After its July 1956 release, Presley’s “Hound Dog” became an across-the-board sensation. It topped the R&B and country charts, and gradually reached number one on the pop charts. The song initially preventing the song from topping the list? “Don’t Be Cruel,” the A-side of his own single.
Imagine her surprise when she turned on the radio a short time later and heard her version of “Hound Dog.” “I just had to rush out to the store and buy it. Then I had to buy a record player cause I didn’t own one and sit in my dressing room, playing the record and learning the song all over again so I could include it in my show,” Thornton recalled to NME. At just 25 years old, Thornton had scored a smash hit, with the single selling almost two million copies.
In April 1956, Presley found himself in an unfamiliar situation. While he had experienced great chart success at that point, his two-week run at Las Vegas’ Frontier Hotel was proving to be a flop. Unlike screaming teenage fans, adults appeared immune to the young star’s charisma. After another dreary show, Presley decided to take in a show by Freddie Bell and the Bellboys at a neighboring hotel. There he witnessed the group’s rocked-out version of “Hound Dog.” Presley cracked up at what he deemed were silly lyrics, but expressed interest in the track. On July 2, 1956, he entered RCA Studios to record “Hound Dog,” closely following Freddie Bell and the Bellboys’ arrangement. However, he elected to change some of the lyrics, adding lines such as “you ain’t never caught a rabbit, and you ain’t no friend of mine” (this particular lyric may have originated from Bell). Other changes included substituting Thornton’s “Well they said you was high class, I can see through that” with “Well they said you was high class, but that was just a lie.”
During rehearsal, Otis played drums, turning off his snare to create a tom-tom-like sound. Another musician, Pete Lewis, re-tuned his guitar to an old Southern style. After Thornton ran down the lyrics, the group decided to record “Hound Dog” the very next day, August 13, 1952. During the recording, the songwriting duo encouraged her to growl the words. “She was a wonderful blues singer, with a great moaning style. But it was as much her appearance as her blues style that influenced the writing of ‘Hound Dog’ and the idea that we wanted her to growl it,” recalled Stoller. “Which she rejected at first. Her thing was ‘Don’t you tell me how to sing no song!’”
According to Hound Dog: The Leiber & Stoller Autobiography, Mike Stoller received a call from Johnny Otis, a performer, producer, and talent scout who greatly impacted R&B as well as rock. Otis had received marching orders from Don Robey, the head of Peacock and Ace Records concerning labelmate Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton, a hard-living singer, drummer, and harmonica player who badly needed a hit. Otis invited Stoller and songwriting partner Jerry Leiber to hear the singer rehearse. Once they heard her powerful voice, they instantly agreed to write her a song. “I saw Big Mama as the perfect instrument for just the kind of deadly blues that Mike and I relished,” Leiber wrote. In just a few minutes, the duo had composed “Hound Dog” and brought it to the singer. At first, Thornton tried singing it as a ballad, but after Leiber demonstrated the bluesy feel he desired, “she heard the rough-and-tough of the song and, just as important, the implicit sexual humor. In short, she got it,” according to Stoller.
What instruments are used in Hound Dog?
The Hound dog song has a very quick tempo and its very up beat. The instruments used in this songs are guitars, drums, keyboards and many more. The structure of this song is Intro, chorus, solo, intro chorus and the ending would be the intro.
What is the tempo of Hound Dog by Elvis Presley?
Hound Dog is avery happysong byElvis Presleywith a tempo of87 BPM.It can also be used double-time at 174 BPM.
What instruments were used in Hound Dog?
What instruments did Big Mama Thornton?
Who played guitar on Elvis Presley’s Hound Dog?