This was a very chaotic recording, with the tympani out of tune and Ben E. King's vocals coming in too soon at the beginning. With all the instrumentation going on, Leiber said that the first time he heard it on the radio, he thought he was picking up two stations.
This production anarchy didn't sit well with Jerry Wexler at Atlantic Records, which was The Drifters' label, and the song marked the first dark cloud on the horizon between Leiber and Stoller and the label. As given in Hound Dog: The Leiber & Stoller Autobiography
, Wexler hated the song as soon as he heard it, saying, "I'd never release s--t like this. It's dog meat! You're wasting our money on an overpriced production that sounds like a radio caught between two stations." Protip: Jerry Wexler was later caught in an audit showing that he owed Leiber and Stoller $18,000. He welshed.