Talk:Hound Dog (song)

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"You ain't lookin' for a woman"[edit]

Can anyone confirm that the all male singing group The Bellboys sang this verse, as Thornton did? Information added to this article since this question was posed should make the answer clear. Steve Pastor 18:58, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

They did not. Elvis' version is taken word-for-word from Freddie Bell's. Pstoller (talk) 22:19, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

Nightmare[edit]

Yesterday I ran across some information about this B side of the original release. Does anyone out there have the orignal record, so I can verify that it is the song I think it is, rather than another song by the same name? If you do have the record could you supply an image of the Hound Dog label? Thanks Steve Pastor 18:58, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

"Nightmare" is another Leiber & Stoller song; it can be heard on the Big Mama Thornton CD, Hound Dog: The Peacock Recordings.Pstoller (talk) 22:52, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

Steve Allen Show[edit]

This is what Allen has written about this show. There's also a nice photo.[1] I think a rewrite is in order. Steve Pastor 20:16, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Meaning[edit]

What is this song about???

Acually not a bad question. When "we" come up a with a good enough answer, will add to article. The orignal was pretty obviously about a man who wasn't holding up his end of the deal, so to speak. Freddie Bell's subsequent version is addressed at... a hound dog, pretty literally. I'll see what I can do, if no one beats me to it.Steve Pastor 20:53, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

A comparison of the lyrics can be found here [2], and case this link becomes broken, here they are

Original lyrics

You ain't nothin but a hound dog, been snooping round my door You ain't nothin but a hound dog, been snooping round my door You can wag your tail but Lord I ain't gonna feed you no more

You told me you were high class, but I can see through that You told me you were high class, but I can see through that And daddy I know you ain't no real cool cat

You ain't nothin but a hound dog, been snooping round my door You ain't nothin but a hound dog, been snooping round my door You can wag your tail but Lord I ain't gonna feed you no more

You made me feel so blue, you made me weep and moan You made me feel so blue, you made me weep and moan You ain't looking for a woman, Lord knows what you're looking for

You ain't nothin but a hound dog, been snooping round my door You ain't nothin but a hound dog, been snooping round my door You can wag your tail but Lord I ain't gonna feed you no more

Freddie Bell, Elvis,, etc revised version

You ain't nothin' but a hound dog cryin' all the time. You ain't nothin' but a hound dog cryin' all the time. Well, you ain't never caught a rabbit and you ain't no friend of mine.

When they said you was high classed, well, that was just a lie. When they said you was high classed, well, that was just a lie. You ain't never caught a rabbit and you ain't no friend of mine.

The song as written by Leiber & Stoller is about a woman kicking a gigolo to the curb. I believe the Freddie Bell lyric is about an acquaintance as worthless as the proverbial dog that won't hunt ("you ain't never caught a rabbit"), given to excessive whining/complaining ("cryin' all the time") as characterized by the sad face of a basset hound. This would mean that it's the execution, rather than the intent, of the writing that makes it appear to be literally about a dog.Pstoller (talk) 23:05, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:HoundDogThorntonPeacock.jpg[edit]

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BetacommandBot 05:33, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

RCA Victor A side or B side[edit]

Please look at the alternate sides of the RCA Victor issued recording of Hound Dog. [3] Note that Hound Dog was given the number G2WW-5935. Don't Be Cruel was given the number G2WW-5936. So, unless the A side was given a higher number than the B side, Hound Dog was the A side. Any contrary arguments? Steve Pastor 19:36, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

This is an old question, but still a current one. My understanding is that "Hound Dog" was initially the A-side, but not because of the matrix numbers, which merely indicate the sequence in which the tracks were recorded. Think about it: "Hound Dog" was already causing a national sensation because of Elvis' television appearances, so it was a natural as the A-side. It was also the first of the sides to chart. "Don't Be Cruel" eventually became the bigger hit, and thus was subsequently perceived as the A-side. But, that was after the fact. If I can find a citation from a truly authoritative source to clarify the matter, I'll put it in the text. Pstoller (talk) 21:34, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

Thornton performance on film[edit]

This same site also has a clip from the Milton Berle Show performance. However, it has a dubbed in sound track using the version Elvis recorded with thh Jordanaires. Also, the tape has been looped, and leaves off the really interesting end of the song where Elvis does the really bluesy, slow, Thornton type section. This was what really created a buzz in the audience. I've seen other tapes, dvds, movies, that do the same thing. The Elvis '56 dvd has the full performance. I can't endorse any version that is not 100% accurate. Steve Pastor (talk) 21:11, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Self Appointed Guardian of Elvis[edit]

"The various self appointed guardians of public morality attacked Elvis in the press. [3] TV critics began a merciless campaign against Elvis making statements that; Elvis "is a no talent performer", he had a "caterwalling voice and nonsense lyrics", he was an "influence on juvenile deliquency", and began using the nickname "Elvis the Pelvis". Outrageous, factless rumors began to be mentioned in the press like Elvis "smoked marijuana to work himself into a frenzy while singing" and he had "once shot his mother"."

