A Blast from the Past / YouTube
So many of Elvis Presley‘s songs have earned an iconic status. It’s a challenge to pick which Elvis song is the best, but for many, their favorite is his 1956 multiple chart topper “Heartbreak Hotel.”
It would be impossible to count the number of artists that have covered “Heartbreak Hotel” over the years. Just a sample of the talented artists who put their own spin on the tune include Lynyrd Skynyrd, Merle Haggard, and Bob Dylan. But a cover by one major country legend stands out above the rest.
Back in 1979, Willie Nelson and fellow country star Leon Russell recorded their own version of “The King’s” timeless classic. Their version experienced great chart success, and claimed the number one spot on the Billboard country charts following its release.
Willie and Leon took their version of “Heartbreak Hotel” to television, and were joined by Willie’s longtime harmonica player, Mickey Raphael. Their performance was a mix of country and blues, and a little bit more upbeat than Elvis’ original version.
Standing in a barn-like setting with a giant Texas flag painted behind them, Willie, Leon, Mickey, and the rest of the band brought down the house with a performance that certainly would have made Elvis smile.
Although we never see the audience, we can tell they were thrilled by Willie and company’s performance. Long before the band ever finished playing, the crowd was already showering them with cheers and rounds of applause.
You can tune in to Willie’s rendition of “Heartbreak Hotel” below to see for yourself. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself grooving along in your seat.