"Hound Dog" And 10 Covers By White Artists Of Black Musicians' Songs
Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton | AP Photo
Today, 64 years ago, on August 13, 1952 in Los Angeles, California, Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton recorded “Hound Dog” a twelve note blues song that would make an undeniable mark on music history. It was released a year later in February of 1953. The song would go on to spend 14 weeks on the R&B charts, becoming Thornton’s only hit record.
“Hound Dog” is listed as one of the “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll” by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 1956 Elvis Presley recorded his own version of the song. It blew up becoming one of the best selling singles of all time. Over ten million copies were sold. It held the position of number one on the pop, country, and R&B charts for eleven weeks, all at the same damn time. It was a record that took 36 years to break. “Hound Dog” is just one song of many, that was originally recorded by black artists, re-recorded, re-packaged, and arguably made safer, more sterile, by white artists, to wide commercial and critical acclaim. In honor of the original recording of “Hound Dog,” and original track’s everywhere that many don’t know of (and are most times flat out better than the cover) we’ve complied a list, from the U.S. to the U.K., of ten songs that have faced a similar, culturally appropriated, fate. Hounded, if you will.
First on our list is of course:
Click to the next page to see the remaining nine songs on the list.