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The Beatles Met Elvis (by Paul McCartney)

9.50pm, Friday 27 August 1965

“We met Elvis Presley at the end of our stay in LA. We’d tried for years to, but we could never get to him. We used to think we were a bit of a threat to him and Colonel Tom Parker, which ultimately we were. So although we tried many times, Colonel Tom would just show up with a few souvenirs and that would have to do us for a while. We didn’t feel brushed off; we felt we deserved to be brushed off. After all, he was Elvis, and who were we to dare to want to meet him? But we finally received an invitation to go round and see him when he was making a film in Hollywood.”

“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…’ Suddenly he was a mate. 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.”

“She came in and I got this picture of her as a sort of Barbie doll – with a purple gingham dress, and a gingham bow in her very beehive hair, with lots of make-up. We all said ‘hello’ and then it was, ‘Right lads, hands off – she’s going.’ She didn’t stay long.

I can’t blame him, although I don’t think any of us would have made a pass at her. That was definitely not on – Elvis’s wife, you know! That was unthinkable – she didn’t need to be put away quite so quickly, we thought.”

“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.

I only met him that once, and then I think the success of our career started to push him out a little; which we were very sad about, because we wanted to co-exist with him. He was our greatest idol, but the styles were changing in favour of us. He was a pretty powerful image to British people.”



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