Elvis Presley was mortified by animal ambush during live performance
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Elvis Presley admitted he felt “regret” following one live performance of one of his hit singles in 1956. The star was still up-and-coming in the music world, but he was slowly gaining notoriety around the USA. As a result, he was invited to perform on The Steve Allen Show on July 2, 1956, to play one of his biggest songs at the time: Hound Dog. But when he hit the stage, disaster struck the young man.
Elvis was still very new to the industry at the time. At just 21-years-old, he was learning the ropes, and had already gained quite the reputation for his shakin’ hips. Elvis the Pelvis, as he was known, was condemned by pundits across the country for his “vulgar” dance moves. So, as a result, Steve Allen changed things up for his performance.
Steve, at the time, was a well-respected TV host, and – although he was open to having all kinds of acts perform on his show – he was not happy about Elvis’ dance moves. As a result, he convinced his bosses at NBC that he could control Elvis’ moves. He went on to make a deal with the King’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, who agreed to have the star take the stage in a “new and improved” way.
As a result, instead of strutting out in one of his flamboyant suits, Elvis took to Steve’s stage with a bowtie and tails.
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Before Elvis performed, Steve insisted his TV show was a “family” affair. He also noted that this was Elvis’ “first comeback” before introducing him as: “The new Elvis Presley.”
As the King was at the TV show to perform Hound Dog, Steve ambushed the star at the last second by saying: “And we have a little surprise for you.”
Steve rolled out a table with a basset hound on it. When it greeted the King the puppy slobbered over his hand. He subtly wiped it on his suit while laughing nervously alongside the girls in the audience.
But, behind Elvis’ smile and giggling, he was utterly furious.
Years later, Elvis was asked about this performance that involved him standing almost entirely still while singing next to a dog.
He confessed: “It was the most ridiculous appearance I ever did.” With an added fury that was rarely shown by the star, he said: “I regret ever doing it.”
Despite the horrific experience he endured on the TV show that day, Elvis went on to record Hound Dog for the first time the following day. And it was a total success.
Hound Dog hit number one in eight of the Billboard Hot 100 charts, including the Most Played, and Top Selling lists. In the UK, it reached number two on the national singles charts.
Years later, in 1988, Elvis’ version of the classic song was inducted into the Grammy’s Hall of Fame.
In 2004 Rolling Stone magazine ranked it number 19 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
The song was so successful that it was even covered by The Beatles. Paul McCartney and John Lennon were huge fans of Elvis and were constantly influenced by the King’s music. Lennon was even once quoted saying: “Nothing affected me until I heard Elvis. Without Elvis, there would be no Beatles.”
Hound Dog also broke a record previously held by Bing Crosby. The single sold more than 3 million copies by 1958, making it the first song since White Christmas to do so.
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