This entire passage seems quite overly defensive of Elvis, whether or not true. Just thought I'd point it out. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.66.47.150 (talk) 22:07, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Elvis presley hound dog.jpg[edit]

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link to video of Hound Dog[edit]

This video does not use the original sound from the show. It is synced to the recording that was released bt RCA. You can hear the Jordanaires, who were not on the show, clapping along with the music and singing backup vocal. Also note that the same sequence is repeated. Steve Pastor (talk) 14:50, 27 March 2008 (UTC)


Willie Mae or Willa Mae?[edit]

Section from the artcle establishing correct name... just in case anyone brigns it up again.Steve Pastor (talk) 19:35, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Just asking... Demf 15:43, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

It's Willa on her tombstone. 68.12.189.249 04:07, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

Well, the California Death Records database says otherwise [4] Steve Pastor (talk) 22:26, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

There's also this entry in Encyclopedia of the Blues By Edward M. Komara [5]Steve Pastor (talk) 22:31, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

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Johnny Otis[edit]

I agree with the recent edit removing Otis as a writer. I recently came across a bunch of material on Otis' involvement. Leiber and Stoller's book, "Hound Dog" was one of them. There was also a quote or two with Otis' opinion on the matter. If someone has the timee... it would be good to flush out how it went down, including the various viewpoints. Steve Pastor (talk) 16:34, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

In a nutshell, Otis got his original writer's credit by signing/forging Leiber & Stoller's signatures on a contract; Otis' excuse was that L&S were underage (legally "infants" at the age of 19). That contract was nullified after the impropriety came to light. In 1953 it may have seemed moot (beyond matters of principle) because Peacock Records' Don Robey never paid royalties to anyone for Big Mama Thornton's record. However, after Elvis' record became a hit in 1956, Otis sued Leiber & Stoller. L&S presented the previously nullified contracts amongst other documents. Then, Thornton testified that Otis hadn't written anything; also, that her own contribution consisted solely of spoken ad-libs and such not generally considered "writing," then or now. Otis' suit was thrown out. He's since larded his claims of authorship with accusations that Jerry Leiber had written racist lyrics about watermelon and so forth. Nobody who knows Leiber's work or character takes such claims seriously. It's unfortunate, because Otis is a giant of early R&B. He was very helpful to L&S at the start of their careers, for which they have always been grateful. He deserves more fame and fortune—but, for things he did do, not things he didn't. Pstoller (talk) 01:01, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
I edited the text to add a reference to the legal action which was briefly mentioned in Billboard at the time. I think it's worth mentioning, if only to alert future editors who might be tempted to re-add Otis as a co-writer. But are there any better sources that can be used? Ghmyrtle (talk) 07:51, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Review of Hound Dog in NY Times carries this account. "Otis made the case for his “Hound Dog” contribution in a 2000 interview: “Parts of it weren’t really acceptable. I didn’t like that reference to chicken and water­melon, said, ‘Let’s get that . . . out of there.’ . . . Then Elvis Presley made it a megahit, and they got greedy. They sued me in court. They won, they beat me out of it.” The alleged presence of “chicken” and “watermelon” in the original lyric, as well as other complications, goes unmentioned in “Hound Dog.”" http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/14/books/review/Windolf-t.html 8.2011Steve Pastor Billboar's account, written at the time of the judgement, states that the suit was brought by neither party (Otis, Leiber/Stoller) but by Valjo Music.

