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Mae Boren Axton

Mae Boren Axton
Born Mae Boren
(1914-02-09)February 9, 1914
Bardwell, Texas, United States
Died April 9, 1997(1997-04-09) (aged 82)
Hendersonville, Tennessee
Nationality American
Occupation Music promoter
Known for Co-writing "Heartbreak Hotel"

Mae Boren Axton (September 14, 1914 in Bardwell, Texas – April 9, 1997 in Hendersonville, Tennessee) was known in the music industry as the 'Queen Mother of Nashville'. She co-wrote, with Tommy Durden, the Elvis Presley hit single "Heartbreak Hotel".[1] She worked with Mel Tillis, Reba McEntire, Willie Nelson, Eddy Arnold, Tanya Tucker, Johnny Tillotson, and Blake Shelton.


  • Personal life 1
  • Music career 2
    • "Heartbreak Hotel" 2.1
  • Death 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6

Personal life

Mae Boren was born in Texas to Mark L. and Nannie Boren. The only daughter out of nine children, she was the sister of United States Congressman Lyle Boren.[2] When Boren was two years old the family moved to Oklahoma. She attended East Central State College and the University of Oklahoma, where she earned a bachelor's degree in journalism. She obtained a public teaching certificate and taught English and journalism at schools throughout Oklahoma.[3]

Boren married John T. Axton, an officer in the US Navy, and they had two sons: country star Hoyt Axton and John, who became an attorney. The family lived in Comanche, Oklahoma during the children's pre-teen years. In 1949, the family moved to Jacksonville, Florida when Axton became stationed there. Boren taught English at Dupont High School.[4]

Music career

Boren is credited with writing approximately 200 songs.[5] "Skid Row" a song recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis is perhaps her most famous song after "Heartbreak Hotel".

"Heartbreak Hotel"

Boren was the link between Elvis Presley and RCA Records. She introduced a 19-year-old Presley to Colonel Tom Parker after a performance in Jacksonville, FL. She worked on behalf of Bob Neal to promote Presley and pressured RCA Nashville division head Stephen H. Sholes to sign Presley. In 1955 Boren co-wrote the Elvis Presley hit-song "Heartbreak Hotel" with Tommy Durden.[5] Durden presented the idea to Mae Axton, from a newspaper article he had read about a man who had killed himself, leaving behind only the message "I walk a lonely street." It was Mae who suggested there be a Heartbreak Hotel at the end of the man's lonely street thus creating Elvis' first #1 record and one of rock n rolls greatest hits.[6]


In 1997 at the age of 82, Mae drowned in her hot tub at her home in Hendersonville, Tennessee, after an apparent heart attack.


  1. ^ "Thomas Durden". Obituaries.  
  2. ^ Oklahoma Historical Society: Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture-AXTON, LYLE HAGLER
  3. ^ Oklahoma Historical Society: Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture-AXTON, MAE BOREN
  4. ^ Larry Cohen Productions: North Florida Music Hall of Fame-Axton, Mae
  5. ^ a b Axton, 384.
  6. ^ DeMain, Bill. """Elvis’ First #1 Hit: "Heartbreak Hotel. Performing Songwriter. 

Further reading

  • Axton, Mae Boren. Country Singers as I Know 'Em. Hurst: Sweet Publishing Co. (1973).

External links

  • Mae Boren Axton from Black Cat Rockabilly Europe
  • Obituary from The Independent
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