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The Day The Beatles Met Their Idol: Elvis Presley
It was just past 10 p.m., August 27, 1965. The moment of time when rock's legends met for the first time, as if Elvis was passing the history of rock baton to The Beatles, acknowledging that they were now the King of rock music. Not a lot of press about the meeting was released and what was was cordial.
The Beatles blinked first by accepting an invitation from Elvis for them to visit him in Bel-Air, next to Beverly Hills. They were hesitant. They were giddy and nervous, especially John and Paul, both whom idolized Elvis since 1955. It was Elvis that got both into playing guitars, slicking their hair back and pretending to be rock stars while singing in front of a mirror. Then, John was 15, Paul 13.
My, how things changed! Now, they were the world's idols that most 8-15 yr olds mimiced in front of a mirror now, guitar sales had zoomed and the Beatles' had changed music history in mere, but grueling 10 years.
The Beatles' had been smoking weed to calm their nerves. Their car arrived at a huge house that was lit up like a nightclub. Elvis had just finished yet another idiot movie, Blue Hawaii, and was chilling out on a horseshoe shaped couch, sitting in regal fashion with a teenager named, Priscilla Beaulieu, 15 yrs younger than him. She would become his wife in 1967-8. Elvis sat there in a red shirt, tight black jacket and slacks with his arm around his girl. Elvis's entourage also sat like prince's over the kingdom as The Beatles entered.
Although, John was now a man at 25, he was struck in awe, speechless, by the sight of Elvis, his boyhood idol. Trying to remain cool in front of his King, he really came off as a buffoon and stumbled over every word he attempted to say and basically reverted to his zany wit which gave Elvis a bad impression. It was like a kid meeting movie star. Paul, Ringo and George were simply silent. Shell shock as they surveyed the room.
Finally, Elvis smirked and invited them to sit down. He realized what impact he had on them in a fatherly way. Yet, did not like the idea of be 2nd place. The Beatles sat down but remained mesmerized by their idol that they truly loved. It was a real piece of their identity as teenagers. Paul simply surfed through TV channels, a nervous impulse. The Beatles remained speechless- staring at their King.
Elvis grew tired of this, and finally said, " if you guys are just gonna sit there and stare at me, I'm going to bed", and through something across the table. Then, he said, "I didn't mean for this to be like the subjects calling on the King. I just thought we'd sit and talk about music and jam a little". Finally, Paul awoken from his paralysis, " That'd be great, let's do a song by Cilla Black". The ice was cracked and together rock's legendary icons loosened up with, "You're my world", which gradually got down to "That's All Right Mama" , "Blue Suede Shoes" with Elvis singing, Paul on piano. The jam ended with The Beatles #1 song at the time, " I Feel Fine".
Throughout the thaw period, John made snide remarks about his idol in a demeaning way, saying he was the "old" school and "his time was done". Elvis fired back with, "I might just get around to cuttin a few sides and knockin you off the top", with a shrug. Beneath the cordial words were real, huge, egos that laid an undercurrent of disrespect.
In private, John said the meeting with Elvis was, " rubbish, like meeting Englebert Humperdinck".