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The History of "Hound Dog" Song

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There have been quite a few artists who have recorded this song. Hound Dog was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller in 1952. It was originally recorded by Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton. In late 1953, Hound Dog was Big Mama’s hit record, selling over 500,000 copies. Big Mama Thornton was born on December 11, 1926, known for her powerful voice. She was around music at a young age, in a church where her father was a minister. She grew up singing in the church’s choir with her mother and her six siblings. At age 14, her mother died. She had to take responsibility at home, so she got a job in a saloon. Sammy Green, who is a music promoter, recruited her to join his Hot Harlem Revue. She stayed with the group for seven years, then realized she wanted to leave and become a singer. Her plan succeeded and in 1951 she signed a contract with Peacock Records. A year later she recorded Hound Dog. She got to tour with a variety of other artists and later in 1965 she got to tour Europe as part of the American Folk Blues Festival.

In 1969, she signed with Mercury Records and released her most successful work. Big Mama was known for her powerful voice, tough demeanor and more. She dressed in men’s clothing and drank heavily throughout her life. She later died on July 25, 1984, from a heart attack, which could’ve been caused by her drinking. On January 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi, Elvis Presley was born. He was raised by a loving family. His family had little money, but they often moved from place to place frequently. Elvis and his parents attended the Assembly of God Church, where gospel music became a huge importance in his life. He received his first guitar on his 11th birthday from his mother in 1946. After he graduated in 1953, he had to work multiple different jobs while also pursuing his dreams. In 1955 he signed with RCA Records. He began to develop a following of fans. He scored his first Number 1 single with Heartbreak Hotel. Soon, Elvis was known everywhere. You would hear him on the radio, television, wherever you possibly could. His first film, Love Me Tender was a hit in 1956. In 1956, Elvis Presley performed Hound Dog during his Las Vegas engagement. In 1957, he received a draft notice, that upcoming March he was inducted into the Army. He served in Germany for approximately a year and a half and left in 1960. In 1967, he and his fiance Priscilla got married. That following year he had a daughter Lisa Marie.

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In the early 1970’s their marriage was falling apart. They got a divorce in 1973, and Priscilla got custody of Lisa Marie. He was also dealing with a lot of personal problems, he had a growing addiction to drugs, weight problems, he was later hospitalized for drug-related health problems. In the morning of August 16, 1977, Elvis died of heart failure at the age of 42. He was buried on the Graceland property, near the gravesite of his mother. Throughout his career, he won three Grammy Awards for his gospel recordings. He had 18 No. 1 singles, including “Don’t Be Cruel”, “Good Luck Charm” and “Suspicious Minds,” with countless gold and platinum albums. Elvis has contributed to several musical genres, rock, country, and gospel are well known. In 1998, after death, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and three years later he was indicted in Gospel Music Association’s Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Even after his death, Elvis Presley has remained one of the worlds most popular icons.


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