They were doing the song kinda like that. We went out there every night to watch them. He'd say: 'Let's go watch that band. It's a good band! When asked if Bell had any objections to Presley recording his own version, Bell gave Colonel Tom Parker , Presley's manager, a copy of his Teen Records' recording, hoping that if Presley recorded it, "he might reap some benefit when his own version was released on an album.
There were many riots at his early concerts. Scotty Moore recalled: "He'd start out, 'You ain't nothin' but a Hound Dog,' and they'd just go to pieces. They'd always react the same way. There'd be a riot every time. So many of them, through some sort of jealousy, would practically hate him. Whatever Presley got from hearing Freddy Bell's version, which was sometime in April of , lasted a couple of months only.
In fact he sang it 21 times, live, at concerts and on television, using Bell's vocal arrangement but which also included his own blues version, at half speed, and only at the end, until he recorded it with what was undeniably, his own arrangement based not just on Scotty Moore' tremendously modern guitar work but his own rage and disgust at what had taken place the night before, at Steve Allen' s Tonight show, when he was forced to sing the song to a bassett hound, and dressed in tails while simultaneously facing an audience of 40 million.
And once he recorded it, it was his version which he chose to deliver, although by the end of , he'd added inflections from the Thornton version as well. Berle later told an interviewer that he had told Elvis to leave his guitar backstage. Fontana had added a hot drum roll between verses of the song. However, in performing "Hound Dog" "Elvis sings the first line like Freddie Bell and the Bellboys, who repeat "hound dog" behind the lead singer: Elvis sings "hound dog" and his "second voice" repeats "hound dog.
You ain't never caught a rabbit …" A final wave signaled the band to stop. Elvis pointed threateningly at the audience, and belted out, "You ain't no friend of mine.
Over 40,, people saw the performance, and the next day, controversy exploded. The display was not taken as parody. Presley sings his latest single, "Hound Dog," with all the pelvis-shaking intensity his fans scream for.
Television critics across the country slam the performance for its "appalling lack of musicality," for its "vulgarity" and "animalism. After Berle's show, Ed Sullivan , whose variety show was one of television's most popular, declared that he would never hire Presley. Steve Allen , who had already booked Presley for The Tonight Show , resisted pressure from NBC to cancel the performance, promising he would not allow the singer to offend. Steve Allen wrote: "When I booked Elvis, I naturally had no interest in just presenting him vaudeville-style and letting him do his spot as he might in concert.
Instead we worked him into the comedy fabric of our program … We certainly didn't inhibit Elvis' then-notorious pelvic gyrations, but I think the fact that he had on formal evening attire made him, purely on his own, slightly alter his presentation. For 7 hours from 2. Fontana on drums, and backing vocals from the Jordanaires. Despite its popularity in his live shows, Presley had not planned nor prepared to record "Hound Dog", but agreed to do so at the insistence of RCA's assigned producer Stephen H.
Sholes , who argued that "'Hound Dog' was so identified with Elvis that fans would demand a record of the concert standard. Though he usually slowed it down and treated it like a blues number in concert, in the studio Elvis wanted the song to come off as fast and dynamic.
We'd listen to the demo, most of the time, and we'd take it from the demo. After listening to it we actually thought it was awful and couldn't figure out why Elvis wanted to do that. As session pianist Emidio "Shorty Long" Vagnoni left to work on a rehearsal for a stage show, Stoker plays piano on this recording of "Hound Dog". Gordon also related that Elvis very much knew in his mind what he wanted the final results to be so they didn't spend a lot of time working out tempos.
He said he's never been able to figure out how you did that. I don't know either," Like three takes before was really the one you should use. That was it. We had done the thing, "Hound Dog". I think it was printed somewhere that we did it about forty or sixty … I don't know, give or take. But if someone was counting it off, just a couple notes and we stop, that's a take. You know? Musicologist Robert Fink asserts that "Elvis drove the band through thirty-one takes, slowly fashioning a menacing, rough-trade version quite different than the one they had been performing on the stage.
