Elvis and The Beatles: what the King could have learned from the Fab Four
Harmonic Convergence: The Beatles meet Elvis Presley. It was nice . 'Some funny things happen to you on the road, don't they?' Elvis smiled. On August 27, , Elvis Presley met The Beatles at his California home. There are no photos from that historic meeting between the King of. Liverpool exhibition reveals what happened at the first and only meeting between the English group and the American singer.
Priscilla Presley talks about Elvis meeting The Beatles | Priscilla Presley
Elvis played 'Mohair Sam' all evening on the jukebox, 'cause he was well into that. Priscilla was wheeled in about half past ten for about five minutes as if she was a doll, which she looked like. We were totally in awe of him. He was learning to play bass so I kind of taught him a little bit of stuff.
A really nice guy, really regular person, what we saw of him. I doubt very much if the Beatles would have happenned if it was not for Elvis. God bless you Elvis. I still love him, particularly in his early period. He was very influential on me.
I mean that was the end. Me whole life changed from then on, I was completely shaken by it. I thought 'this is it! I couldn't believe it when Elvis came out. Just this lad with sideboards and shakin' his pelvis and being absolutely naughty.
It was one of them things I will never forget: It changed the course of my life'. August 27, Elvis looked so phenomenal that night. He used to wear these bolero shirts and had them in every colour, expect brown.
He wearing a blue shirt that night. We all went to the den and all of a sudden we heard screaming, like thunder, as if a bomb went off. The front door opened and outside there were thousands of fans everywhere. The word had got out. What we heard was the front door open as The Beatles walked in! The Beatles came in with Brian Epstein, their manager. They walked up to Elvis and were introduced, and Elvis sits down on the chair. There's this dead silence in the room until Elvis says, 'Well, what-the-hell, if you guys aren't going to talk to me I'm going to my bedroom'.
And then everyone started to laugh and that broke the ice. Elvis Meets the Beatles August 27, The Beatles Remember John Lennon: When I first heard 'Heartbreak Hotel', I could hardly make out what was being said. It was just the experience of hearing it and having my hair stand on end.
We'd never heard American voices singing like that. They'd always sung like Sinatra or enunciated very well. Suddenly, there's this hillbilly hiccuping on tape echo and all this bluesy background going on.
It took a long time to work out what was going on. To us, it just sounded like a noise that was great. He was just Elvis, you know? He seemed normal to us, and we were asking about his making movies and not doing any personal appearances or TV. I asked him if he was preparing new ideas for his next film and he drawled, 'Ah sure am. Ah play a country boy with a guitar who meets a few gals along the way, and ah sing a few songs'.
We all looked at one another. Finally Presley and Colonel Parker laughed and explained that the only time they departed from that formula - for Wild in the Country - they lost money. We never watch it - it's just there with no sound on, and we listen to records. In front of the TV, he had a massive amplifier with a bass plugged into it, and he was up playing bass all the time with the picture up on the TV. So we just got in there and played with him.
We all plugged in whatever was around, and we played and sang. He had a jukebox, like I do, but I think he had all his hits on it. But if I'd made as many as him, maybe I'd have all mine on. We'd tried to meet Elvis during our first tour of the States inbut couldn't make it because of his commitments and ours. But when we came in the summer of we found we'd be in Hollywood at the same time Elvis was filming there.
And that's how we met Elvis on the night of Friday, August 27, It still took three days of planning to set up the get together in Elvis' house -- which we hoped would be a secret. But the fans and the press still got wind of it and were there in their hundreds trying to get in, and although we were used to crowds, the thought of Elvis and the Beatles being together at one time just blew the minds of some of the people.
He looked great in black slacks, a red shirt and close fitting black jerkin. He said hello in his quietly spoken way and led us into this huge circular room.
We were joined by some his staff as well as Colonel Parker and Brian Epstein. I know Paul, George, and Ringo were feeling as nervous as I was. This was the guy we had all idolized for years--from way back when were just starting out in Liverpool. He was a legend in his own lifetime, and it's never easy meeting a legend in his own lifetime. However, Elvis tried to make us feel at home.
