Why was Elvis Presley’s controversial dancing banned from one stop during his California concert tour? And what is it?
Elvis Presley was known for his charming ways and ‘sexy’ dancing that had millions of adoring fans swooning over his presence. However, after one controversial dance in Los Angeles, Elvis Presley was almost faced with heavy fines and even jail time.
Elvis Presley ‘Hound Dog’
In the late 1950s, Presley was still a rising star, with his name spreading like wildfire. It wasn’t until 1956 that Elvis Presley released one of his biggest hits yet, “Hound Dog”. The tune went on to sell over 10 million copies worldwide and became one of the best-selling singles to this day, reports Express. It was translated from English to Spanish, Portuguese, French, and German. Furthermore, The Beatles even did their own rendition of “Hound Dog, “with it being Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s favorite song by Elvis Presley.
Naturally, since “Hound Dog was” such a hit, Elvis Presley was inclined to perform it at each of his stops. One police officer wasn’t happy with the way the King performed it, however.
While in the Sunshine State, the notable artist was getting into his music as he usually did. He grabbed a massive stuffed dog to help him perform “Hound Dog”. Presley allegedly began “rhythmically gyrating” with the oversized plush toy along with the lyrics.
While the fans loved it, the Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief did not. He banned the dance, saying that the artist must cease any “sexy overtone” in any of his future performances. If Presley didn’t obey the officer’s orders, he warned that the King would receive an obscenity charge.
Today, the news source reports that an obscenity charge is punishable with up to a year of jail time and potentially a $10 million fine.
Many on Presley’s team, as well as Colonel Tom Parker, were intimidated by the warning, giving the artist strict instruction to cut it from his act completely. Thankfully, Elvis Presley followed orders and was not charged with anything.
The Stuffed Dog
The stuffed animal was a gift from Elvis Presley’s record label, RCA, whose logo was a dog. They gifted Presley with the toy after “Hound Dog” climbed to number one on the charts. However, years after the dancing incident, Elvis Presley gave the dog to his friend, Paul Lickter. Lickter was a rock concert promoter who managed big-name bands like The Soul Survivors and Vanilla Fudge.
In 1997, Elvis Presley’s dance partner, the stuffed dog, was sold in an auction for nearly $4,142 in US money to a dedicated fan of the artist. Although, I’m sure it does not see the type of action it saw on stage in 1950 in LA.