|
|
Examiner
  • Ted Stillwell: The Beatles meet Elvis

  • There have been many great recording artists down through the years, but Elvis Presley and the Beatles stand above the rest. Elvis has always been the King of Rock and Roll, and the Beatles opened the door for the British Invasion.

    • email print
  • There have been many great recording artists down through the years, but Elvis Presley and the Beatles stand above the rest. Elvis has always been the King of Rock and Roll, and the Beatles opened the door for the British Invasion.
    Elvis charted his first No. 1 hit single way back in 1956 and consistently kept a record or two on the top 40 charts until the Beatles hit the United States music scene in late 1963. Elvis then began to have trouble obtaining those chart busters, and even his movies began to falter as Beatle-mania took over and began to soar out of control. So, needless to say, Elvis built up a slight animosity against the Boys from Liverpool. He blamed them for stealing his thunder. However, at the same time, the Beatles idolized Elvis and voiced their desire to meet the King in person.
    Col. Tom Parker, Elvis’ manager, and the Beatle’s manager, Brian Epstein, tried to arrange a meeting, but Elvis was dragging his feet. In the spring of 1965 things began to perk up for Elvis. His old recording of “Crying in the Chapel” climbed to number 3 on the American charts and number 1 in Great Britain. With the playing field leveled somewhat, Elvis’ attitude began to change. So, the two managers met at Col. Parker’s office in New York, sitting in chairs made from elephant feet, and over pastrami sandwiches and root beer, they reached an agreement. Elvis would meet with the Beatles, but they would have to come to him.
    Elvis was staying in a lavish house that he rented from the Shah of Iran and the Beatles arrived in a rented Cadillac limo. On the way they all shared a few joints and were feeling pretty giggly as they fell out of the back seat like a bunch of cartoon characters, trying to act as sober as possible.
    They were led into the presence of Elvis, who was sitting on a sofa, playing a Fender bass, surrounded by body guards and band members. The television was on with the sound turned down and on the jukebox was “Mohair Sam” by Charlie Rich, and it played over and over, the song of the moment for Elvis.
    The wives and girlfriends of the Elvis’ entourage were trying desperately to hide their excitement at meeting the Beatles.
    The Beatles couldn’t think of a word to say, so they just sat there staring at Elvis until they made him nervous. “Look,” he said, “If you guys are gonna just sit here and stare at me all night. I’m gonna go to bed… Ah’ just thought we’d sit and talk about music and maybe jam a little.”
    John Lennon spoke up and asked if he was ready for his next film. “Ah sure am,” says Elvis. “Ah play a country boy with a guitar who meets a few gals along the way, and ah sing a few songs.” He then broke the ice by laughing.
    Page 2 of 2 - Ringo got up and went in the other room to play a little pool with some of Elvis’ friends and later described them as psychopaths. George scurried off and shared a joint with Elvis’ spiritual leader and hairdresser.
    Meanwhile, guitars were produced for John and Paul, who strummed their way through some of Elvis’ recordings they played back in England. Elvis seemed to bristle a bit when John asked him how come he doesn’t play rock and roll any more, because he loved those old Sun recordings.
    The tense meeting lasted only about two hours and the Beatles were escorted out the door after Col. Parker handed them each a few souvenirs. As they were leaving John shouted, “Long live the King.”
    Reference: “Hello, Goodbye, Hello” by Craig Brown.
    In cooperation with the Examiner, Ted W. Stillwell is available to speak before any club, church, civic, senior, or school groups.
    To reach Ted W. Stillwell, send an email to teddystillwell@yahoo.com or call him at 816-252-9909.
     
     

        calendar