In 1956, Elvis heard the song for the first time being performed by his opening act. A group from Las Vegas called “Freddie Bell and the Bell Boys.” He then went to the recording studio and went through 31 takes of the song. He had changed a line “You said you was high class, but that was just a lie” and also added a line “you ain’t never caught a rabbit, and you ain’t no friend of mine.” To which Leiber had complained “That was inane…it doesn’t mean anything to me.” The final version that made it on the record was version #28.
Leiber and Stoller both initially disliked Presley’s version, stating that it sounded “terribly nervous, too fast, too white..” but they got over their disappointment when the record started selling over eight million copies.
“Hound Dog” was the B-side song of “Don’t Be Cruel,” but has been redone by more artists since then than any of his other songs, including the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Lee Lewis, John Lennon, The Who and Robert Palmer.