In January of 1956, Elvis Presley released the sexy, crooning, record-breaking single ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ and cemented his legacy as rock and roll pioneer.
The hit, quite predictably given that it was delivered by Elvis at the height of his fame, rose to the top of the singles charts the world over and had teenage girls going weak at the knees at every live concert. Fast forward thirty years though, to April 1st 1986, and the landscape of popular music had changed dramatically and punk was at the forefront.
One uncompromising band, a group built around the husband-and-wife duo of Lux Interior and lead guitarist Poison Ivy, played a pivotal part of the early formations of punk rock and did so as part of the CBGB movement that had been wreaking havoc on the streets of New York City. The Cramps, make no mistake about it, were innovators of a genre deeply engrained in their bones.
Having formed the band in 1972, Interior continued to front the band right up until he died in 2009 at the age of 62, delivering his chaotic, frenetic and downright provocative performances on a regular basis with the same vigour as he did during the chaotic 1980s.
While all the on-stage nudity, sexually suggestive performances and, at times, somewhat surreal live shows dominated music magazines the world over, The Cramps were also known to have a soft spot for popular music from time to time—even if they did make their own covers somewhat unrecognisable to the original.
In 1986, while performing in Bourges, France, the punk pioneers decided to deliver a very special cover of Elvis hit ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ knowing full well their performance was being recorded by European TV. With a band line-up of Lux, Nick, Ivy and Fur—many believing it to be the group’s strongest order—The Cramps unleashed a masterful performance.
See the clips, below.