Do you hear what I hear? I hear the songwriter Mike Stoller howling at the end of Big Mama Thorton's version (the very first recording of the song, before Elvis) of "Hound Dog." Mike and his partner, Jerry Leiber, who wrote the words, both were on hand for the recording session. In fact, Mike was playing the piano. When the rest of Big Mama's blues band howled out at the end of the record, like a yard of dogs barking, Mike joined in. Do you hear him? I hear his excitement of having a blues pioneer record his song, long before anyone thought of it as a rock and roll anthem.
Be sure to check out our interview with Mike and Jerry!
Dan Del Fiorentino
NAMM Music Historian