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Elvis Presley‘s “Hound Dog” is one of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll‘s biggest songs. He still got sick of it. Priscilla Presley gave fans insight into Elvis’ state of mind after they divorced. She also revealed how Elvis’ mother’s death changed his view of life.

Elvis Presley didn’t want to be singing ‘Hound Dog’ when he was 40

In her 1985 book Elvis and Me, Priscilla reflected on the state of her ex-husband’s career following their divorce in 1973, when Elvis was 38. “His movie career was at a standstill, and he focused on Vegas appearances and touring. Elvis had trouble seeing himself ‘a forty-year-old man still shaking to ‘Hound Dog,”” she wrote. “He had other ambitions. He once talked of producing, even directing, but he never took steps to pursue either.”

For context, Elvis acted in a film for the last time in 1969, when he played a physician in Change of Habit. That movie is mostly known for featuring Mary Tyler Moore in its cast and the hit “Rubberneckin'” on its soundtrack. After that, Elvis made two more movies, both of which were concert documentaries. The first, Elvis: That’s the Way It Is, came out in 1970, while the second, Elvis on Tour, came out in 1972. While both of those movies were well-received, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll apparently would have preferred being behind the camera.

Priscilla Presley discussed why Elvis Presley engaged in self-destructive behavior

Priscilla felt that the “Don’t Be Cruel” singer was not in the best frame of mind. “In time, it became evident that he was letting his health go,” she recalled. “His behavior at times was deliberately self-destructive. On a few occasions, he’d say, ‘I’ll never make it much beyond forty.’ We’ve all made such statements, but with Elvis the thought was deep-seated and chronic.”

Elvis compared himself to his deceased mother, Gladys Presley. “Gladys had died at 40 and, like Gladys, he wanted to go before his father, sensing that he himself couldn’t bear another loss,” he said. “From time to time, I’d hear that he had checked into the hospital. Concerned, I’d call, asking, ‘Are you all right?’ ‘Sure,’ he’d say, laughing a little to show me it was all a big joke.” Sadly, Elvis died at age 42 in 1977.


Singer Yola Said Fans of Elvis Presley’s ‘Hound Dog’ Should ‘Pay Homage to its Originator’

Why the impact of ‘Hound Dog’ will never, ever be erased from music history

Regardless of Elvis’ feelings about “Hound Dog,” the tune was instrumental in bringing rock ‘n’ roll to a wider audience. Without the success of “Hound Dog,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” and other Elvis hits, the entire history of music would be different. Countless rock musicians never would have become famous and rock’s influence would never had reached its peak without the songs.

“Hound Dog” was released as a double A-side single with “Don’t Be Cruel.” The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits reports the two songs topped the Billboard Top 100 for 11 weeks. To this day, that’s impressive.

Elvis grew tired of “Hound Dog,” but the track is still a godsend.