He sat - Paul and me on one side of him and Ringo on the other. George sat cross-legged on the floor. A huge color television was on in the middle of the room with the sound off, while a record player was playing the latest tunes. We could have just walked in on an average Elvis-at-home evening.
Elvis obviously liked to treat everybody he met the same, whoever they were. He finally broke the silence that had fallen over the room.
He smiled, and we all laughed. One of Elvis' staff brought us drinks, but while we all drank scotch-and coke or bourbon-and-Seven Up, Elvis only had Seven Up. He didn't touch any of the cigarettes that were offered around, either. After a bit Elvis said, 'Somebody bring in the guitars'. Again one of his men jumped up, and within moments three electric guitars had been plugged into the amplifiers in the room. Elvis took a bass guitar, and I took a rhythm guitar. Elvis obviously wasn't that familiar with his instrument, so Paul gave him some instructions.
George was busy looking over his instrument, and it was a few minutes before he joined in. After that I said, 'This beats talking, doesn't it' -- and we had at last found a way of communicating through music. Only Ringo looked a bit down. He could only watch us and drum on the side of his chair. After a while, Paul put down his guitar and went over to the large white grand piano that stood in a corner by the bar.
He began to pick out some notes and we got into one of the Shadows tunes.
While all this was going on, Brian and the Colonel sat chatting at the back of the room. Then they went out into the games room to play some roulette. I think Brian won a bit, and the Colonel lost a little. Playing the instruments certainly helped us feel at ease with Elvis. After about an hour we stopped and began to talk about the thing we all knew best --entertaining. In particular, the experiences we'd all had on tour. It was lucky the guys and I got off in time.
They tipped the whole damn rostrum over! I remember one fellow rushed on stage when were performing and pulled the leads out of the amplifiers. Then he turned to me and said, 'One move and you're dead'.
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Elvis replied, 'Yeah, it can be pretty scaring at times. If somebody pushed me on stage and said, 'You're on your own, like they do with you, I don't know how I'd cope'.
The conversation then moved on to the problem of flying, which Elvis admitted could bother him. Boy, was I scared! I really thought my number was up. We had to take everything that was sharp out of our pockets and rest our heads on pillow between our knees. When we finally got down safely, the pilot was soaking with sweat, although there was snow on the ground outside'. George told Elvis a similar story about when he had been flying from Liverpool and the window beside him had suddenly sprung open.
We pay the price for fame with our nerves don't we! Everyone knew how much he loved them, and he'd just got himself a Rolls-Royce Phantom Five. Mine is just the same except I've had all the chrome bits painted black'. It was 2 AM when we finally quit. Elvis had been a great host and gave all of us a complete set of his records. It was a night none of us would forget. As we were about to leave, Paul said, 'Elvis, we'd like you and the other guys to come up to the place where we are staying tomorrow night'.
But thanks all the same'. He smiled and shook our hands. We never saw him again. It was Elvis' sense of humor that stuck in my mind. He liked to laugh and make others laugh, too. We'd tried for years to, but we could never get to him. He was our greatest idol, but the styles were changing in favor of us. He was a pretty powerful image to British people.
You'd look at photos of him doing American concerts, and the audience would not even be jumping up and down. We used to be amazed, seeing them sitting in the front row - not even dancing. We played a bit of pool with a few of his motorcycle mates, and at about ten o'clock, Priscilla was brought in. To demonstrate the respect that country-and-western people have for their wives. Sometimes it's a bit on the surface - as maybe their situation was shown to be later.
It was like, 'Here's Priscilla'. She came in, and I got this picture of her as a sort of a Barbie doll - with a purple gingham dress and a gingham bow in her very beehive hair, with lots of makeup.
