Singer Yola Said Fans of Elvis Presley’s ‘Hound Dog’ Should ‘Pay Homage to its Originator’

TL;DR:

  • Yola is a fan of Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog.”
  • She’s glad Elvis’ cover eventually brought attention to the original version of the song.
  • Yola discussed how the biopic Elvis portrayed the “All Shook Up” singer’s relationship to Black music.
"Hound Dog" era Elvis Presley in front of a crowd
Elvis Presley | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Yola is a singer who portrayed Sister Rosetta Tharpe, one of the originators of classic rock, in the biopic Elvis. She revealed she loves Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog.” In addition, she praised the first artist to record the song.

Yola discussed the original version of ‘Hound Dog’ and Elvis Presley’s ‘iconic’ cover

During a 2022 interview with Grammy.com, Yola discussed her favorite Elvis song. “My favorite Elvis song is probably ‘Hound Dog,'” she said. “His performance is iconic, but more importantly, has eventually helped illuminate rock ‘n’ roll originator and the first artist to record the song, the remarkable Big Mama Thornton.”

Thornton’s original version of “Hound Dog” has much more of a blues influence than Elvis’ cover. It also has significantly different lyrics. For example, Thornton’s version of the song appears to be directed at a former lover.

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Yola discussed Elvis Presley’s relationship to Black music

Yola discussed her relationship to Elvis’ music. “I’ve come late to Elvis, mainly by way of Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis movie, in which I portray the creator of rock ‘n’ roll, Sister Rosetta Tharpe,” she said. “Elvis was deeply immersed in the Black music scene of Beale Street in Memphis — from his relationship with B.B. King, to Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s direct musical influence, alongside the showmanship of Little Richard, and of course Big Mama Thornton.”

Yola discussed the origins of Elvis’ sound. “His sound was directly influenced and caused by Black music,” Yola said. “The movie does a great job of demonstrating this fact, and reminds us that it is important to remember that when we pay homage to a great song performed by Elvis, we too must pay homage to its originator.”

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How ‘Hound Dog’ performed on the charts in the United States

According to The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s “Hound Dog” was released as a double A-side single with “Don’t Be Cruel.” The songs became massive hits, topping the Billboard Top 100 for 11 weeks.The Billboard Top 100 was the predecessor to the Billboard Hot 100. No song would last as long at No. 1 in the United States until Boyz II Men released “End of the Road” in 1992.

The movie Elvis has made money as well. According to Box Office Mojo, it earned over $31 million during its opening weekend. So far, it has earned more than $98 million in the U.S. and over $162 million worldwide.

Audiences appreciate Elvis — and Yola appreciates the way it pays homage to Black music.

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