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Otis Blackwell - "Don't Be Cruel" | Oct 12th

Otis Blackwell was the man behind some of rock n roll's biggest hits. He wrote or co-wrote songs like 'Great Balls of Fire' (Jerry Lee Lewis), 'Fever' (Peggy Lee), 'All Shook Up' and 'One Broken Heart For Sale' (Elvis Presley), all without ever really becoming famous. It is estimated that his songwriting has helped generate almost 200 million records sold. He was inducted in the National Academy of Popular Musics Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1991.

Elvis Presley 'Don't Be Cruel'

Ideas for discussion questions:

  1. What are the differences between these two versions?

  2. Would Otis Blackwell have been famous if he was White?

  3. (Otis Blackwell) How would you describe the bass?

  4. Which version do you prefer?

  5. 'Don't Be Cruel' was released in 1956. What was America like for Black people at that time?


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