With the release of Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, I’m reviewing all of Elvis Presley’s 18 #1 hits on Billboard including 11 that topped pre-Hot 100 charts and 7 that topped the Hot 100 after its 1958 inception.
Elvis Presley- “Hard Headed Woman”
HIT #1: July 21, 1958
STAYED AT #1: 2 weeks
In the summer of 1958, Elvis Presley was away in West Germany as he began a two-year service in the US Army but that didn’t mean he was not absent from the pop charts and the movies. Far from it. July saw the release of his fourth picture King Creole, a movie considered by many including Elvis himself as one of his best films but because of his Army draft, it almost didn’t get made. Elvis got his draft notice before Christmas 1957 just before shooting on King Creole was to begin and not wanting to waste an opportunity to make another movie, Elvis and Paramount were able to get a 60-day deferment from the Army allowing him to shoot the movie before officially joining the service.
Even with Elvis gone from America and music, he was still a big sensation to make King Creole into another hit and its big song “Hard Headed Woman” into another #1 hit which also happened to be the last #1 song before Billboard launched its modern Hot 100 chart.
The fact that “Hard Headed Woman” comes from a movie explains a lot about it as it sounds like a show tune version of rock and roll with quick little guitar solos mixed with brassy horns all packed into a less than two-minute song. The lyrics are easily the most interesting part of the song which are essentially Elvis singing about soft-headed men being used by hard-headed women using biblical and royal metaphors to express this idea. The song’s lyrics are pretty incoherent but Elvis sings the song in a quick style that you don’t get the impression he’s really thinking much at all about what he’s singing about. At large, “Hard Headed Woman” isn’t much of a song today but Elvis’ performance and the music alone are enough to make it somewhat worthwhile.
BONUS BEATS: Here’s Conan O’Brien’s 2011 cover of “Hard Headed Woman”: