Elvis Presley: inspiration, not theft

A constant theme of the forthcoming book is the fragile nature of inspiration versus theft, and one of the prime examples of this is the furore over Elvis' version of "Hound Dog". For decades, uninformed critics have proclaimed that Elvis stole Big Mama Thornton's hit and, as such, stole from black culture. The most obvious points to make here are that (a) "Hound Dog" was not written by Thornton but by two white Jewish boys from Los Angeles, and (b) Elvis recorded it in July 1956, fully three years after Thornton's original hit had slipped from the r&b charts. Thornton lost not one cent by Elvis recording it, and the composers (Lieber & Stoller) literally made millions of dollars. In fact

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