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King Creole is an Americanmarker motion picture directed by Michael Curtiz, released by Paramount Pictures on July 2, 1958. The film stars Elvis Presley, Carolyn Jones, and Walter Matthau. It is Presley's fourth movie (the third and last filmed in black & white), and adapted from the 1952 novel by Harold Robbins, A Stone for Danny Fisher.

Primary cast


Presley plays Danny Fisher, a young, tough musician making his way in New Orleansmarker. Matthau plays Maxie Fields, a kingpin of organized crime in the city, with Jones as Ronnie, a call girl with limited prospects. With its aspects of film noir, its relatively realistic depiction of the mix of poverty and ambition, and in the unsentimental relationships between the three principal characters, King Creole fits in the mold of films from that era like The Big Knife and Sweet Smell of Success. Most critics cite this as Presley's best film, and best acting performance.


Helmed by Michael Curtiz, a noted director during the golden era of the Hollywood studio system, whose famous productions include The Adventures of Robin Hood in 1938, Yankee Doodle Dandy in 1942, and in the same year, Casablanca, ranked by the American Film Institute as the second greatest American film ever made. Hal Wallis was the number-two man at the studio that employed Curtiz during that time, Warner Bros., with over three decades of experience in hundreds of films. The cast comprised an array of supporting actors, including Academy Award winner Dean Jagger, along with the emerging A-List stars in Walter Matthau and Carolyn Jones.


King Creole is the sixth album by Elvis Presley, issued on RCA Victor Records, LPM 1884, in September 1958, recorded in three days at Radio Recorders in Hollywoodmarker. It contains songs written and recorded expressly for the film, and peaked at #2 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart. It followed the film release by over ten weeks.

The bulk of the songs originated from the stable of writers contracted to Hill and Range, the publishing company jointly owned by Presley and Colonel Tom Parker: Fred Wise, Ben Weisman, Claude Demetrius, Aaron Schroeder, Sid Tepper, and Roy C. Bennett. Conspicuous in their relatively limited contribution were Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who had come to an impasse with the Colonel during the making of the previous movie, Jailhouse Rock, in which they had practically dominated the musical proceedings. Furious over mere songwriters having such easy access to Presley without going through Parker's "proper channels," the Colonel closed off their avenue to his prize client, especially since the duo had also tried to influence Presley's film direction, pitching him an idea to do a gritty adaption of Nelson Algren's recent novel, A Walk on the Wild Side, with Elia Kazan directing, and Leiber & Stoller providing the music. The Colonel put the kibosh on such notions, although echoes of the concept remained in the film, and the pair still managed to place three songs on the soundtrack, including the title track and "Trouble," arguably the film's best songs. Presley's performance of "Trouble" in the film alludes to Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley; he would return to the song for his tremendously successful television comeback special.

The songs "Hard Headed Woman" and "Don't Ask Me Why" appeared as two sides of a single on July 10, 1958, to coincide with the release of the film. "Hard Headed Woman," the A-side, and "Don't Ask Me Why" both made the pop singles chart, peaking at #1 and #25 respectively.

The album was reisued for compact disc in an expanded edition on April 15, 1997, and again in an audiophile version from Japanmarker on August 25, 2005. For the both reissues, an additional seven tracks were added, including the song "Danny" taken from the same sessions, with six alternates, four previously unreleased.


Track listing

Side One

Track Recorded Song Title Writer(s) Time
1. 1/23/58 King Creole Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller 2:16
2. 1/16/58 As Long As I Have You Fred Wise and Ben Weisman 1:50
3. 1/15/58 Hard Headed Woman Claude Demetrius 1:53
4. 1/15/58 Trouble Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller 2:16
5. 1/16/58 Dixieland Rock Claude Demetrius and Fred Wise 1:46

Side Two

Track Recorded Song Title Writer(s) Time
1. 1/16/58 Don't Ask Me Why Fred Wise and Ben Weisman 2:06
2. 1/16/58 Lover Doll Wayne Silver and Abner Silver 2:09
3. 1/15/58 Crawfish Fred Wise and Ben Weisman 1:38
4. 1/23/58 Young Dreams Aaron Schroeder and Martin Kalmanoff 2:23
5. 1/23/58 Steadfast, Loyal And True Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller 1:15
6. 1/15/58 New Orleans Sid Tepper and Roy C. Bennett 1:58

1997 and 2005 Reissue Bonus Tracks

Positions for albums taken from the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart.
Track Recorded Original LP/EP Issue Catalogue Release Date Chart Peak Song Title Writer(s) Time
1. 1/15/58 previously unreleased King Creole (alternate version) Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller 2:04
2. 1/23/58 previously unreleased As Long As I Have You (movie version alternate) Fred Wise and Ben Weisman 1:24
3. 1/58 Elvis: A Legendary Performer Vol. 3 CP1 3082 12/78 #113 Danny Fred Wise and Ben Weisman 1:51
4. 1/16/58 previously unreleased Lover Doll (undubbed) Wayne Silver and Abner Silver 2:09
5. 1/16/58 previously unreleased Steadfast, Loyal And True (movie version) Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller 1:15
6. 1/16/58 Essential Elvis Vol. 3 RCA 2229-2-R 1/91 As Long As I Have You (movie version) Fred Wise and Ben Weisman 1:24
7. 1/23/58 Essential Elvis Vol. 3 RCA 2229-2-R 1/91 King Creole (alternate take) Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller 2:04


  • James Dean was set to play the lead role when the film was originally planned to be a straight drama. He was killed in a car crash before he could accept the role.
  • The film inspired the name for the band Kid Creole and the Coconuts.
  • The Leiber/Stoller song "Trouble" was recorded by the band Samhain in 1987, and released on the reissue of their 1990 Final Descent album in 2000. Danzig, a band composed of former members of Samhain, also recorded the song for the 1993 Thrall: Demonsweatlive EP.
  • Ranked 9th top grossing films of 1958 in film


  1. Guralnick, Peter. The King of Rock 'n' Roll: The Complete 50s Masters, 1992, box set insert booklet, p. 46-48.


  • Jorgenson, Ernst (1998). Elvis Presley: A Life In Music - The Complete Recording Sessions. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-18572-3

See also

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