Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley had a whirlwind relationship.
The two met when she was only 14 and he was 24. At the time, Elvis was in the army and was stationed in a German town called Bad Nauheim. Elvis threw a party one night.
Priscilla was connected to the army through her stepfather who was enlisted. Through her connections, she was able to go and meet the rising sensation herself. However, it probably didn’t turn out how either of them was expecting.
Elvis was immediately drawn to Priscilla. Even after finding out she was only 14, he never let that fascination fade. He spent time with her that night, notably he even sang her a few songs to try and impress her.
The King’s smooth and charming voice impressed her. It would become the start of their relationship, which she often described as both fulfilling and incredibly controversial.
Meaning Behind the Elvis Presley Song
The intensely soulful and romantic ballad from Elvis remains one of his most popular tunes.
Tin Pan Alley wrote the song in 1926. Before Elvis recorded it, several other artists had recorded their own version of the song. This included Vaughan Deleath, Henry Burr, Gene Austin, Al Jolson, and Jaye P. Morgan.
According to Song Facts, Elvis ended up recording the song as a request from Colonel Parker, his manager. Parker wanted Elvis to try singing the song because it was one of his wife’s favorites.
The push to have Elvis record the song ended up being a good move. The song was No. 1 for six weeks on the Hot 100 chart.
The song is asking if the ex is feeling alone and sad after a breakup. The singer reminisces on the good times and paints a picture of life before the breakup.
In response to the song, other artists actually released songs that answered the question, “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”
The Future of the Hit
Dodie Stevens, Linda Lee, Ricky Page, and Thelma Carpenter all had their own versions called “Yes, I’m Lonesome Tonight.” The singers changed the perspective of the song but kept the same lyrics. Jeanne Black also released “Oh, How I Miss You Tonight.”
Elvis even released a “Laughing Version” of the hit. He was performing in Las Vegas and changed the line, “Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there” to “Do you gaze at your bald head and wish you had hair.” He’s on stage with a backup singer, Cissy Houston, Whitney Houston’s mother.
The song had reflected a shift in both Elvis’ life and his style. He was in his final months of service for the U.S. Army. He was also experimenting with new material.
The song had departed from his style of more lively music like “Jailhouse Rock” and “Hound Dog.” The soft ballad, however, perfectly fit with the deep and soothing sound of Elvis’ voice and would become a staple in his live performances.