Based on the labels that are available, Teen Records was the first one to drop the Otis credit.(talk) 17:16, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Otis owned Valjo; hence, Otis initiated the suit. So, when he says, "they got greedy. They sued me in court," he's clearly being disingenuous. Likewise, his scurrilous claims about "chicken" and "watermelon." Windolf is correct that Leiber & Stoller don't mention these complications in Hound Dog, but there was no reason for them to do so: the matter was settled in court in 1957 in their favor, and bringing it up again would only have served to throw dirt on Johnny Otis (which they had no desire to do). Had Windolf done a little more research, he would have known better than to bring it up himself. More information on the case can be found here: http://ny.findacase.com/research/wfrmDocViewer.aspx/xq/fac.%5CFDCT%5CFDCT%5CSNY%5C1957%5C19571204_0000293.SNY.htm/qx I have corrected my own "nutshell" account above (which I had drawn somewhat inaccurately from memory) based on this information. Perhaps this source should be cited in the article in addition to (or instead of) the Billboard article. Pstoller (talk) 20:26, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
I've now done just that. What I find fascinating is this section: "There was no written music prepared. It was testified that with a song of this nature -- described as a 'rhythm and blues' song -- there is no written music, and that the band in such a situation would provide a rhythmic background while the vocalist provided such melody as she chose. Leiber and Stoller testified that they played and sang the song to Miss Thornton. It was testified that Miss Thornton did not read music so that written music would mean nothing to her. Miss Thornton testified that she was handed the manuscript and 'just started singing at the studio and they just started playing.'" It's not a matter for this article, but, to me, that raises the question of why Thornton was not credited, for providing "such melody as she chose". Ghmyrtle (talk) 20:54, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
It's an understandable question. My answer would be this: The first sentence you quoted delineates fairly typical practice in recording an R&B song of the time. Most folk musics, including the blues, are essentially oral (or perhaps "aural") traditions—within the tradition, they are passed on though performance rather than notation. This point was made in court to explain why there had been no sheet music at the session. However, the second sentence speaks to the specifics of "Hound Dog": Thornton (and Otis and his band) learned the song from Leiber & Stoller's performance. In fact, in their autobiography, L&S relate that Thornton crooned the song as if it were a ballad until Otis convinced her to let Jerry "show Big Mama how it goes." From that point, her vocal performance was based directly on Jerry Leiber's. This is the oral tradition equivalent of reading sheet music handed to you by the writer. Pstoller (talk) 23:19, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Today the following was removed from the article by Pstoller citing: "Removed defamatory statement. Please discuss in Talk page before reverting! Assignment of publishing to Valjo and royalties to Otis not the same as writing credit, so no "Thus...""

