Mae Boren Axton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Mae Boren Axton
Mae Boren Axton.jpg
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[edit]

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[edit]

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"[edit]

Main article: 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.[citation needed]


Further reading[edit]

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

External links[edit]