“Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley

In “Hound Dog”, Elvis Presley uses the term more literally to express his annoyance over the unprofitable constant noises hound dogs tend to make. Meanwhile, these same lyrics could point to an acquaintance who is perceived as good for nothing by the narrator.

Clearly, the singer no longer appreciates the presence of this ‘hound dog’ and wants them out of his life because he has not benefited from their relationship in any way. This personality is only good at pretending and disturbing the writer’s peace of mind. The idea that the song could be about a good-for-nothing yet boastful person comes to play in the verses where the writer states that people thought this person was classy. To him, it was all a pretense and he’s no longer falling for it.

Addressee is Steve Allen?

It is rumored that the person Elvis is talking to in this song is famous TV personality Steve Allen whom he had a feud with. By virtue of this, many refer to it as a diss song. That being said, it should be noted that Elvis never confirmed or denied this. Steve is best remembered for being the first host of the iconic late night TV show “The Tonight Show” (which he also co-created).

“Hound Dog” Facts

Artist(s): Elvis Presley
Writing: Jerry Leiber along with Mike Stoller
Production: Exclusively by Steve Sholes
Release: 13th of July, 1956
Album/EP: Elvis’ greatest hits album of 1958 titled “Elvis’ Golden Records”

FYI: Songwriter Leiber claimed that writing this track took only about twelve minutes.

Genre(s)

A rock and roll song. It also can be placed in the department of the rockabilly genre.

Chart Performance

  • United States: 1
  • United Kingdom: 2

Honors

  • One of the most successful singles of the 1950s and 1960s. Actually it is considered one of the music industry’s most commercially successful singles.
  • Received an induction into one of music’s most coveted hall of fames, the iconic “Grammy Hall of Fame”.
  • In Rolling Stone‘s 2004 compilation of the world’s greatest songs of all time, “Hound Dog” was placed at the 19th position. And what makes this feat more remarkable is that the list comprises of 500 great classics!

Covers

It should be noted that “Hound Dog” wasn’t originally recorded by Elvis Presley. It was first released by American singer Big Mama Thornton in 1952. Since Big Mama’s version came out, hundreds of singers and bands (including Elvis) have covered it. However, Elvis’ cover is so far the most renowned version. Elvis’ version was so popular that it was also covered by a ton of notable artists, including the following:

  • Little Richard
  • Van Morrison
  • Everly Brothers
  • Eric Clapton
  • John Lennon
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • James Taylor
  • Pat Boone

Was “Hound Dog” a single release?

Yes. The aforementioned Elvis compilation album had the support of nine singles. This was actually the third of nine singles put out by Elvis’ management to market the album. Other prominent singles from the compilation album include “Love Me Tender” and “Jailhouse Rock”.

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