According to Otis in an interview in 2000:
"Leiber and Stoller brought me the song, 'Hound Dog.' Parts of it weren't really acceptable. I didn't like that reference to chicken and watermelon, said 'Let's get that crap out of there.' ... This came out and was a big smash, and everything was all right. I had half the publishing rights and one third of the song-writing. Then Elvis Presley made it a mega hit, and they got greedy. They sued me in court. They won, they beat me out of it. I could have sent my kids to college, like they sent theirs. But, oh well, if I dwell on that I get quite unhappy, so we try to move on."[1]
In their 2009 autobiography, Hound Dog: The Leiber and Stoller Autobiography, Leiber and Stoller take issue with Otis' claims to co-authorship, with Stoller insisting that Otis was “not a writer of the song,” (italics his).[2]smjwalsh (talk) 03:13, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
My response is that I have read all of the above comments in this thread:
1. The claim of co-writing credit by Otis, even if untrue (as the Court adjudicated), needs to be reported in this article. The specific quote from Otis makes clear his contention, and is from a reliable source. Therefore, it is admissible.
2. One cannot defame the deceased according to US law. Again, while the claim by Otis about the specific nature allegations may be untrue, it not defamatory. The court ruling casts aspersions on Otis' character and claim, and thus the article gives evidence for readers to question the veracity of Otis' claims about the need and nature of supposedly edited lyrics.
3. I have included both Otis' claim, and the emphatic denial by Leiber. This is balanced reportage.
4. This may be an instance of Pstoller being in a definite conflict of interest situation, As the son of Mike Stoller, one of the litigants, of course, he is angry (and probably justifiably) with the claims by Otis, but despite this, the article needs to accurately describe the controversy.
Therefore, I propose to re-instate the deleted sentences after allowing sufficient time for discussion. In my opinion, a fair reading of the disputed sentences is that it is fair to both parties, and allows the reader to make an informed judgement.smjwalsh (talk) 03:13, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
If you read the rest of this talk page section on Johnny Otis, above, you'll see that this ground was covered in the past. In short, Otis invented the canard about "chicken and watermelon" for the purpose of being hurtful to Leiber & Stoller by branding them as racists. So, while he did say it, it nevertheless doesn't belong in this article. The second half of the statement is refuted by the public record, which clearly shows that it was Otis (via Valjo) who sued L&S, not the other way around. So, Otis' statement to the contrary serves no purpose save to undermine his credibility and/or confuse the reader. The public record is in the article, as are the conflicting "he said/they said" accounts of all the parties involved. I'd say the coverage is quite thorough without repeating slander. Pstoller (talk) 03:27, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
As for your responses:
1. The claim of co-writing credit by Otis is already in the article. I agree that said claim should be included for the sake of balanced reportage.
2. At the time that Otis made the claim about derogatory lyrics, all the parties were living. At this time, Mike Stoller is still alive, and can thus be defamed according to U.S. law.
3. The quoted "emphatic denial" is by Stoller, not Leiber. That denial is not addressing the defamatory portion of the reverted edit; only Otis' claim of coauthorship.
4. The possibility of a conflict of interest on my part certainly exists. That said, I repeat that I am not trying to erase Otis' claims of coauthorship from the record; only his gratuitous and slanderous implications of racism.
I therefore propose that the deleted sentences remain deleted, especially the defamatory portion thereof. Pstoller (talk) 03:45, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
My opinion is that there is no good reason for Otis' quote to be wholly excluded - he was a party to the dispute, and his claims are therefore relevant - but that it should be shortened. There's no reason for the "chicken and watermelon" words to be there - they are not explained, and could be seen as defamatory. As the section currently stands, the paragraph on the lawsuit appears to be over-long - I'd like to see it shorter. I have two other questions on this section:
  • There needs to be a brief mention of why Otis would have asked Leiber and Stoller to write the song in the first place - his connection with them in the early days isn't really made clear in the Leiber and Stoller article. It's clarified slightly here.
  • Why is no mention made of Big Mama Thornton's role in composing the song, given the quote that she "just started singing at the studio and they [L&S] just started playing"? Readers now will be at least as - and probably more - interested in the creative process, and why her involvement in that process was ignored, than in the arguments between lawyers and businesspeople 50-something years ago.
Ghmyrtle (talk) 07:39, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
I could see reinstating the quote using an ellipsis to elide the defamatory phrase: i.e., "Leiber and Stoller brought me the song, 'Hound Dog.' Parts of it weren't really acceptable. I … said 'Let's get that crap out of there.' ..." As to why Otis would have asked L&S to write a song for Thornton, I'm pretty sure there are published accounts (beyond findacase) of their relationship prior to that day; but, basically, they were songwriters he already knew and admired, and he needed songs for Thornton in a hurry.
As for Thornton's alleged role in composing the song, that, too, has been discussed above. The bottom line is that she had no role as composer, but rather as an interpreter. Far from being ignored, the extent of her creativity in this department has been lauded by L&S and Otis amongst many others, and is already discussed in the article. But beyond that, in Thornton's full testimony, she acknowledges that she did not cowrite "Hound Dog" (just as she testifies that Otis did not). I'm sure many readers will be more interested in the creative process—and as it pertains to songwriting, that process is described in the first paragraph of the Composition section. I'm sure we could find more quotes that elaborate on the process somewhat, but as the song was written in roughly fifteen minutes, there's only so much elaborating one can do. Pstoller (talk) 08:14, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
I think the article is in danger of becoming somewhat distorted by an over-emphasis on the legal processes. Thornton clearly didn't "write" the music - "There was no written music prepared... with a song of this nature there is no written music, and.. the band in such a situation would provide a rhythmic background while the vocalist provided such melody as she chose. Leiber and Stoller testified that they played and sang the song to Miss Thornton. It was testified that Miss Thornton did not read music so that written music would mean nothing to her. Miss Thornton testified that she was handed the manuscript and 'just started singing at the studio and they just started playing.'" But, according to that, she was the person responsible for providing "such melody as she chose". I think we all know why she would not have had access to the best legal support available at that time. But I think that material like that, clearly stating that Thornton provided the melody, should be included in the article. I'll also try and come up with a sentence that encapsulates the relationship between Otis and L&S. Ghmyrtle (talk) 08:26, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks to both of you for your responses. They are well-reasoned and most considerate. Upon reflection, I am content not to re-insert the deleted sentences for the following reasons:
1. As Mike Stoller is still alive (and hopefully healthy), the BLP rules of WP apply. However, if the comments are defamatory, action would be against Otis, who has died. However, given that Mike Stoller is about 80, there is no need to resurrect Otis' claims about the specific lyrics. One could argue that both L&S could have taken remedial action to Otis' claims when the Windoff review was published, when all three were living, but it seems their desire was to let sleeping (hound) dogs lie. I can respect that.
2. There are links in the article to the Otis allegations in the Windoff article, as well as mentions on this talk page, so while the "chicken and watermelon" comments are not prominently displayed, it can be argued that they are not eradicated from the public arena.
As regards the comments of Ghmyrtle (talk),
1.Thornton's role is adequately explained in the WP article. I find compelling her testimony under oath that neither she nor Otis contributed to the writing process, and that sole credit for writing should be given to L&S. Leiber and Stoller testified that they played and sang the song to Miss Thornton. It was testified that Miss Thornton did not read music so that written music would mean nothing to her. Miss Thornton testified that she was handed the manuscript and 'just started singing at the studio and they just started playing. There is an apparent conflict in the testimonies of L&S and Thornton, but as it was outside the purview of the court, there was no adjudication of the issue. However, Thornton never claimed nor sought recognition as the writer despite others over the years advocating her being given writing credit. I find the explanation of Pstoller (talk) convincing. As L&S had heard her sing prior to writing the song, they crafted the song accordingly. Additionally, the reference to using a "buck dance" rhythm (in common R&B usage) indicates to me that Thornton's contribution was NOT the melody, but rather her audible interjections, and stylistic interpretation for which she receives credit in the article, and from L&S in their book and elsewhere. Thornton's contention that she "was handed the manuscript and 'just started singing at the studio and they just started playing," is just that - a contention. It is not established fact. Her claims could/should be included in the article, but be balanced by the competing claims.
2. The section of the legal issues may not be to your personal taste, but they are not unduly detailed nor inordinately dominating the article. The issue is summarised in one paragraph, with appropriate references that allow a person interested in more, the opportunity to do so. Additionally, given that this matter is often cited as case law, it is not unwarranted IMHO to give more than just a cursory summary.smjwalsh (talk) 12:47, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
Ghmyrtle: While I understand your thoughts about Thornton's contributions, I think smjwalsh's response is on point. I would also ask you to keep the following in mind:
  • 1. Thornton's role as a singer may seem remarkable in this isolated context, but it is in fact wholly typical of the music industry in which it was well established long before—and has been ever since—that it is not recognized as songwriting. One may as well ask why Pete Lewis' guitar solo did not make him a cowriter.
  • 2. Nowhere does the court record state that Thornton provided the melody. Rather, it states, "It was testified that with a song of this nature … there is no written music, and that the band in such a situation would provide a rhythmic background while the vocalist provided such melody as she chose" (emphasis added). This describes what was typical "in such a situation," not necessarily this one. (Note also that in the phrase, "no written music," "written" means "notated" rather than "composed.") When "Leiber and Stoller testified that they played and sang the song to Miss Thornton," that is a description of this instance: Thornton did not "just start singing" until after she had already heard the melody from Leiber and Stoller.
  • 3. Thornton testified that her original input consisted entirely of interjections such as, "Play it, boy!" and making dog sounds during the guitar solo. Pointedly, she did not take credit for any melodic contributions.
  • 4. This is an article about "Hound Dog," not about how songwriting credit is or should be assigned.
  • 5. Suggesting that Thornton deserves writing credit amounts to editorializing and original research. Such claims, however substantial or specious, are counter to Wikipedia policy.
  • 6. The only real controversy about the authorship of "Hound Dog" was over Johnny Otis' credit, and that was resolved before Valjo Music Publ. Corp. v. Elvis Presley Music, as evidenced by the facts that the credit had been changed by 1954 and that Otis signed a letter declaring himself not to be a writer in early 1956. The outcome of the court case merely confirmed Leiber & Stoller's already-established status as sole authors, which has been recognized ever since. It is still appropriate in this article to report on that controversy, but not to create any other controversy.
Therefore, I believe it would be improper to "clearly [state] that Thornton provided the melody." That conclusion is not supported by the case summary as a whole, nor by the transcript. It is sufficient that the summary is linked.
I agree that an overemphasis on the legal case is problematic, as it implies that it was a bigger deal than it actually was. It is smjwalsh's process to write long and then edit, as per the discography section below (where your input would be welcome), but I agree with the author that it's not so long as all that, and I think the work is very good. However, the last two paragraphs of the Origins section are also essentially about the Valjo case, and should really be "massaged" into that section. So, let's consider what the most salient points are in that combined material, and if possible devise a slightly more succinct way to make them. (For one thing, I'd like to clarify that the non-L&S percentages cited at the end of the Valjo section actually apply to Lion Music and Elvis Presley Music, rather than Don Robey and Elvis Presley individually.)
As for the description of the relationship between Otis and L&S, a rephrasing of the description from the Valjo case would be OK, but an additional citable source would be better. If I can find one, I'll point you to it. I'll also look for more illuminating quotes about the writing process. Pstoller (talk) 22:07, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the comments. I didn't suggest, anywhere, that Thornton should be credited with a major role in the writing of the song, but rather that her creative input should be recognised to a greater extent in the versions as recorded. Having said that, the text of the article keeps changing (minute by minute, it seems), and in the version I looked at a couple of days ago the section on her input was much briefer than it is now. I also accept Pstoller's points that I may to some extent have misinterpreted the wording of the court record. I'm content with the current version, which accurately reports her side of the story. I'll continue to keep an eye on the article as it develops, at least on the copyediting side. Ghmyrtle (talk) 22:26, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps I should have said that smjwalsh writes frequently as much as long. :) As with the discography, I'd prefer it if these changes were sandboxed, but I think that what's emerging is a better article overall that will need some thoughtful pruning after the dust settles. The additional details about claims by Thornton and Bell are welcome, in my view, as long as they remain balanced (as they were a few seconds ago). Beyond a few minor tweaks, I'm inclined to wait for a lull before adding anything substantial myself. Pstoller (talk) 00:06, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
I agree. The first thing I'll do, if no-one else does it first, is remove all the citations from the opening paragraphs, which are contrary to WP:LEADCITE - the introduction should summarise the main text, and citations in the main text do not need to be repeated in the introduction unless they reference highly contentious statements. Ghmyrtle (talk) 21:50, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
I've removed most of the citations, migrating them to the main text where necessary. I've left a couple in temporarily for quotes that don't appear in the main text. Those quotes should soon be moved or copied downward, and the citations should go with them when that happens; I saw it as counterproductive to lose the citations in the meantime. Pstoller (talk) 23:43, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
Excellent, thank you. I think one point that needs to be made in all this is that the overwhelming majority of Smjwalsh's edits are excellent, and are creating a vastly improved article - but, other editors will also have their say! Ghmyrtle (talk) 07:21, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
Like, totally ditto, dude. Pstoller (talk) 18:43, 4 July 2013 (UTC)

List of recordings[edit]

Copied initially from smjwalsh talk page: Smjwalsh: You're right that it would have been nice to talk before reverting your edit; on the other hand, considering the extent of your edits on the Hound Dog (song) page, it would have been nice to talk about some of those changes before you added them, or before re-reverting. As I noted, the new section you added is functionally redundant with an existing (and already oversized) section in the article, and much of the new content is redundant with that of the preexisting section and/or of dubious significance by Wikipedia standards. I don't have a problem with list per se—indeed, I created that list myself for the Leiber & Stoller website discography page (and I am currently working on a massive update with many additions). For my personal and professional interests, the more the merrier. However, for Wikipedia's purposes, perhaps you would consider sandboxing an updated version of the extant discography section instead of dumping a pile of data into a new section on the live page and then "wikifying" afterward. Pstoller(talk) 05:07, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for your comments and the considerate manner in which they were conveyed. As Wikipedians we are encouraged to be BOLD in adding content (as long as it is verifiable), and so did not mean to create any offence by adding the section from the L&S Discography. As indicated, I always intended to pare, wikify, categorise, and consolidate into a more meaningful presentation. The goal will be to reduce the redundancies between the two sections, and eliminate non-notable content. I am comfortable with articles being "in progress", but I suppose others prefer to view the end product rather than view the process. I must confess that I usually work very much in dark corners of WP and rarely get feedback for my edits for some considerable time afterwards. Besides this particular section, are there other edits that you believe required consultation? smjwalsh (talk) 05:24, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
Just another comment - you know that the lead is supposed to summarise the article content, and not contain citations itself? I think the guidance needs to be interpreted flexibly, but if you're thinking of putting the article through the GA process at any time, it will need to be addressed. I don't envisage doing any major editing of the article myself, unless I happen to come across worthwhile new sources, but I've given the introductory paragraphs a light copy-edit, mainly to give a little greater weight to the Presley version. Ghmyrtle (talk) 15:32, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks again. I know the lead paragraph(s) establish notability, and summarise the content of the article. Thanks for your suggestions and work you do across the L&S catalogue of articles.smjwalsh (talk) 15:55, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
Re: "Thanks again" - the second comment wasn't from me. :)
As for the rest: I appreciate the Wikipedian boldness mandate; it just seems like a lot of addition to what was already an overly-large section. I don't know if Wikipedia has a specific standard for listing covers/remakes in song entries, but it seems to me that, for songs with many versions, such lists should be confined to recordings of historical relevance. Versions that have charted, appeared in hit films, or otherwise had some demonstrable impact should naturally be included. In this specific case, the Thornton and Presley versions (incl. Presley's early TV versions) are clearly essential, and the other pre-Presley versions are also noteworthy (esp. Freddie Bell). On the other hand, the vast majority of the post-Presley versions are not notable of themselves—even if by notable artists. A relative few examples might be selected to demonstrate the range of genres and generations across which the song has been adopted. Otherwise, I think it's enough to note the number of recordings (approaching 600 by my current count).
You didn't "create offense" by copying from the official L&S discography; indeed, that discography exists as a reference point for work such as this, and I'm happy to see someone making use of it. The problem with adding a new section of other versions is simply that there is already a section for that purpose. Beyond that, I don't think most of the data merits inclusion. The L&S list is meant to be comprehensive. In truth, I am grateful for your other discographical entries, as you may have provided some valuable data for the L&S discography. It would benefit me directly if you were to continue. However, I am mindful that the article doesn't exist to serve my needs, and that its discographical section has a different purpose from the official discography.
Beyond the discography, the edits have come at such a pace that it's been difficult for me to parse all the changes. However, at first glance, they seem to have improved the article; and, in any case, the nature of those edits falls well within Wikipedia's mandates as I understand them. I can hardly object to relevant historical info with citations!
In any case, I think further discussion about the appropriate size, scope, and content for the finished discography section belongs on the "Hound Dog" talk page. Perhaps we could copy this discussion there. It may be that most other editors disagree with me; but, either way, they should have the opportunity to weigh in. Pstoller (talk) 20:27, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
I share Pstoller's concerns about the dumping of long lists of recordings into this article, without any attempt to show which are notable or characteristic. It's fine to say it's work in progress, but for the time being it makes the article look a mess - and it's quite unnecessary. A link could be made direct to the L&S webpage list; and editing the section on other recordings into readable prose could be best done in a WP:SANDBOX and then inserted here to replace the list. The outcome of Smjwalsh's editing of this article may, eventually, turn out to be excellent, but the process leaves a lot to be desired. Ghmyrtle (talk) 23:02, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
Don't WP:POPCULTURE and particularly WP:SONGCOVER apply here?--Egghead06 (talk) 05:17, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
