The Beatles and Elvis Presley are two of the most famous musical acts in the world. The Beatles frontman John Lennon was a life-long fan of Elvis but the two only met once – and it wasn’t the most joyous. In fact, it turns out for some, music really is the only communicator which truly works.
Perhaps it was due to his long-held fandom over Elvis, but Lennon sadly did not nail his introduction with The King.
In fact, some may go as far as to say Lennon accidentally offended his idol, and things did not get much better after that point.
As chronicled at the Elvis and Us exhibition, which took place at the Beatles Story Museum in Liverpool back in 2011, the band met Elvis at his home in Bel Air, California, in 1965.
The Beatles drummer Ringo Starr left Elvis and Lennon to play after an awkward moment.
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What happened when John Lennon met Elvis Presley?
Tony Barrow, the Beatles’ press officer in the 1960, spoke openly about their meeting as part of the exhibition, which featured video interviews with him.
Mr Barrow said: “John asked what had happened to the old rock’n’roll Elvis, who at that point was mainly singing the soundtracks to his films. He was half-joking but he meant it.”
A comment like this would put many a nose out of joint, but ever the professional, Elvis laughed it off.
According to reports, an atmosphere seemed to rise up from this, causing stilted conversation until things got better when the musical instruments came out.
Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Yoko Ono
A young Elvis Presley
Mr Barrow continued: “They all started jamming and that is when the party took off.
“With words, they didn’t have much to say. But as soon as they got into the music the conversation began to spark.”
Sadly for Starr, the band’s drummer, he was tapping out a beat on a chair, but after feeling “left out”, he started playing pool with roadies.
The meeting ended fairly abruptly with Colonel Tom Parker, the man whose grip over Elvis was well known, brought the band a sort of “party bag” with leftovers and pressings of Elvis’ hits.
Elvis performing in Las Vegas
Fans know how strongly the music of Elvis influenced the Beatles, but for Lennon, this meeting had shattered his expectations.
Mr Barrow added: “John said it had been about as exciting as meeting Engelbert Humperdinck.
“Someone else wondered if Elvis was stoned out of his mind, and George Harrison just said: ‘Aren’t we all?’”
Mr Barrow also described how, as far as he saw it, Elvis was the one who had someone to “fear” in meeting the Beatles, given their superstardom which had taken over their musical lives by this point.
This story only adds further fuel to the old adage: you should never meet your heroes.