Jerry recorded ''Hound Dog'' this Leiber and Stoller composition twice for Sun, both of which remained in the can for many years (like far too many other Sun recordings). This session
of mostly Elvis covers, though this one doesn’t work quite as well as ''Don’t Be Cruel'' or ''Jailhouse Rock''. It was first issued on ''Rockin’ And Free'' in 1974. The 1960 cut is far more bluesy, and owes as much to Big Mama Thornton’s
original as it does to Elvis Presley’s more famous cover. Despite it’s quality, this had to wait until the ''Don’t Drop It'' album in 1988 for a release (the song is also on both of Jerry’s 1964 ‘live’ albums).
5(1) - "HOUND DOG" - B.M.I. - 1:24
Composer: - Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller
- Jerry Leiber Music - Mike Stoller Music
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 14, 1958
Released: - July 1974
First appearance: - Sun International (LP) 33rpm 6467 029-B2 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS -
ROCKIN' AND FREE
Reissued: - September 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15420-3-25 mono
CLASSIC JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE DEFINITIVE
SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1963
"Hound Dog" is a twelve-bar blues song by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. It was recorded by Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton on August 13, 1952
in Los Angeles and released by Peacock Records in March 1953. "Hound Dog" was Thornton's only hit record, spending 14 weeks in the Rhythm and Blues charts, including seven weeks at number 1. Thornton's recording of "Hound Dog" is listed as one of the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame's "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll", and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in February 2013.
"Hound Dog" has been recorded more than
250 times. The best-known version of "Hound Dog" is the July 2, 1956 recording by Elvis Presley, which is ranked number 19 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the ''500 Greatest Songs of All Time''; it is also one of the best-selling singles of all time. Presley's
version, which sold about more than 10 million copies globally, was his best-selling song and "an emblem of the rock and roll revolution. It was simultaneously number 1 on the United States pop, country, and Rrhythm and Blues charts in 1956, and it topped
the pop chart for 11 weeks - a record that stood for 36 years. Presley's 1956 (RCA 20/47-6604) recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1988.
has been at the center of many lawsuits, including disputes over authorship, royalties, and copyright infringement by the many answer songs released by such artists as Rufus Thomas and Roy Brown. From the 1970s onward, the song has been featured in numerous
films, in ''Grease'', ''Forrest Gump'', ''Lilo and Stitch'', ''A Few Good Men'', ''Hounddog'', ''Indiana Jones'', ''The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull'', and ''Nowhere Boy''.
August 12, 1952, rhythm and blues bandleader Johnny Otis asked 19-year-old songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller to his home to meet blues singer Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton. Thornton had been signed by Don Robey's Houston-based Peacock Records the
year before, and after two failed singles, Robey had enlisted Otis to reverse her fortunes. After hearing Thornton rehearse several songs, Leiber and Stoller "forged a tune to suit her personality, brusque and badass". In an interview in Rolling Stone in April
1990, Stoller said: "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''. Leiber recalled: "We saw Big
Mama and she knocked me cold. She looked like the biggest, baddest, saltiest chick you would ever see. And she was mean, a ''lady bear'', as they used to call 'em. She must have been 350 pounds, and she had all these scars all over her face" conveying words
which could not be sung. "But how to do it without actually saying it? And how to do it telling a story? I couldn't just have a song full of expletives''. In 1999, Leiber said, "I was trying to get something like the Furry Lewis phrase 'Dirty Mother Furya'.
I was looking for something closer to that but I couldn't find it, because everything I went for was too coarse and would not have been playable on the air''. Using a "black slang expression referring to a man who sought a woman to take care of him", the song's
opening line, "You ain't nothin' but a hound dog", was a euphemism, said Leiber. The song, a Southern blues lament, is "the tale of a woman throwing a gigolo out of her house and her life".
