The book Hound Dog: The Leiber & Stoller Autobiography
gives this as the third produced song by the songwriting team of Leiber and Stoller. The year was 1952. They had sold their first two songs to Modern Records, and this gave them the confidence to audition "Hard Times" for producer Maxwell Davis at Aladdin Records.
When Charles Brown met with Leiber and Stoller in the studio to try out the song, the songwriters noticed an inner tube on the bench in front of the Baldwin piano. Brown had to explain that this was due to the hemorrhoid operation he had just undergone.