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Hound Dog

Hound Dog


by Elvis Presley


Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote "Hound Dog." Recorded by Big Mama Thornton in 1952, the song was one of their earliest hits. The team was productive well into the 1980s, but their greatest success occurred in the 1950s and 1960s with songs like "Hound Dog," "Kansas City," "Stand By Me," and "Is That All There Is." 

The pair also became known for songs that use colorful, humorous language and teen vernacular. In "Poison Ivy" they wrote "she's pretty as a daisy but look out man she's crazy . . . You'll be scratchin' like a hound the minute you start to mess around." In "Along Came Jones" the pair tapped into every kid's Saturday morning memories: "I plopped down in my easy chair and turned on Channel 2, a bad gunslinger called Salty Sam was chasin' poor Sweet Sue." And in one of their most famous songs recorded by the Coasters, kids were simply warned "Yakety Yak, don't talk back."   

Leiber and Stoller wrote "Hound Dog" before they had settled into this "teen-talk" niche, but they were already demonstrating their interest in using plain, colorful speech in their lyrics. The team was clearly influenced by the blues, which had always drawn upon the vernacular in voicing the trials of common people. In this regard, Leiber and Stoller demonstrate further the connection between R&B and rock and roll.

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