Elvis was in the army when “Hard Headed Woman” hit the top of the charts. The song was from his latest movie King Creole. He had filmed the movie and completed the soundtrack before he was called up to serve. It was his tenth number one song.
“Hard Headed Woman” was written by Claude DeMetrius and is a really short song, coming in at less than two minutes. It was when it was on the charts that Elvis’ mother began to have problems. Elvis was stationed in Fort Hood, Texas and he had rented a house so his parents could stay nearby. Being just off base, he could visit them whenever he had a chance. It was while “Hard Headed Woman” was moving up the charts that Gladys, Elvis’ mother became gravely ill.
They took her back to Memphis to be treated. She checked into the Methodist Hospital where she was diagnosed with acute severe hepatitis. Elvis requested a leave of absence to go see his mother, but the Army refused him. They didn’t want to appear to be showing favoritism. In reality, Elvis had every right to get a leave. They would have granted it to any other soldier in the same situation.
Gladys got worse and finally the Army let him go see her. Elvis arrived at the hospital on August 12, 1958 and stayed there night and day until on the morning of August 14, when Gladys Presley passed away. You have probably heard or can maybe tell from this article that Elvis was very close to his mother. Her death was very traumatic for him. Elvis told the press that Gladys was more like a friend than a mother.
After a few days to settle things in Memphis, he returned to Fort Hood and prepared to disembark to Germany where he would serve the remainder of his tour of duty.
“Hard Headed Woman” entered the pop charts on June 30, 1958 and spent two weeks at number one. It also reached number two on the R&B chart and became the first rock and roll record (not sure how they determined that) to be certified as a Gold record by the RIAA.
Here is a video which shows various scenes from the King Creole movie with the song paying behind it.
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