Sound Check

Elvis Presley’s song secrets revealed

Elvis Presley performs on stage with his band in 1956. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Today would have been legendary artist Elvis Presley’s 78th birthday and as our salute to the King of Rock and Roll, here are a few fun facts about his music that you might not have known.

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1. “Can’t Help Falling In Love”
This 1961 track took Presley 29 takes to get right and features elements of the 18th-century song "Plaisir d'Amour" by Italian musician Giovanni Martini. It has also been covered numerous times by bands such as UB40, who recorded a reggae rendition of the tune, as well as the Swedish pop group A-Teens, who released their pop version in 2002.

2. “Hound Dog”
According to Rolling Stone, this 1956 track’s famous lyric “You ain't nothin' but a hound dog” is code for “You ain't nothin' but a motherf-cker." You might also remember that “Hound Dog” is the tune a young Forrest Gump danced to in the 1994 film “Forrest Gump” and later saw the King mimicking his movements on television while passing a store window.

3. “Heartbreak Hotel”
Not only is “Heartbreak Hotel” one of Presley’s most notable songs, but it is also an actual hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. However, did you know that the tune is based on a suicide note?

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In 1956, songwriter/musician Tommy Durden saw a report in the Miami Herald about a man who had taken his own life and all they found in his pocket was a suicide note that read, “I walk a lonely street.” Inspired by the note, Durden then reached out to his friend Mae Boren Axton and together with Presley, they penned one of the greatest songs of all time.

4. “All Shook Up”
There are conflicting reports about how this 1957 song came to be. The San Francisco Weekly notes that co-songwriter Otis Blackwell wrote the track after his boss opened a bottle of Pepsi that was “All Shook Up” and it covered him in the caramel coloured soda pop. After which, Blackwell’s boss remarked, “There, write a song about that," and he did.

The publication also says that Presley once claimed in an interview that he came up with the idea for the tune in a dream after admitting that he rarely wrote songs even though he is credited a number of times.

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He said, “It's all a big hoax, honey. I never wrote a song in my life. I get one-third of the credit for recording it. It makes me look smarter than I am. I've never even had an idea for a song. Just once, maybe. I went to bed one night, had quite a dream, and woke up all shook up. I phoned a pal and told him about it. By morning, he had a new song, 'All Shook Up.'”

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