Saturday, September 21, 2013

Record #0501: Don't Be Cruel / Hound Dog – ELVIS PRESLEY

RCA Victor 47-6604 (original, 1st pressing) USA, Jul. 13, 1956
Words & Music bySide AOtis Blackwell, Elvis Presley; Side BJerry Leiber, Mike Stoller
Musicians: Elvis Presley (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Scotty Moore (lead guitar), Bill Black (upright bass), D.J. Fontana (drums), Shorty Long (piano on side A), Gordon Stoker (piano on side B), The Jordanaires (backing vocals)
Recording sessions: Produced by Steve Sholes at RCA Studios, New York, NY, Jul. 2, 1956
Highest chart positions:  Side A - US #1, US R&B #1, US Country #1; Side B - US #1, US R&B #1, US Country #1, UK #2

How about a cross-over #1 hit on both sides of the single. I wonder how many artists have been able to do that. This classic was the biggest selling single recorded in 1956 and it sold over 6 million copies by 1961.

"Don't Be Cruel" was actually all Blackwell song, but he granted 50% credit to Elvis to ensure that he recorded it. Not a bad deal.

The UK release (HMV POP249, Nov. 1956) had "Hound Dog" as the A-side. Later US pressings (2nd pressing onwards) also featured picture sleeves, where "Hound Dog" was on top of "Don't Be Cruel".

Elvis' "Hound Dog" was a great cover, but still I prefer Big Mama Thornton's original from 1952. Even Elvis couldn't produce that amount of energy in his version. :)

List price:  Very Good+ is $15, Near Mint is $30. If you have the first or second pressing picture sleeve, that's a keeper. 1st pressing is $200 and the 2nd pressing is $100 for a Near Mint.

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