On This Day: Elvis Presley Earns First No. 1 with ‘I Forgot to Remember to Forget’ in 1956

by Katie Maloney

Sixty-five years ago today, the King of Rock n’ Roll, Elvis Presley landed his first number one hit song.

“I Forgot to Remember to Forget,” is a song about a man who truly believed that he could simply forget the woman he recently lost and moved on. However, he soon realizes that the break-up is having much more of an effect on him than he anticipated and he can’t stop thinking about his lost love. During the song, Elvis sings, “I thought I’d never miss her. But I found out somehow I think about her almost all the time. The day she went away, I made myself a promise That I’d soon forget we ever met. But something sure is wrong ‘Cause I’m so blue and lonely. I forgot to remember to forget.”

Songwriters Charlie Feathers and Stan Kesler wrote the song. Kesler had already written Elvis’s “I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone.” Then he had the idea for this song. During an interview, Kesler shared his inspiration behind the song.

“At that time, I was on the kick of catchy titles,” Kesler said. “When I began to think about that phrase, it just expanded into ‘I forgot to remember to forget her.’ From there, I started working on it, and it all fell together.”

“I Forgot to Remember to Forget,” by Elvis Presley

Elvis Almost Didn’t Record ‘I Forgot to Remember to Forget’

When his producers first presented the song to Elvis, he didn’t want to record it. He felt that the original version was too country sounding. So, the studio brought in drummer Johnny Bernero. The new addition added an uptempo beat that Elvis liked. So, he recorded the song. Ironically, the song still became a country hit. It was Elvis’s first number one song ever and it topped the Country charts on February 25, 1956. It stayed at the top for two weeks.

“I Forgot to Remember to Forget” was also later recorded by musicians Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis.