46123: Elvis Presley "Hound Dog!" and "Don't Be Cruel"
Elvis Presley "Hound Dog!" and "Don't Be Cruel" Picture Sleeves with Related Correspondence from RCA to Colonel Parker. The two original versions of the 45 picture sleeve are offered here- one with "Hound Dog" as the lead tune, the other with "Don't Be Cruel." Both of these legendary songs were recorded on July 2, 1956, at a session in the New York studios of RCA. Presley had performed "Hound Dog" on the June 5th Milton Berle Show and also the July 1st Steve Allen Show. Demand was great that this record be rushed out, which they did; the single (RCA 47-6604) shipped on July 13th. "Hound Dog" charted first, entering the charts at #24 on August 4th. "Don't Be Cruel" entered at #28 the very next week. They were both rushing up the charts. On August 20, 1956, Bill Bullock sent Col. Tom Parker a letter (included in this lot) stating: "Starting with this week, we are using the new sleeve. Notice DON'T BE CRUEL is the featured tune." On the September 15 chart, "Don't Be Cruel" jumped over "Hound Dog" to take over the #1 position. Elvis held the top two positions with these songs and they spent a total of 55 weeks on the chart, the biggest double-sided hit in the Rock era.
Sales remained strong for several months and in an additional letter (included) dated February 1, 1957, Bullock writes to Parker about the sales and upcoming Gold Record awards, in part: "My closest check, including overseas, EP sales, etc. DON'T BE CRUEL/HOUND DOG appears to be about 4,600,000. We have sold a total of about 7,000 in the last four days. It might make it and then again it might not... does Elvis have any TV appearances coming up on which the presentation could be made? It seems a crime to make these awards and not get some publicity from it... Kick this around and get back to me with some of your usual good ideas." Both sleeves and both letters were included in the 1999 Archives of Graceland auction. COA from the Elvis Presley Estate at Graceland.