It was 66-years-ago today (August 18th, 1956) that Elvis Presley began his 11-week chart-topping run with his Double A-sided single “Don't Be Cruel” / “Hound Dog.” The songs were recorded in Manhattan the previous July 2nd and although officially credited to RCA staffer Steve Sholes, both tracks were in fact produced by Elvis himself. The songs was the first of many to feature the Jordanaires on backing vocals.
Backing “The King” was his original guitarist, Scotty Moore, bassist Bill Black, and drummer DJ Fontana — known lovingly as the Blue Moon Boys. The group formed the core of Elvis's original sound on his early sides for Sun and RCA Records.
During his ill-fated first appearance in Las Vegas in April 1956, Elvis got the idea to record “Hound Dog” — a 1953 R&B chart topper for Big “Mama” Thornton — after watching his opening act Freddie Bell & The Bellboys perform a comedic version of the song. “Don't Be Cruel” was written by Otis Blackwell, who went on to write “Return To Sender” and “All Shook Up” for Elvis, as well as “Fever” for Peggy Lee, and “Great Balls Of Fire” for Jerry Lee Lewis.