The subject of the Beatles and Elvis comes up from time to time. I’ll admit when I was younger, being influenced, I didn’t think much of Elvis. I didn’t feel like I was part of that generation so much. Even though I listened to many of his contemporaries and admired them very much. When you’re young, your perception is skewed, I believe. I loved listening to Cream, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and others because they were powerful, and mysterious and spoke to complex issues in ways I could little comprehend at that age. Among all that I was absorbing musically, the Beatles were the driving force. The Beatles with the aide of George Martin, were taking music in a direction that was not considered before. Was not even imagined before. There were artist on the edge; like Buddy Holly. Holly’s tragic death pre-empted what was surely going be an explosian of new ideas and techniques. That would be put in hold until the arrival of the Beatles. Memphis in the meantime, would be ground zero for the King… of showmanship, Elvis Presley. Elvis had a knack for taking a Blues or gospel or hillbilly song and making it his own. Often to the dismay of many of the originators of that music. He Carl Perkins had a long standing feud over Blue Suede Shoes. In the end Perkins would be compensated beyond anything he could imagine, with the success of this hit by Elvis. So, in an around about way, the persona of Elvis benefited all of us music lovers, and that is what made him the King of Rock n’ Roll. I love Elvis and I love the Beatles, but mostly I love Muddy Waters. “The Blues had a baby and they called it Rock n’ Roll”
On August 27, 1965 the Beatles and Elvis finally met. No press were allowed, no pictures or recordings either. Just an informal sit down with two giants of the music industry. There is a good article by Los Angeles Times reporter Chuck Crisafulli here is an excerpt and a link to it: WHEN ELVIS MET THE BEATLES – L.A. Times
Early on, Elvis showed off one of his musical pastimes to Lennon and McCartneyplugging a Fender bass into an amp to play along to records. Charlie Richs Mohair Sam was a favorite that summer, and Elvis nailed the boogeying bass line. There were guitars in the house, and there are varying accounts as to what extent the rock luminaries jammed. Esposito remembers a few 50s oldiesnot Elvis tunesgetting a run-through, though the left-handed McCartney had trouble doing much with a guitar strung for a right-hander. Schilling remembers Elvis playing bass but doesnt recall any serious jamming. I was paying attention that night, he laughs. Thats something I wouldnt have missed.