Songs in Our Heart # 84
June 5, 1956: Elvis Presley performs “Hound Dog” on the Milton Berle show and scandalises America. It’s a classic Lieber-Stoller 12-bar blues song, originally recorded by the great rhythm-and-blues singer from Alabama, Willie Mae (“Big Mama”) Thornton. But though she had a big hit with it, Elvis gave it legendary status, with truly great vocals and, on television, fast swinging hips. The hips did it, and thus America grew up, via television’s genius for soft porn, piped into her lounge rooms.