It occurred to me that because the other day I posted a video of Mike Stoller's recent song, "Charlotte," and wrote a profile about why he and Jerry Leiber should be Kennedy Center Honorees, and presented a graphic of the cover the their biogrophy, Hound Dog, titled after probably their most-famous song...I should really post of a video of that song.
But not the version you know, from Elvis. The original version. The song that Leiber and Stoller wrote, as they intended it. The original by Big Mama Thornton. I'm guessing that most people never heard it. I'm guessing that most people likely don't even know it exists.
(By the way, one of the miracles of The Magic of the Internet can be encompassed in this tale. I originally posted a long article in praise of Leiber and Stoller on the Huffington Post a few years ago. A couple days later, the phone rang. "Is this Robert Elisberg?" the voice asked. Yes, it is. "HI, this is Mike Stoller." Look up the word "flabbergasted" in the dictionary, and you'll see a picture of me. But the story gets even more amazing. The article had gotten to his attention, he was so appreciative of it, said such nice things -- and then mentioned that he and Jerry Leiber were having a book promotion for their new biography. That night. In Venice, California, about 20 minutes from where I live! "We'd love to have you come by." Uhhhh, and so I did. Quite the treat, as you can imagine. And Mike and I have stayed in touch since, having a few meals together, and trading emails. The Magic of the Internet, indeed. I heartily recommend it. But I digress...)
Leiber and Stoller were always grateful to Elvis for his recording. The did at least 20 songs with him. But they always loved the original version of the song the most. The lyrics are different, the driving rhythms are extremely different, the point and feel of the song is different. It's rich, vibrant, guttural and powerful. You may prefer the Elvis Presley recording -- to each their own. But after hearing the original, you probably won't listen to the Elvis version the same.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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