Elvis Presley admitted that he felt “regret” after a live performance of one of his hit singles in 1956. The star was still up and coming in the music world, but was slowly gaining notoriety in the United States. As a result, he was invited to appear on The Steve Allen Show on July 2, 1956 to play one of his biggest songs at the time: Hound Dog. But when he took the stage, disaster struck the young man.
Elvis was still very new to the industry at the time. At just 21, he was learning the ropes and had already earned quite a reputation for his shaky hips. Elvis the Pelvis, as he was known, was condemned by experts across the country for his “vulgar” dance moves. So as a result, Steve Allen changed things up for his performance.
Steve, at the time, was a well-respected TV host, and while he was open to having all sorts of acts perform on his show, he wasn’t happy with Elvis’s dance moves. As a result, he convinced his bosses at NBC that he could control Elvis’s movements. He then struck a deal with the King’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, who agreed to have the star take the stage in a “new and improved” way.
As a result, instead of strutting around in one of his extravagant suits, Elvis walked onto Steve’s stage in a bowtie and tails.
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Years later, Elvis was asked about this performance that involved him standing almost completely still while singing along with a dog.
He confessed: “It was the most ridiculous appearance I ever did.” With an added fury that the star rarely displayed, she said, “I’m sorry I did it.”
Despite the horrible experience he endured on the television show that day, Elvis recorded Hound Dog for the first time the next day. And it was a complete success.
Hound Dog reached number one on eight of the Billboard Hot 100 charts, including the most played and best selling charts. In the UK, it reached number two on the national singles charts.
Years later, in 1988, Elvis’ version of the classic song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine placed it at number 19 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
The song was so successful that even The Beatles covered it. Paul McCartney and John Lennon were big fans of Elvis and were constantly influenced by the King’s music. Lennon was even once quoted as saying, “Nothing affected me until I heard Elvis. Without Elvis, there would be no Beatles.”
Hound Dog also broke a record previously held by Bing Crosby. The single sold over 3 million copies in 1958, becoming the first song since White Christmas to do so.
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