The song was written for a woman to sing in which she berates "her selfish, exploitative man", and in it she "expresses a woman's rejection of a man, the metaphorical dog in the title". According to Iain Thomas, "'Hound Dog' embodies the
Thornton persona she had crafted as a comedienne prior to entering the music business" by parading "the classic puns, extended metaphors, and sexual double entendres so popular with the bawdy genre''. Rhythm and blues expert George A. Moonoogian concurs, calling
it "a biting and scathing satire in the double-entendre genre" of 1950s rhythm and blues.
Leiber and Stoller wrote the song "Hound Dog" in 12 to 15 minutes, with Leiber
scribbling the lyrics in pencil on ordinary paper and without musical notation in the car on the way to Stoller's apartment. Said Leiber, "Hound Dog'' took like twelve minutes. That's not a complicated piece of work. But the rhyme scheme was difficult. Also
the metric structure of the music was not easy''. According to Leiber, as soon as they reached the parking lot and Stoller's 1937 Plymouth, "I was beating out a rhythm we called the 'buck dance' on the roof of the car. We got to Johnny Otis's house and Mike
went right to the piano…didn't even bother to sit down. He had a cigarette in his mouth that was burning his left eye, and he started to play the song''.
Presley's 1956 version Larry Birnbaum described "Hound Dog" as "an emblem of the rock 'n' roll revolution". George Plasketes argues that Elvis Presley's version of "Hound Dog" should not be considered a cover "since, most listeners, were innocent of Willie
Mae Thornton's original 1953 release". Michael Coyle asserts that "Hound Dog", like almost all of Presley's "covers were all of material whose brief moment in the limelight was over, without the songs having become standards''. While, because of its popularity,
Presley's recording "arguably usurped the original", Plasketes concludes: "anyone who's ever heard the Big Mama Thornton original would probably argue otherwise''.
was aware of and appreciated Big Mama Thornton's original recording of "Hound Dog". Ron Smith, a schoolfriend of Presley's, says he remembers Elvis singing along to a version by Tommy Duncan (lead singer for the classic lineup of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys).
According to another schoolmate, Elvis' favorite rhythm and blues song was "Bear Cat (the Answer to Hound Dog)" by Rufus Thomas, a hero of Presley's. Nevertheless, it was Freddie Bell and the Bellboys' performance of the song, with Bell's amended lyrics, that
influenced Presley's decision to perform, and later record and release, his own version: "Elvis's version of ''Hound Dog'' (1956) came about, not as an attempt to cover Thornton's record, but as an imitation of a parody of her record performed by Freddie Bell
and the Bellboys. ..The words, the tempo, and the arrangement of Elvis' ''Hound Dog'' come not from Thornton's version of the song, but from the Bellboys'''.
to Rick Coleman, the Bellboys' version "featured Dave Bartholomew's three-beat Latin riff, which had been heard in Bill Haley's ''Shake, Rattle and Roll'''. Just as Haley had borrowed the riff from Bartholomew, Presley borrowed it from Bell and the Bellboys.
The Latin riff form that was used in Presley's "Hound Dog" was known as "Habanera rhythm'', which is a Spanish and African-American musical beat form. After the release of "Hound Dog" by Elvis Presley, the Habanera rhythm gained much popularity in American
Presley's first appearance in Las Vegas, as an "extra added attraction", was in the Venus Room of the New Frontier Hotel and Casino from April 23 through
May 6, 1956, but was reduced to one week "because of audience dissatisfaction, low attendance, and unsavory behavior by underage fans''. At that time, Freddie Bell and the Bellboys, who had been performing as a resident act in the Silver Queen Bar and Cocktail
Lounge in the Sands Casino since 1952, were one of the hottest acts in town. Presley and his band decided to take in their show, and not only enjoyed the show, but also loved their reworking of "Hound Dog", which was a comedy-burlesque with show-stopping va-va-voom
choreography. According to Paul W. Papa: "From the first time Elvis heard this song he was hooked. He went back over and over again until he learned the chords and lyrics''. Presley's guitarist Scotty Moore recalled: "When we heard them perform that night,
we thought the song would be a good one for us to do as comic relief when we were on stage. We loved the way they did it''. When asked about "Hound Dog", Presley's drummer D. J. Fontana admitted: "We took that from a band we saw in Vegas, Freddie Bell and
the Bellboys. 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!' That's where he heard 'Hound Dog,' and shortly thereafter he said: 'Let's try that song'''.
