ELVIS PRESLEY’S ex-wife Priscilla Presley recalled his “awkward” meeting with John Lennon and The Beatles in a newly unearthed interview, revealing what really happened when the iconic acts came face-to-face.
Elvis Presley was a huge idol for The Beatles in the early days and, when Beatlemania exploded, the band were desperate to get to meet the King of Rock ’n’ Roll. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison tried to set up a meeting with Elvis’ manager Colonel Parker in 1964, but to no avail. The following year, they managed to sort out for the band to go to Elvis, rather than the other way around.
In a newly unearthed interview, Elvis’ ex-wife Priscilla Presley, who was his girlfriend at the time The Beatles came to visit, recalled how the day went.
She greeted the band at the door at Graceland that evening and briefly showed them around before taking them to see Elvis where he was relaxing in the den.
“They were so cute,” Priscilla said. “They were so excited but so nervous.
“You could hear a pin drop when they walked in. All they cared about was seeing Elvis.”
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“They were excited but holding it back. They wanted to be respectful but I was amazed at house shy they were.”
Priscilla said Elvis rose from the couch to say hello to John, McCartney, Ringo and George, with the atmosphere slightly “awkward” to begin with.
“I was amazed at how shy they were. They were speechless,” she said. “They were truly like kids meeting their idol, especially John Lennon.
“John was shy, timid, looking at him… I really believe that he just couldn’t believe that he was actually there with Elvis Presley.
“It was a little bit awkward because they just kept looking at him and not really saying anything and not really sitting down, just staring at him,” she said.
“I felt like it was a long time,” she laughed. “Elvis just said, ‘You know, guys, if you’re just gonna stand around and stare at me, I might as well just do my own thing.”
Elvis then grabbed a bass and started playing, breaking the ice.
“That just lightened up the whole evening and then it was just like joking around after that,” Priscilla said.
In an interview years later, Lennon admitted he had been “nervous as hell” about meeting his idol.
Speaking to Spin in 1975, he recalled: “We were terrified. He is our idol.
“We went in and he was sitting in front of a TV. He had this TV, I remember; he had an amplifier and a bass plugged into into.
“And watching with no sound on the TV,” Lennon continued. “And playing bass and singing, and we were sort of singing along. But we were really just watching him.
“I always thought of it from our point of view; I never thought of it from his.”
The Beatles star went on to remember his thoughts that evening, saying: “It’s a strange story… I just remember sitting there and him playing the bass. And me thinking, ‘It’s Elvis! It’s Elvis! It’s actually Elvis.’”
John’s Beatles bandmate Paul later spoke about the day, telling Wired it was a “dream” to meet Elvis.
“We’d fantasised about him since we were kind of young teenagers and here he was in the flesh,” he said. “So, it was great. It was lovely.”