As WP:SONGCOVER says - When a song has renditions (recorded or performed) by more than one artist, discussion of a particular artist's rendition should be included in the song's article (never in a separate article), but only if at least one of the following applies:
the rendition is discussed by a reliable source on the subject of the song (not on the subject of the rendition),
the rendition itself meets the notability requirement at WP:NSONGS. if anyone feels these lists can be made to conform with this please do, otherwise they need to go.--Egghead06 (talk) 05:47, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
I agree. Ghmyrtle (talk) 07:18, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
Me, too. But, I think we afford a little bit of time to edit the lists into conformation, taking into account that this is a long American holiday weekend over which one might prefer not to edit a Wikipedia page. Pstoller (talk) 07:30, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
Life goes on, in the rest of the world! Ghmyrtle (talk) 07:33, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
6 days on and these non-notable covers keep getting added. WP:SONGCOVER is clear on what should not be there???!!!--Egghead06 (talk) 05:29, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
It's certainly clear to me that @98% of the discography section is going to have to come out. I'm less sure that it's clear to smjwalsh, who would benefit from reading WP:SONGCOVER. (I know I did!) I'm willing to take a stab at winnowing out the notable versions tomorrow. What's most notable is the sheer quantity of covers, rather than the quality or commercial success of any individual post-Elvis cover. Having heard more of them than most people, I'd say that covering Elvis' "Hound Dog" amounts to kissing the ring of the King of Rock & Roll—and that's not very toe-curling, as kisses go. Pstoller (talk) 06:14, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
Egghead06, I hear what you are saying. I am aware that most will probably be deleted at some time, but I believe the exceeding good I am doing in the article should buy me a little more time to work on this section. The goal is to work through the Other Versions section until there are none, and then those who so desire can winnow as they like. I'm not precious about my contributions. I don't own the article, but there is a method to my apparent madness. If 6 days seems excessive to wait, what is the appropriate length? I cannot find any guidelines in this situation. During those 6 days, I have worked at improving the main part of the article, while trying to trim one section as discussed previously. I see articles that are flagged for lack of references etc that have been "deficient" for years. As Pstoller indicates elsewhere, there are worse things that could happen. Anyway, I'm sure that eventually it will all be resolved to everyone's satisfaction.smjwalsh (talk) 06:29, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
Just pointing out (again) that there is absolutely no reason why any article should be edited in this way in article space, which is accessed by every reader looking for information on the song. That's why we have sandboxes. Ghmyrtle (talk) 06:35, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
Just pointing out that I respect the work put in here. It is only the obvious labour of love which has been put in here which has stopped me deleting as per WP:SONGCOVER but for the life of my I cannot see how adding that x recorded this in 1966 or that Blodwyn Pig or Linda Hornbuckle with No Delay covered this song helps? If the cover does not pass WP:SONGCOVER they will go and as for other articles and their problems - WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS.--Egghead06 (talk) 06:44, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
smjwalsh – No one disputes that your overall contribution to this article has been extraordinarily beneficial. The issue with just the discography is not really the length of time (other than your time) it takes, but that 1) as Ghmyrtle points out, Wikipedia has a a sandbox specifically to avoid this sort of extended public process; and 2) more to the point, as Egghead06 points out, virtually all the work on this section must be cut to conform with Wikipedia guidelines. Now, I personally will be archiving the section to feed the additional data back into the L&S discography at some point, so at least the work won't have been entirely for nought. But, for your own sake more than anyone else's, I would like to suggest that you refrain from further researching and amending of the discography until after it's been cut down to size, at which point any info you can add on the remaining versions would, I'm certain, be greatly appreciated by all. As I see it, from a historical standpoint, the only versions that must be included are the Thornton, Bell, and Presley, and the only critical answer record is "Bear Cat." If, at this point, you have any suggestions for additional versions that meet the WP:NSONGS (items 1 & 2) or NP:ALBUMS (see Singles) tests, I would very much like to hear your reasoning (or anyone else's), as brevity is also not the primary value of a selected discography. Pstoller (talk) 07:23, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
I hear all three of you. Thanks for your patience to date with my process. I appreciate again the constructive manner in which you communicated it. My thinking was to provide the info so it could be ported to the L&S website, and then link to there. When I started this section I was not aware that Pstoller was the one who maintained the site there. I accept the wisdom of the consensus. Please go ahead and delete as you see fit. I agree that Thornton, Bell, & Presley are the critical ones, and that Thomas' answer is likewise important. Perhaps those covers, answers, and parodies referenced in the article could be retained as per WP:SONGCOVER. Also a selected number of notable artists could be briefly mentioned in the main article, especially focusing on the diversity/range of genres, and languages.smjwalsh (talk) 08:12, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
I have sandboxed the page, and am working on editing the discography and portions of the body text related to the discography. Pstoller (talk) 21:06, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