Scotty Moore's guitar is feral: playing rhythm he stays in the lowest register, slashing away at open fifths and hammering the strong beats with bent and distorted pitches; his repetitive breaks are stinging and even, when he begins one chorus in the wrong key, quite literally atonal And the Jordanaires, a gospel quartet who would provide wonderfully subtle rhythmic backup on the next song Elvis recorded at the session, 'Don't Be Cruel', are just hanging on for the ride during this one, while drummer D.
Fontana just goes plumb crazy. Fontana's machine-gun drumming on this record has become deservedly famous: the only part of his kit consistently audible in the mix is the snare, played so loud and insistently that the RCA engineers just gave up and let his riffs distort into splatters of clipped noise. The overall effect could not be more different from the amuse, relaxed contempt of Big Mama Thornton; it is reminiscent of nothing so much as late s white punk rage — the Ramones , Iggy Pop , the Sex Pistols.
In the end, Presley chose version 28, declaring: "This is the one. Later reissues of the single by RCA in the s designated the pair as double-A-sided. While Presley was performing "Hound Dog" on television and his record was scaling the charts, Stoller, who had been on vacation in Europe, was returning on the ill-fated final voyage of the Andrea Doria. Some white guy named Elvis Presley. It just sounded terribly nervous, too fast, too white. But you know, after it sold seven or eight million records it started to sound better.
His version is like a combination of country and skiffle. It's not black. He sounds like Hank Snow. On September 9, , with the song topping several U.
After performing "Ready Teddy", Presley performed an abbreviated version of "Hound Dog", introducing the song with the following statement: "Friends, as a great philosopher once said…" This performance garnered "a Lo these many times I have heard bad records, for sheer repulsiveness coupled with the monotony of incoherence, Hound Dog hit a new low in my experience.
The point about the whole thing is that, by all and any standards, it is a thoroughly bad record",  lacking in "tone, intelligibility, musicianship, taste [and] subtlety", through defying "the decent limits of guitar amplification". Ah, I'd like to tell you we're going to do a sad song for you. This song here is one of the saddest songs we've ever heard.
It really tells a story, friends. Beautiful lyrics. It goes something like this. Elvis was shown in full during this performance. Despite Presley being filmed only above the waist, at the end of the show Sullivan looked to the audience, saying "I wanted to say to Elvis Presley and the country that this is a real decent, fine boy, and wherever you go, Elvis, we want to say we've never had a pleasanter experience on our show with a big name than we've had with you.
So now let's have a tremendous hand for a very nice person! When 'Hound Dog' came across the radio, there was nothing in my mind that said, 'Wow, what a great song, I wonder who wrote that?
Presley's "Hound Dog" sold over 4 million copies in the United States on its first release. It was his best-selling single and, starting in July , it spent eleven weeks at number one—a record not eclipsed until Boyz II Men 's " End of the Road " held at the top for 13 weeks in Billboard ranked it as the number two song for Despite its commercial success, "Elvis used to say that 'Hound Dog' was the silliest song he'd ever sung and thought it might sell ten or twelve records right around his folks' neighborhood.
In fact, I encouraged him to record it. After the ratings success of this program, on July 31, , Presley returned to perform in Las Vegas for the first time since his unsuccessful performances in April and May Booked for a four-week, fifty-seven show engagement at the International Hotel, which has just been built and has the largest showroom in the city, "this engagement breaks all existing Las Vegas attendance records and attracts rave reviews from the public and the critics.
It is a triumph. During this concert, Presley introduced "Hound Dog" as his "special song. At one point, he decided to dedicate his next number to the audience and the staff at the International: 'This is the only song I could think of that really expresses my feeling toward the audience', he said in all earnestness, before bursting into 'Hound Dog'. Presley performed "Hound Dog" in his historic Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite concert that was the "first entertainment special to be broadcast live around the world," on January 14, Eventually it was seen in about forty countries by one billion to 1.
In December , Rolling Stone magazine ranked it No. The commercial success of Presley's RCA version of "Hound Dog" precipitated a proliferation of cover versions, answer songs, and parodies. It reached number 18 on the Kent Music Report  and appeared at number 21 on the Go-Set year-end chart. No recorded version is known to survive.
