Elvis Presley was once accused of stealing a song from lesser-known musician Big Mama Thornton.
The recent death of actress Shonka Dukureh, who played Big Mama Thornton in Baz Luhrmann’s Presley biopic “Elvis,” has brought back the problem the king of rock and roll faced in the past.
The same movie showed how the mighty singer sang “Hound Dog” in 1952 after recording it. The performance took place four years before Presley “sorted” it, sparking rumors that the late rocker stole it.
Songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote it for Thornton. They also worked on Presley’s hit songs like “Jailhouse Rock”, “Trouble” and “You’re So Square (I Don’t Care)”, among others.
Although Leiber died in 2011 to reveal what really happened, Stoller remains strong at 89. He then took the opportunity to reveal on Rolling Stone music now podcast that the news of Presley “stealing the song” from Big mama Thornton was wrong.
According to Stoller, Presley knew Thornton’s version of the song. So his rendition was actually inspired by Freddie Bell and the Bellboys’ version of “Hound Dog.”
“It didn’t have the rhythm of Big Mama’s record, which was fantastic. That’s true not just for Big Mama, but for many black artists and songwriters,” he said.
The songwriter has also defended Presley from issues and accusations of cultural appropriation.
Shonka Dukureh found dead
The revelation came after Durukeh, who played Thornton in ‘Elvis’, died in his Nashville apartment.
The Nashville Metropolitan Police Department confirmed to PEOPLE that the actress was found dead in the bedroom of her Kothe Way apartment. One of her two young children ran to a neighbor’s apartment and asked for help.
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The press release revealed that no foul play was suspected. Currently, the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department is reportedly awaiting autopsy results from the Davidson County Medical Examiner’s Office to determine Shinka Dukureh’s cause of death.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper wrote a statement via Fox17, sending his message of condolence to the family.
“My deepest condolences to the family of Shonka Dukureh. Shonka graduated from Fisk and made Nashville her home for many years. Her powerful voice and artistry will live on through her music, and we honor her memory on this sad day. “said the mayor.
Meanwhile, Thornton also faced a tragic death when she passed away after suffering heart and liver ailments.
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