This song was written by Claude DeMetrius and recorded by Elvis on January 15, 1958 at Radio Recorders in Hollywood for his fourth film, "King Creole". Elvis had received his military draft notice, but got a deferment on his induction date in order to have time to make the film, on which Paramount had already spent a lot of pre-production money. Elvis completed the film and its related recording sessions. In March, he began his two-year stint in the U.S. Army. While Elvis was in basic training in Texas, Take 10 of "Hard Headed Woman" was released as a single, shipped on June 10, 1958 with "Don't Ask Me Why" as the B-side. The film hit theaters in July.
In order to get the Dixieland sound of New Orleans, the setting for the film's story, Elvis' own band was supplemented by a brass section: Ray Siegel (bass and tuba), Mahlon Clark (clarinet), John Ed Buckner (trumpet), Justin Gordon (saxophone) and Elmer Schneider (trombone).
On Billboard's pop chart the single hit #1 for 2 weeks and spent 16 weeks on the chart. It spent 10 weeks on the R&B chart, peaking at #2. It spent 16 weeks on the country chart, peaking at #2. On the British pop singles chart it peaked at #2 in its 11-week run.
Others who have recorded the song since then include Charlie Daniels, John Lee Hooker, Wanda Jackson and Cat Stevens.