Why 1 of Elvis Presley’s Girlfriends Cried When She Heard ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight?’ on TV

One of Elvis Presley‘s girlfriends wrote about hearing his song “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” on television. Subsequently, she cried. In a book, she revealed the thoughts she was having about Elvis at the time.

Elvis Presley playing songs on a guitar
Elvis Presley | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

1 of Elvis Presley’s girlfriends heard ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight?’ after he died

Linda Thompson is a songwriter, actor, and beauty pageant contestant who dated the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll from 1972 to 1976. Elvis died in 1977. In her 2016 book A Little Thing Called Life: On Loving Elvis Presley, Bruce Jenner, and Songs in Between, she recalled watching coverage of Elvis’ death on television.

“From the living room, the sound of the news drifted in, as the channel I had turned on earlier was revisiting the story of his passing with expanded and repeated coverage, and I could hear him singing, ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight?'” she wrote. “Hearing his voice, and those words, of all words, of course, I just lost it. So many feelings, rushing me, stirring my memories.”

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What Linda Thompson thought about Elvis Presley after hearing the song

Thompson recalled memories of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. “I could still feel him there with me, his presence and the history we’d shared together, and even to this day, I can recall vividly, viscerally, the essence of who and what Elvis Presley was in my life,” she wrote. “He had breathed that same air I was breathing, and now, he would breathe no more.”

Thompson started to think of the afterlife. “I started crying again, and this time I couldn’t stop,” she remembered. “Elvis had now more than left the building. His soul had ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth and winged and soared where eagles dare not fly.'” She was quoting the Blue Angels’ creed.

Elvis Presley sitting with Linda Thompson
Elvis Presley with Linda Thompson | Tom Wargacki/WireImage

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The way listeners reacted to ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight?’

“Are You Lonesome Tonight?” became a huge hit. It was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks in the early 1960s. It remained on the chart for 16 weeks in total. “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” appeared on the 2002 compilation album Elvis: 30 #1 Hits. Elvis: 30 #1 Hits stayed atop the Billboard 200 for three of its 118 weeks on the chart.

“Are You Lonesome Tonight?” was popular in the United Kingdom as well. The Official Charts Company reports the track was No. 1 in the U.K. for four of its 15 weeks on the chart in the early 1960s. Subsequently, “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” reached No. 46 in 1977, No. 25 in 1982, No. 68 in 1991, and No. 2 in 2005. Meanwhile, 2002’s Elvis: 30 #1 Hits was No. 1 in the U.K. for two of its 125 weeks on the chart. “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” impacted Thompson and many others.

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