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Chapter Four: Elvis Presley Belatedly Records “Hound Dog”. This chapter offers a view of Elvis up close. Thanks to YouTube and DVDs we can linger on the TV appearances, where past listeners had only recordings to replay. This chapter traces the steps by which Elvis Presley covered “Hound Dog.” He took the much sillier Freddie Bell and the Bellboys version, made his own performance a bump and grind on Milton Berle (who still played it for laughs), got a national controversy, felt humiliated by Steve Allen (who had him sing it to a dog), then recorded the full-on rage and working-class statement in thirty-one studio takes the very next day—in control at last. He had to study the result and never totally aspired to rock in that fashion; on The Ed Sullivan Show, he got there via Little Richard, mocking “Hound Dog” with the show-business deprecation once used on him. But the 45 existed regardless, a performance loaded onto an object.

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