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 1955 Teen Records' recording, hoping that if Presley
recorded it, "he might reap some benefit when his own version was released on an album''. According to Bell, "Parker promised me that if I gave him the song, the next time Elvis went on tour, I would be the opening act for him - which never happened''. In
May 1956, two months before Presley's release, Bell re-recorded the song in a more frantic version for the Mercury label, however it was not released as a single until 1957. It was later included on Bell's 1957 album, ''Rock & Roll…All Flavors''
(Mercury Records MG 20289). By summer 1956, after Presley's recording of the song was a million-seller, Bell told an interviewer: "I didn't feel bad about that at all. In fact, I encouraged him to record it''. After the success of Presley's recording, "Bell
sued to get some of the composer royalties because he had changed the words and indeed the song, and he would have made millions as the songwriter of Elvis’s version: but he lost because he did not ask Leiber and Stoller for permission to make the changes
and thereby add his name as songwriter''.
Soon after, Elvis Presley added "Hound Dog" to his live performances, performing it as comic relief. "Hound Dog" became Elvis
and Scotty and Bill's closing number for the first time on May 15, 1956 at Ellis Auditorium in Memphis, during the Memphis Cotton Festival before an audience of 7,000. Presley's performance, including the lyrics (which he sometimes changed) and "gyrations",
were influenced by what he had seen at the sands. As the song always got a big reaction, it became the standard closer until the late 1960s.
By 1964, Elvis Presley's
version of "Hound Dog" had been covered over 26 times, and by 1984, there were at least 85 different cover versions of the song, making it "the best-known and most often recorded rock and roll song". In July 2013 the official Leiber and Stoller website listed
266 different versions of "Hound Dog", but acknowledged that its list is incomplete. Among the notable artists who have covered Presley's version of "Hound Dog" are: Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps; Jerry Lee Lewis in July 1974 for his Sun International LP
''Rockin' And Free'' and in November 1988 for the Zu-Zazz LP ''Jerry Lee Lewis - Doný Drop It''; Chubby Checker; Pat Boone; Sammy Davis, Jr.; Betty Everett; Little Richard; The Surfaris; The Everly Brothers; Junior Wells; The Mothers of Invention; Jimi
Hendrix; Vanilla Fudge; Van Morrison; Conway Twitty; Jimi Hendrix and Little Richard; John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Elephant's Memory Band; John Entwistle; Carl Perkins; Eric Clapton; James Taylor; and (in 1993) Tiny Tim (in his full baritone voice). In
1999 David Grisman, John Hartford, and Mike Seeger included "Hound Dawg" on their 1999 album Retrograss, which was nominated for a Grammy in the Traditional Folk Album category in 2000.
''Jailhouse Rock'' recorded with several other Presley titles, this would’ve made an ideal track for Jerry’s first album but had to wait until the 1971 Sun International ''Monsters'' album for release instead. The 1986 re-cut
(released on ''Rocket'' 2 years later) isn’t bad, but The Jordanaires water things down considerable (even Elvis had the sense not to use them on this song!).
