In retrospect with such a wide range of Elvis concerts now in the public domain it is almost unfathomable to imagine one (Aloha apart) without the Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruelmedley. In the later years of course Elvis would use this as a point in the show where he could catch his breath, throw some scarves to the crowd and have some audience interaction, usually with those of the female variety!!
In early 1970 however, this medley was just a fledgling performance and after this show he would sing it just twice more this season, at the Dinner Shows on 3 and 5 February and not again until January 1971. It would be a setlist regular throughout August 71 and all of 72. In 1973 however it would only make the odd appearance. It was from the beginning of the March 74 tour where it would become a permanent fixture in the setlist and would take on it's now familiar guise in the show.
As a stand alone performance 'Don't Be Cruel' was sung throughout the initial Vegas engagement in August 1969 and a handful of times in August and September 1970 but post 1970 it was almost always segued into a medley with 'Teddy Bear'.
Teddy Bear was of course written for Elvis' second motion picture 'Loving You' and it is perhaps within this context that the song works best. It was recorded on the Paramount Soundstage in Hollywood, California on 16 January 1957.
Don't Be Cruel is probably one of the early Elvis' most famous recordings and was recorded in New York at RCA's studios on 2 July 1956 at the same session which produced 'Hound Dog'.
If you think it is a case of "If you've heard one 70's Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel medley you've heard them all" then you really are in for a treat and a surprise. During this first 70's live version at times Elvis is almost growling the words of 'Teddy Bear'!!! This is almost night and day from the later 70's versions!!!!!