Interesting covers goes old-time. Today we look at a milestone song “Hound Dog“. It was written by the legendary team of Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller in 1952 after meeting and hearing Willie Mae (Big Mama) Thornton. The meeting had been arranged by Johnny Otis. They were 19 at the time, unbelievable. Big Mama Thornton was the first to record it (August 1952) and released it in February 1953. It was her only hit, but the song, well that’s a different story altogether. It has been covered over 85 times and charted on several of those incarnations, although none had the success of either Big mama’s or Elvis Presley’s versions. The Elvis version is obviously the best known and placed at 19 on Rolling Stones Top 500 of all time, not to mention being in the Grammy’s Hall of Fame. Who has covered it you ask? A veritable who’s who of music and reflecting a wide diversity of style. Jerry Lee Lewis, Pat Boone, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Conway Twitty, Eric Clapton, James Taylor and Frank Zappa. Crazy! We will dispense with the poll on this, seems the work involved is not worth the 1 vote each time hahaha. We’ll start with Big Mama, move through a couple of others and finish up with Elvis. Enjoy!
The Big Mama version is very much R&B and a lot less frenetic than the more familiar Elvis effort. I like the voice and her control of the song. The instrumentation is subtly performed by some very good musicians. A great song done like this.
This version is by one of my favourites, John Lennon. Unfortunately, the song is not up to his standards, ruined by some “singing?” by Yoko doing her best imitations of a dog. Kind of funny to listen to and watch. Some good playing though.
Here is the Jimi Hendrix version, unmistakably his.
And of course, Elvis.