Elvis Presley is known best by the many songs that he sang, however, he was also a very big fan of animals. Elvis had many kinds of pets. He had horses, peacocks, and a chimpanzee named Scatter and before he became famous, he was known as the “Hillbilly Cat, " in his hometown.
The song “Hound Dog" was written by two teenagers, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller on the back of a paper bag. The song was originally written for blues singer Willie Mae “Big Mama" Thornton. Her version was slow, country blues and along with some different lyrics than the version Elvis heard in Las Vegas. Elvis Presley wanted to record the song when he heard Freddie Bell and the Bellboys’ Vegas version.
Elvis performed the song “Hound Dog" on a television variety show in 1956. He changed its style and let the rhythm drive the song rather than the lyrics. There were over 40 million people viewing that performance. The television network that aired the show received complaints about the way Elvis moved his body while singing. The television critics said Elvis Presley had no talent (that was a lie). Worse than this was that he was a bad influence on the children (this is not true either) and vicious rumors spread about him (he was just too much of a good thing and his critics were probably jealous).
The next time Elvis appeared on national television he again sang “Hound Dog, " but this time he sang to a basset hound dog wearing a top hat. It was said by some that he did not really want to do that and that he felt humiliated singing to a dog. Can you imagine? I vote for the first performance where it let the rhythm drive the song!
Elvis had to stand still behind the microphone in the studio while he recorded the song because of the type of recording technology available in 1956. Elvis, as we all know today, had a much different performing style. He liked to move around while singing and a lot of us liked to watch him move around just as well. The girls were fainting and believe me had I been there, I probably would have fainted as well. My heart always beat twice as fast when I heard Elvis sing or saw him performing.
At first, the songwriters did not like Elvis's version of “Hound Dog, " but as they got to know him better, they realized just how much he knew about music and they respected his style. His version of “Hound Dog" became a number one hit, and was also one of the 10 greatest jukebox hits of all time. “Don't Be Cruel" was on the other side of the record. This single was the first record to top all three Billboard charts: Popular, country and western, and rhythm and blues. It sold over 4 million copies in the United States when first released.
Elvis went onto to record around two dozen more songs by Leiber and Stoller, one of which was the famous “Jailhouse Rock. " I can still hear the words going over in my head now, “and dancing to the Jailhouse Rock. " What a dynamic performer Elvis Presley was in his day and time. In my opinion, there has been no match.
When Elvis sang “Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear" in his second movie, Loving You, he received hundreds of teddy bears from his adoring fans. He tried to keep everything he received from his fans; however, there were just too many teddy bears. He gave truckloads away to children in Memphis Hospitals and childcare centers (Elvis had a big, loving heart). Throughout our country, various organizations still collect teddy bears to donate to children in Elvis's name. The True Fans for Elvis Fan Club holds an annual auction to raise money to buy teddy bears to give to children.
Elvis's teddy bear Mabel was once kept in a museum exhibit and guarded by guard dogs, however, those guard dogs for unknown reasons, went on a rampage and shredded hundreds of the teddy bears to bits, including poor, poor Mabel. The dogs were fired from their guard job (which was expected) and Mabel, the Teddy Bear, once considered the most valuable Teddy Bear of all, is no more.
The song “Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear" was written by Kal Mann and Bernie Lowe and became a number one hit in 1957.
Source: Lopata, P. (2008, May). Elvis Goes to the Animals. Faces (07491387), 24(2), 6. Retrieved July 31, 2008, from MAS Ultra - School Edition database.
Written by: Connie Limon For more Arts and Entertainment articles visit http://smalldogs2.com/ArtsandEntertainment You might also want to stop by http://smalldogs2.com/ElvisPresleyGraceland