Article length[edit]

I think we should guard against the possibility of this article becoming too long, and effectively unreadable. We are currently at 102K, when guidance on the ideal length suggests 30K to 50K. Although we'd agree over the importance of the song, we don't need to include every piece of reliably sourced information. Too much detail simply makes the article unreadable. I know we'll (hopefully, in due course) cut out the lists of non-notable other versions, but, even so, the article is becoming daunting for readers. Ghmyrtle (talk) 09:48, 4 July 2013 (UTC)

Good comment. According to the guidelines, the key measure is "readable prose". Currently the article is at 42K of readable prose. The 102K is made up additionally of references and the wiki measures. As you indicate, the final section of other names will be substantially reduced. I understand that my process is different than yours. My process is to add material, re-organise as I go, and delete at the end. I believe I substantially improve the quality (and certainly quantity) of every article to which I contribute. Also, I recognise my interests are more inclusive than those of many. A good lede will satisfy the casual reader, but others will want more depth. I put the legal section towards the end as I felt it "jumped the gun" in the story-telling, and reflecting on your prior comments, may not be as interesting to everyone. Consequently, those with shorter attention spans can quit before the concluding sections. Possibly, if there is consensus, if necessary, the litigation section could be spun off into a separate article, given Valjo v Elvis Presley Music (especially) is cited extensively in RS. Of course, as WP is collaborative, anyone can do as desired along the way. I appreciate the comments and the constructive manner in which they are made.smjwalsh (talk) 03:20, 5 July 2013 (UTC)
I don't think Valjo… needs a separate article. As with all sections, we should review it for length/concision when the bulk of the new writing is done. Certainly a much-needed slash-and-burn on the discography will help. The material on covers, answers, and parodies is also on the overkill side, but that's in keeping with your process. A temporary excess of valid material should be the worst problem on Wikipedia. Pstoller (talk) 05:57, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

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  1. ^ Johhny Otis, in John Orr, "Johnny Otis' R&B Caravan keeps on rolling" (September 22, 2000).
  2. ^ Mike Stoller, in Jim Windolf, "Stand by Them", "Sunday Book review", The New York Times (June 12, 200).