July 13, 2018

45 RPMs 24: Elvis Presley ~ Don't Be Cruel

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Two versions of the picture sleeve were manufactured, one listing Hound Dog first. This sleeve, listing Don't Be Cruel first is rarer.                
     
     
    
    
   
    
      
     
Elvis Presley, Hound Dog
45 RPM record sleeve
sleeve photographer unknown 
photo of sleeve by Styrous® 
      
  
     
On July 13, 1956, the Elvis Presley single, Hound Dog, written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, was released. Presley recorded the song on July 2, 1956 during a session at RCA studios in New York City; Any Way You Want Me and Don't Be Cruel were cut at the same time. I was familiar with Bill Haley but had not heard of Presley before.  

Hound Dog was the "A" side of the 45 but as I was into Rhythm & Blues before I ever heard of Rock and Roll, I was familiar wth the original recording of the song by Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton with Johnny Otis and wasn't crazy about the Presley version which was faster and not as sensual. Although it wasn't R&B but rockabilly, it was the same with Blue Suede Shoes by Carl Perkins. This happened to me several times with R&R covers of songs in the 50's that I later came to like.


Elvis PresleyHound Dog 
45 RPM record, side 1
photo by Styrous®


Thornton recorded Hound Dog on August 13, 1952, in Los Angeles and it was released by Peacock Records in late February 1953; it was Thornton's only hit record, selling over 500,000 copies, spending 14 weeks in the R&B charts, including seven weeks at number one. Thornton's recording of Hound Dog is listed as one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll" and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in February 2013.       


 
45 RPM record label, side 1
photo by Styrous®
 

And then I heard the "B" side, Don't Be Cruel, written by Otis Blackwell; the expression had not been coined then but I was totally blown away!           
WOW!


       
            
Elvis Presley, Don't Be Cruel    
45 RPM record, side 2
photo by Styrous®



 
Elvis Presley, Don't Be Cruel   
45 RPM record label, side 2
photo by Styrous® 

Other artists covered Don't Be Cruel including Connie Francis (1959, Rock 'n' Roll Million Sellers), Annette Peacock, Barbara Lynn (1963, Jamie #1244 45 RPM, #93 on the Hot 100), the Bill Black Combo, Billy Swan, Devo, Cheap Trick, Daffy Duck, Merle Haggard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Neil Diamond, and Jackie Wilson have recorded the song. Debbie Harry recorded the song for the Otis Blackwell tribute album Brace Yourself! A Tribute to Otis Blackwell. A cover by American country music duo The Judds peaked at number 10 on the BillboardHot Country Singles chart in 1987. The Cheap Trick version of this song reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1988.   
45 RPM record sleeve back
back sleeve photo photographer unknown
photo of cover by Styrous® 


Don't Be Cruel was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2004, it was listed #197 in Rolling Stone's list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song is currently ranked as the 173rd greatest song of all time, as well as the sixth best song of 1956, by Acclaimed Music.  

Until 1992, its 11-week domination of the Number One spot was the longest in history. It is the only single in history to have both sides reach #1 in the US.       

  
Tracklist:

Side 1:

A     Hound Dog, written by Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller* - 2:15

Side 2:

B     Don't Be Cruel, written by  Otis Blackwell - 2:03

Notes:

Version with horizontal line on label.    
      
Elvis Presley ‎– Hound Dog / Don't Be Cruel
Label: RCA Victor ‎– 47-6604
Format: Vinyl, 7", 45 RPM
Country: US
Released: 1956
Genre: Rock
Style: Rock & Roll
      
       

Viewfinder links:     
         
Elvis Presley articles/mentions        
Don't Be Cruel lyrics     
     
Net links:     
         
Songfacts ~ Don't Be Cruel 
RollingStone ~ 500 Greatest Songs of All Time     
SecondHandSongs ~ Don't Be Cruel covers       
     
YouTube links:     
         
Elvis Presley - Don't Be Cruel         
                      - Hound Dog               
"Big Mama" Thornton ~ Hound Dog  
       
      
    
    
Styrous® ~ Friday, July 13, 2018                    
          
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