Top 25 Elvis Presley Songs of All Time

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"Heartbreak Hotel" (1956)

Elvis Presley Heartbreak Hotel
Elvis Presley - "Heartbreak Hotel". Courtesy RCA

"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 song hit #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.

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"Blue Suede Shoes" (1956)

Elvis Presley Blue Suede Shoes
Elvis Presley - "Blue Suede Shoes". Courtesy RCA

"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.

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"I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" (1956)

Elvis Presley I Want You I Need You I Love You
Elvis Presley - "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You". Courtesy RCA

"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. 

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"Don't Be Cruel" (1956)

Elvis Presley Don't Be Cruel
Elvis Presley - "Don't Be Cruel. Courtesy RCA

"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.

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"Hound Dog" (1956)

Elvis Presley Hound Dog
Elvis Presley - "Hound Dog". Courtesy RCA

"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.

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"Love Me Tender" (1956)

Elvis Presley Love Me Tender
Elvis Presley - "Love Me Tender". Courtesy RCA

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. 

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"All Shook Up" (1957)

Elvis Presley All Shook Up
Elvis Presley - "All Shook Up". Courtesy RCA

"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. 

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"(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear" (1957)

Elvis Presley Teddy Bear
Elvis Presley - "Teddy Bear". Courtesy RCA

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.

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"Jailhouse Rock" (1957)

Elvis Presley Jailhouse Rock
Elvis Presley - "Jailhouse Rock". Courtesy RCA

"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.

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"Don't" (1958)

Elvis Presley Don't
Elvis Presley - "Don't". Courtesy RCA

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.

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"Hard Headed Woman" (1958)

Elvis Presley Hard Headed Woman
Elvis Presley - "Hard Headed Woman". Courtesy RCA

"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.

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"A Big Hunk O' Love" (1959)

Elvis Presley A Big Hunk O Love
Elvis Presley - "A Big Hunk O Love". Courtesy RCA

"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.

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"Stuck On You" (1960)

Elvis Presley Stuck On You
Elvis Presley - "Stuck On You". Courtesy RCA

"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. 

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"It's Now Or Never" (1960)

Elvis Presley It's Now Or Never
Elvis Presley - "It's Now Or Never". Courtesy RCA

"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.

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"Are You Lonesome Tonight?" (1960)

Elvis Presley Are You Lonesome Tonight
Elvis Presley - "Are You Lonesome Tonight". Courtesy RCA

"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.

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"Surrender" (1961)

Elvis Presley Surrender
Elvis Presley - "Surrender". Courtesy RCA

"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.


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"Can't Help Falling In Love" (1961)

Elvis Presley Can't Help Falling In Love
Elvis Presley - "Can't Help Falling In Love". Courtesy RCA

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. 

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"Good Luck Charm" (1962)

Elvis Presley Good Luck Charm
Elvis Presley - "Good Luck Charm". Courtesy RCA

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.


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"Return To Sender" (1962)

Elvis Presley Return To Sender
Elvis Presley - "Return To Sender". Courtesy RCA

"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. 

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"Crying In the Chapel" (1965)

Elvis Presley Crying In the Chapel
Elvis Presley - "Crying In the Chapel. Courtesy RCA

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.


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"A Little Less Conversation" (1968)

Elvis Presley A Little Less Conversation
Elvis Presley - "A Little Less Conversation". Courtesy RCA

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.

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"In the Ghetto" (1969)

Elvis Presley In the Ghetto
Elvis Presley - "In the Ghetto". Courtesy RCA

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.

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"Suspicious Minds" (1969)

Elvis Presley Suspicious Minds
Elvis Presley - "Suspicious Minds". Courtesy RCA

"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. 

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"Burning Love" (1972)

Elvis Presley Burning Love
Elvis Presley - "Burning Love". Courtesy RCA

"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. 

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"My Way" (1977)

Elvis Presley My Way
Elvis Presley - "My Way". Courtesy RCA

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. 

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