Elvis’ first number one of 1958 was the double sided hit “Don’t” backed with “I Beg of You.” “Don’t” is his first ballad since “Love Me Tender” back in 1956. On December 20, 1957, Elvis received his draft notice to appear to be inducted into the U.S. Army. Paramount Studios petitioned the government to allow Elvis to wait two months in order to finish the current movie he was working on, King Creole.
King Creole was Elvis’ fourth movie and got far better reviews than his earlier ones had. Maybe Elvis was learning how to be an actor. Neither song, “Don’t” or “I Beg of You” were in the movie. “Don’t” was recorded back in September of 1957 and “I Beg of You” even before that in January of 1957. It took 34 takes to get a good recording of “I Beg of You.”
“Don’t” was written by the team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller who are responsible for many, many hits in the Fifties. They wrote “Jailhouse Rock” and “Hound Dog” previously for Elvis.
Elvis finished King Creole and got ready to join the Army. His last recording session was February 1, 1958 when he recorded his next hit, “Wear My Ring Around Your Neck,” which reached number two. On March 24, he was inducted into the Army. That was in Memphis, Tennessee. The media turned out to cover the event as did hundreds of fans. It only took a minute and Elvis Presley became Private Presley, number US53310761 and left on the bus for Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. In a minute his salary went from about $100,000/month to $78/month.
Colonel Parker, his manager, worried about him. He wasn’t worried that Elvis would have trouble in the Army, he worried that after two years away from his public, they would forget him. That, of course, did not come true. Elvis was bigger than ever after he came back. His next number one song would come in just a few months, June of 1985.
“Don’t” hit the top of the charts on January 27, 1958 and spent five weeks at number one.
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