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For the Bobby Brown album, see Don't Be Cruel .
For the Bobby Brown song, see Don't Be Cruel .
"Don't Be Cruel" is a song by Otis Blackwell, which was recorded by Elvis Presley in 1956. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2004, it was listed #197 in Rolling Stone's list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song is currently ranked as the 92nd greatest song of all time, as well as the fifth best song of 1956, by Acclaimed Music.

"Don't Be Cruel" was originally the A side of RCA single 47-6604, with "Hound Dog" on the B-side, although both sides became chart-toppers, RCA reissuing the single in later decades as double A-side. The single was the first to top all three extant Billboard charts: pop, rhythm & blues, and country & western.

The song was recorded for RCA Victor by Elvis' regular band of Scotty Moore on lead guitar (with Elvis usually providing rhythm guitar), Bill Black on bass, D.J. Fontana on drums and backing vocals from the Jordanaires. Presley recorded this song on July 2, 1956 at RCA's New York City studio. The producing credit was given to RCA's Steve Sholes, however the studio recordings reveal that Elvis produced the songs in this session (as well as many others) himself, which is verified by the band members. Presley selected the song, reworked the arrangement himself on piano, and recorded twenty-eight takes of the song with the band (number 28 being the take released on the record) during one recording session following the thirty-one takes of "Hound Dog" (number 31 being released on the record) recorded that day. "Any Way You Want Me" was also recorded in that same session following "Don't Be Cruel". "Don't Be Cruel" and "Hound Dog" were released on July 13, 1956.

Presley reworked the Otis Blackwell demo and changed the music and lyrics, just as he did to other compositions by Blackwell. Hence the reason he received co-songwriting credit.

Presley, Scotty, Bill, DJ, and the Jordanaires first performed "Don't Be Cruel" on national television on the September 9, 1956 the Ed Sullivan Show. They revisited the song twice more when appearing on the Sullivan Show: October 28 of the same year, and on January 6, 1957.

The record, listed as "Don't Be Cruel/Hound Dog" at the time of its release, hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 the week ending August 18, 1956, and remained in the top position for 11 consecutive weeks, tying it with the 1950 Anton Karas hit The Third Man Theme and the 1951/1952 Johnnie Ray hit Cry for the longest stay at number one by a single record until 1992's smash "End of the Road" by Boyz II Men.

In popular culture

The song appears in the 2005 Mini-series Elvis, where Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Elvis performs the song in Jacksonvillemarker.



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