We all said hello, and then it was, 'Right, lads, hands off - she's going'. She didn't stay long. That was the great thing for me, that he was into the bass, So there I was, 'Well, let me show you a thing or two, El It was a great conversation piece for me. I could actually talk about the bass, and we sat around and just enjoyed ourselves. He was great - talkative and friendly and a little bit shy.
But that was his image. We expected that, we hoped for that.
It was one of the great meetings of my life. I think he liked us. I think at that time, he may have felt a little bit threatened, but he didn't say anything.
We certainly didn't feel any antagonism. These were great times, so even if you didn't enjoy all of the events that much, you could still go home to Liverpool and say, 'Well, you know who I met?
Joe Esposito Remembers Q: How about that historic night with the Fab Four. We have the different angles from some of the other guys who were there. Why don't we have you just take us through it. The day Elvis and the Beatles met. There's a lot of different versions of this story.
We've all gotten older. All our memories are different. And maybe when you read things or believe certain things you read, which you know are not true but eventually they become real. My recollection - - only mine -- is when the Beatles first came to the United States, I think it was They wanted to meet Elvis and it never worked out. So in 65 when they came back again, Brian Epstein and Colonel Parker got together and talked about seeing if they could arrange a meeting.
Basically what it was, they said fine. Elvis was making a movie at the time, I forgot which one it was. I mean he was amazing, bigger than the Beatles were. So Malcolm came over to the studio to meet the Colonel and he was all dressed up nice in his suit and tie, and everything like that. So Colonel Parker called me on the set and he said, 'Joe, I need to talk to you'. So I went over to the Colonels office. And he said, 'Take Malcolm over to the set to meet Elvis and talk about what night were going to get together'.
And I said, 'Great'. So I took Malcolm over there. He was a nervous wreck, the poor guy. I mean, he was just shaking in his boots, I mean. You know, when somebody meets somebody they idolize they don't know what to say, they can't talk.
And I introduced Malcolm to Elvis and he was so nervous he shook his hand and that was it. There was nothing to say.
When The Beatles met Elvis Presley
You know, say something Malcolm, you know. But he just said how much he admired Elvis and the Beatles are really anxious to meet him and all of that. And basically all that happened that night. So then I took Malcolm back to the office and Malcolm was just thrilled. He couldn't believe his -- he says, 'I didn't know what to say'. He says, 'All my years wanting to meet Elvis and I didn't know what to say'.
So, OK we made arrangements for one night a couple of days later. We laughed a lot. That's one thing we forgot about for a few years — laughing. When we went through all the lawsuits, it looked as if everything was bleak; but when I think back to before that, I remember we used to laugh all the time.
We pulled up at some big gates and someone said, 'Oh yeah, we're going to see Elvis,' and we all fell out of the car laughing, trying to pretend we weren't silly: As they arrived Presley took The Beatles into the enormous living room; Epstein and Parker stood aside to watch the meeting. It was very exciting, we were all nervous as hell, and we met him in his big house in LA — probably as big as the one we were staying in, but it still felt like, 'Big house, big Elvis. And he had pool tables!
Maybe a lot of American houses are like that, but it seemed amazing to us; it was like a nightclub. John LennonAnthology The encounter was not a great success, with a somewhat stilted atmosphere and little conversation at first. Eventually Elvis told them, "If you damn guys are gonna sit here and stare at me all night I'm gonna go to bed.
What happened to good old rock 'n' roll? He smiled a lot and shook hands with everybody. The ice didn't really break in the early stages at all. The boys and Elvis swapped tour stories, but it hadn't got going. Tony Barrow With the ice broken, Presley called for guitars to be brought out and a brief jam session took place. I can't remember all the things that they played but I do remember one of the songs was I Feel Fine. And I remember Ringo, who of course didn't have an instrument, tapping out the backbeat with his fingers on the nearest bits of wooden furniture.
Elvis strummed a few bass guitar chords for Paul and said: That recording would be invaluable, surely. It would be a multi-million dollar piece of tape. But it wasn't to be. It was an amazing session to listen to.