- "JAILHOUSE ROCK" - B.M.I. - 1:56
Composer: - Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller
Publisher: - Jerry Leiber Music - Mike Stoller Music
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 14, 1958
Released: - April 1971
First appearance: - Sun International (LP) 33rpm LP 124-B2 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS - MONSTERS
- September 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15420-3-24 mono
CLASSIC JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE DEFINITIVE SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1963
"Jailhouse Rock" is a song written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller that first became a hit for Elvis Presley. The song was released as a 45rpm single on September 24, 1957, to coincide with the release of Presley's motion picture,
The song as recorded by Presley is number number 67 on Rolling Stone's list of ''The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time'' and was named one of ''The Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll''. In 2004, it finished at number 21 on AFI's ''100 Years...100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema''. Presley's performance of the song in the film, choreographed as a dance routine involving
himself and a large group of male prisoners, was featured among other classic MGM musical numbers in the 1994 documentary ''That's Entertainment! III''. The film version differs from the single version of the song, featuring backing instrumentation and vocals
not heard on the record.
Some of the characters named in the song are real people. Shifty Henry was a well-known LA musician, not a criminal. The Purple Gang was a real
mob. "Sad Sack" was a U.S. Army nickname in World War II for a loser, which also became the name of a popular comic strip and comic book character. According to Rolling Stone, Leiber and Stoller's "theme song for Presley's third movie was decidedly silly,
the kind of tongue-incheek goof they had come up with for The Coasters. The King, however, sang it as straight rock and roll, overlooking the jokes in the lyrics (like the suggestion of gay romance when inmate number 47 tells Number 3, 'You're the cutest jailbird
I ever did see') and then introducing Scotty Moore's guitar solo with a cry so intense that the take almost collapses''. Gender studies scholars cite the song for "its famous reference to homo-erotics behind bars'', while music critic Garry Mulholland writes,
"'Jailhouse Rock'' was always a queer lyric, in both senses''. Douglas Brode writes of the filmed production number that it's "amazing that the sequence passed by the censors".
single, with its B-side "Treat Me Nice" (another song from the film's soundtrack) was a US number 1 hit for seven weeks in the fall of 1957, and a UK number 1 hit for three weeks early in 1958. It was the first record to enter the UK charts at number 1. In
addition, "Jailhouse Rock" spent one week at the top of the US country charts, and reached the number 2 position on the Rhythm and Blues chart. Also in 1957, "Jailhouse Rock" was the lead song in an EP (extended play), together with other songs from the film,
namely "Young and Beautiful'', "I Want To Be Free'', "Don't Leave Me Now'' and "(You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care" (but with "Treat Me Nice" omitted). It topped the Billboard EP charts, eventually selling two million copies and earning a double-platinum
RIAA certification. In 2005, the song was re-released in the UK and reached number 1 for a single week, when it became the lowest-selling number 1 in United Kingdom history, and the first to enter at number 1 twice.
Other significant recordings by Jerry Lee Lewis for Sun Records, recorded February 14, 1958 for the Sun International LP release ''Monsters'' (LP 124 April 1971); The Beatles regularly performed "Jailhouse Rock"
starting in 1958 (as The Quarrymen) and continuing all the way through 1960. "Jailhouse Rock" was performed regularly in a medley along with many old rock and roll hits by Queen as early as 1970 and was the opening song on Queen's 1979 Crazy Tour and the 1980
North American tour for The Game. It is the last song in the motion picture The Blues Brothers. The song is featured in the 1995 film ''Casper'' and the 2006 direct-to-video animated film ''Leroy and Stitch''. American Idol Season 5 contestant Taylor Hicks
performed it on May 9, 2006, and Season 7 contestant Danny Noriega performed it on February 20, 2008. In an episode of Full House, Jesse and Becky sing this song at their wedding reception. The song was used on Dancing with the Stars for four different jives
by Lisa Rinna, Lil' Kim, Tommy Chong and Alek Skarlatos. The song is included in the musical revue Smokey Joe's Cafe. Scenes from the music video of the One Direction single "Kiss You" are based on the "Jailhouse Rock" production number from the Elvis film.
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jerry Lee Lewis - Vocal and Piano
Ray W. Brown - Bass
Probably Russell Smith – Drums
Biography of Jerry Lee Lewis see: > The Sun Biographies <
Jerry Lee Lewis' Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on >
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