John Lennon also recorded "Hound Dog" during his huge rehearsal of early Rock and Roll classics for the Madison Square Garden concert that was released on the unauthorized album S. John Winston Ono Lennon. Tony Sheridan who was asked to join the young Beatles also recorded the Presley version of "Hound Dog". Among those artists who have recorded non-English versions of "Hound Dog" are: .
Encouraged by the decision of the U. Supreme Court in Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. Over the years "Hound Dog" "has been the subject of an inordinate number of lawsuits",  and "would eventually become one of the most litigated songs in recorded music history".
By the end of at least six "answer songs" that responded to 'Big Mama' Thornton's original version of "Hound Dog" were released. By the end of March, "Bear Cat" was in stores, prompting Billboard to describe it as "the fastest answer song to hit the market". Common practice, of course is to regard the answer as an original.
Currently publishers are putting up a fight to protect their originals from unauthorised or infringing answers. On April 4, , Robey wrote to Phillips that, "unless contracts are signed and in the office of Mr. Harris Fox by Wednesday, April 8, , I will be forced to take immediate steps with Court Actions",  hoping "this will not cause any unfriendly relations, but please remember that I have to pay when I intrude upon the rights of others, and certainly must protect my own rights.
It appears they do not think too highly of writing an answer to a hit unless a license is obtained and permission to write a parody is given by the publisher. Their requests for payment having been ignored, Robey and two other music publishers initiated unprecedented legal proceedings in April against the record companies that released these competing songs, alleging copyright infringement.
In May, Phillips responded: "There's a lot of difference in the words. As for the tune, there's practically no melody, but a rhythm pattern", adding that it is hard to differentiate between any two bar blues songs. On July 8 Robey wrote to Phillips again, thanking him "kindly for your co-operation in this matter",  but Phillips still refused to purchase a mechanical license for Thomas' "Bear Cat".
Robey then instructed his company lawyer Irving Marcus to sue Phillips and Sun Records,   hoping to use this as a test case to determine the legal status of all answer songs. In the s, Sam Phillips conceded: "I should have known better. The melody was exactly the same as theirs, but we claimed the credit for writing the damn thing".
The August 1, BillBoard reported: "Lion [Music] itself was in court defending the contention of Syd Nathan Records [ sic ] in Cincinnati that he had an interest in the song 'Hound Dog' and should have a fifty per cent share of its success. It would be the first "legal spat" for Presley's publishing company, Elvis Presley Music. In exchange for Otis using their songs, Leiber and Stoller gave Otis a one-third interest in those songs and assigned the publishing to Otis' company, Valjo Music Publishing Company.
According to the findings of the court in Valjo Music Publishing Corporation v. The court also noted: "Otis signed not only his name but also signed—or perhaps forged—the names of Stoller and Leiber to it. The president or proprietor of Lion Music Publishing Company noted the similarity of the handwriting of the signatures and made contact with Leiber and Stoller who advised him that Otis had no authority to sign their names to the agreement and that Otis was not a co-author of the song, although he was entitled to receive one-third of the royalties.
Lion then arranged for a contract with Leiber and Stoller alone for the publishing rights. Otis' credit was omitted from all subsequent records. Elvis Presley Music , Otis as plaintiff alleged that he was the co-author of "Hound Dog" along with two defendants, Leiber and Stoller. The defendants denied that Otis wrote any part of the song.
He must have realized that even though Leiber and Stoller were infants they could not disaffirm his co-authorship of a song, if in fact he had been a co-author. Despite the Court's findings, Otis continued to claim that he wrote the third verse and rewrote some of the lyrics in the second verse   —including adding "You made me feel so bad. You make me weep and moan. You ain't looking for a woman.
You're looking for a home"—and edited out what he described later as "derogatory crap". I didn't like that reference to chicken and watermelon, said 'Let's get that crap out of there.
This came out and was a big smash, and everything was all right. I had half the publishing rights and one third of the song-writing. Then Elvis Presley made it a mega hit, and they got greedy. They sued me in court.
They won, they beat me out of it. I could have sent my kids to college, like they sent theirs," Otis said. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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