“Hound Dog” as Influence
Chapter Five: “Hound Dog” as Influence. Records, as material objects, travel, cut off from their origin, across time and region, becoming facts in the cultural ether but at times also prefigurations of social change. This chapter tracks both versions of “Hound Dog” and a bit of “Doggie in the Window” over the decades. The confusion wrapped into the Elvis Presley recording lingered: becoming something that we can witness John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, and Neil Young, among others, grappling with, to where rocking itself became as much a mystery to parse as a thing to do. Big Mama Thornton's “Hound Dog” was a groove lineage, less conflicted, with room for inheritors like Etta James's “Atomic Dog,” even DMX's “Get at me Dog” and “Where My Dogs At.” As for “Doggie,” Laurie Anderson's “Walk the Dog,” B side to “O Superman,” provides a glimpse, all that Patti Page miniaturized vocally now writ large.