Hound Dog

Managing Real Estate Broker with Fathom Realty PB00068179

Hey baby I'm here to tell you about yourself
You ain't nothin' but a hound dog, scratchin' all the time
You ain't nothin' but a hound dog baby, scratchin' all the time
You ain't caught no rabbits you ain't no friend of mine.

Do you remember those lyrics made famous by none other than Elvis Presley? If you’re young, old or somewhere in-between you’ve probably familiar with the lyrics and beat. As I’m writing this I can still hear it with that voice of Presley. He recorded the song back in 1956. It was the longest-running #1 hit (11 weeks).

However, do you know the rest of the story? Well Willie Mae Thornton actually recorded that song 4 years earlier. Let me tell you about her. She was born in Ariton, Alabama. Her father was a minister and her mother was a singer.   I’ll get right to the point in the late 1940’s a new kind of popular blues was coming out of the clubs in Texas and Los Angeles. In 1952 she recorded Hound Dog while working with Johnny Otis. She was famous for the transgressive gender expression. She often dressed as a man in her performances wearing work shirts and slacks. She was openly gay and performed risqué songs unabashedly. Her play with gender and sexuality set the stage for later rock-and-roll artists.

She was praised for subverting traditional roles of African-American women. During her career she was nominated for the Blues Music Awards six times. In 1984 she was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. In the 1970’s she began drinking heavy and died. She went from a hefty 350 pounds to 95 pounds before her death. Now when you hear those famous lyrics by the King you’ll know it was first sang by the Queen.

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Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning James. Knew "Hound Dog" was previously recorded but not the artist! Thanks for the information! Enjoy your day!

Aug 17, 2016 09:46 PM #1
Raymond E. Camp
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Ontario, NY
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester

Good morning James,

A lady I will have to check out her music.

Even Elvis said his music came from many types of music.

Make yourself an astonishing day.

Aug 17, 2016 09:48 PM #2
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning again James. What a sad story of a lady who died before finding her recognotion.

Aug 17, 2016 11:18 PM #3
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area - Scottsdale, AZ
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty

I did not know that James Dray - you are a fountain of knowledge!

Aug 17, 2016 11:26 PM #4
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

I had no idea, James. Thanks for the history lesson.


Aug 18, 2016 12:05 AM #5
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

You constantly amaze me with how little I know of Americana James Dray 

Aug 18, 2016 12:09 AM #6
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Geneva Financial, Llc. - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

James Dray I had no idea about the history of "Hound Dog", so thank you fur da edurkashun dis morning!

Aug 18, 2016 12:29 AM #7
Donald Urschalitz
Lubeck Realty Group - Jupiter, FL
P.A. Realtor ABR RSPS North Palm Beach County

Wow, that is so cool, thanks for the lesson in music.

Aug 18, 2016 12:39 AM #8
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

What a powerful singer! I had never heard of her, but I googled and really enjoyed listening to her.


Aug 18, 2016 12:51 AM #9
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


I had no idea, and I always associated it with Elvis.  Nice to know there was a queen.  A

Aug 18, 2016 01:02 AM #10
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

That is some very interesting history, I only knew it as being associated with Elvis.

Aug 18, 2016 03:50 AM #11
Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO

I had no idea. I thought Elvis wrote that song. Thanks for sharing this story with us, James. 

Aug 18, 2016 10:10 AM #12
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi James, I'm going to have to Google her as well.  Very interesting story. 

Aug 18, 2016 10:47 AM #13
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


Mae Thornton had had a very interest musical career.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig


Aug 18, 2016 12:49 PM #14
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Las Vegas, NV

Hello James and what a interesting story and I hope you don't mind in I attach the original song by Willie Mae Thornton.


Aug 18, 2016 01:18 PM #15
Larry Johnston
Broker, Friends & Neighbors Real Estate and Elkhart County Subdivisions, LLC - Elkhart, IN
Broker,Friends & Neighbors Real Estate, Elkhart,IN

Hi James Dray ,  That history of Hound Dog was very interesting.  Thanks for the information.

Aug 19, 2016 10:55 AM #16
Noah Seidenberg
Coldwell Banker - Evanston, IL
Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917

Big Momma Thornton was great, I have a couple of her records. Janis Joplin also covered a few of her tunes. You forget to mention that she was ripped off by her management and died in poverty because she was taken advantage of and had no one to help.

Aug 19, 2016 02:17 PM #17
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

I have heards this version and it cooks. It was also one of the many great songs from Lieber and Stoller.

Aug 21, 2016 03:54 AM #18
Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766 - Orlando, FL
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836

No James, I did not know about Willie Mae Thornton.  Sorry to read about her alcohol problem and the sad end of her life.  Yes, remember well the song, Hound Dog.

Aug 22, 2016 01:54 PM #19
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