Saturday, July 31, 2004

hoyt axton

Flop Eared Mule has mentioned Tom Russell Indians Cowboys Horses Dogs (Hightone Records) several times now. Amanda's latest review has convinced me to get the album.

Its great to see her mention picking up a cheap CD of of Hoyt Axton.

Composer of Heartbreak Hotel with composer of Joy to The World

On first hearing Steppenwolf I was smitten and I think I first saw the name Hoyt Axton on a 4 track Steppenwolf EP with “Pusherman” (Axton) "Sookie Sookie" (Steve Cropper and Don Covay) and two other tracks, one of which I assume was “Born to Be Wild” . I have no idea of the other track just now. (I still have the EP but its "packed away").

When I saw the writer as Hoyt Axton I was sure it was one of those made up names like Nanker Phelge. At some stage in my hep cat geekery it occurred to me that that Axton might be related to the composer of Heartbreak Hotel also called Axton.

One of my many joyous discoveries was to find that Hoyt Axton was real and it was his mum who wrote that most radical pop song of all time Heartbreak Hotel. The story goes that Tommy Durden wrote the lyrics as a ballad but then Mae Axton wrote the music with Elvis in mind.

Hoyt wrote huge hits in Greenback Dollar taken to No1 by The Kingston Trio (who also recorded Blowin' in The Wind) and Joy To The World also taken to No1 by Three Dog Night. For a long time my favourite album of his was Less Than The Song from around 1973. There wouldnt be many people of a certain age who couldn't remember and sing along with Greenback Dollar and Joy to the World.

Now, as is common after reading Flop Eared Mule, I have many things to do:

Buy the Tom Russell CD
Get out the Steppenwolf EP and whack it in the jukebox
Slap the Hoyt Axton LP on the turntable
Listen to Elvis doing Heartbreak Hotel yet again and marvel

The Axtons - what a great mother and son.