Almanac: Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog" tops the Billboard charts

Elvis Presley performs on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on Sept. 9, 1956. AP

(CBS News) And now a page from our "Sunday Morning" Almanac: Aug. 18, 1956 ... 57 years ago today ... a day that shook up the music world.

For that was the day Elvis Presley's version of "Hound Dog" topped the Billboard chart for the very first time.

Born in a small two-bedroom house in Tupelo, Miss., Elvis was only 21 years old that summer. He'd created a sensation by performing the song -- hip gyrations and all -- on both the Milton Berle and Ed Sullivan TV shows.

Elvis and "Hound Dog" stayed at No. 1 for what was then a record 11 weeks, only to be knocked off their perch by Elvis' "Love Me Tender".

His fans certainly loved Elvis more fanatically than tenderly. Even a two-year hitch in the Army failed to dampen his female followers' enthusiasm, as our own Charles Kuralt noted at a press conference upon Presley's discharge.

"Elvis you have some screaming fans out there. Do you still like screaming girls?" Kuralt asked.

"If it wasn't for them, I'd have to re-up in the Army," Presley replied.

Elvis released 31 No. 1 hits during his lifetime, earning him the nickname "The King."

His death from a heart attack in 1977, at just age 42, shocked his millions of fans, but hardly discouraged them.

Elvis impersonators still thrive to this day, while deniers of his death keep up a steady drumbeat of supposed sightings.

And his records and movies still continue to sell. Last year Forbes Magazine proclaimed him the third highest-earning dead celebrity, behind only Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson, with $55 million in posthumous earnings each year.

Yet, along with all the fun, there is genuine sadness.

This past Thursday evening, thousands of fans took part in a candlelight vigil at Graceland on the 36th anniversary of Elvis' death.

It's hard to believe that, if Elvis really IS alive somewhere, he's 78 years old.

Comments

Follow Us

On Twitter