Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller and blues singer/songwriter Doc Pomus. It was the first time that Leiber and Stoller teamed up with Pomus.

The musicians who played on this hit include Scotty Moore on guitar, Bob Moore on bass, D.J. Fontana on drums, Buddy Harman on drums and Boots Randolph on saxophone. Millie Kirkham and the Jordanaires provided back-up vocals. Guitarist Hank Garland was set to perform on the song, but he was badly injured in a car accident shortly before the session took place. It took two top Nashville session players, Harold Bradley and Grady Martin, to replace him.

The single was released in July 1962 with the B-side “Just Tell Her Jim Said Hello.” “She’s Not You” hit No. 1 for three of its 14 weeks on the British pop single charts. The track spent 10 weeks on the Billboard pop singles chart and peaked at No. 5. It hit No. 13 on Billboard’s R&B singles chart.

Singer Chris Isaak covered this tune, and several other Elvis songs – on his 2011 album, “Beyond the Sun,” a tribute to Sun Records.

What’s your favorite Elvis No. 1?

Find your favorite No. 1 Elvis hit on Elvis’ incredible wall of gold at Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum at Elvis Presley’s Memphis at Graceland. Get closer to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll by planning your visit at Graceland.com.


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