Thomas Durden, who co-wrote the lyrics to the Elvis Presley hit “Heartbreak Hotel,” died Oct. 17 of natural causes at his home in Houghton Lake, Mich. He was 79.
Durden co-wrote “Heartbreak Hotel” with Mae Boren Axton. For reasons never explained, Presley was also given writing credit.
When he was performing with a band in Jacksonville, Fla. in 1956, he came across a newspaper account of a man who had committed suicide.
The man left a note that said, “I walk a lonely street,” and Durden used it as the basis for the lyrics of “Heartbreak Hotel.”
During his career, he played with Nashville legend Johnny Cash and toured with Tex Ritter.