The Beatles meet Elvis

On August 27th 1965, musical titans Elvis Presley and the Beatles met for the first time. The Beatles were renting a house in Beverly Hills, California; a mansion owned by Zsa Zsa Gabor, the Hungarian-born American actress and socialite.

The band were enjoying a few days off from their 1965 American tour and out of the blue got an invitation to see the King. They had tried unsuccessfully to meet Elvis before, but their patience paid off and the day finally arrived. 

Elvis was staying at his mansion at 565 Perugia Way, Bel Air and in the middle of filming in Hollywood at the time. The Beatles could only meet Elvis if they abided by certain rules: no members of the press were allowed to be invited, no pictures taken and no recordings made.

The Beatles drove over to meet their idol at 10pm that night, in one of three black limousines led by Colonel Tom Parker. When they pulled up at the mansion members of the famous Memphis Mafiawere guarding the gates, but the Beatles were waved on through without a fuss.

When they first met Presley he was watching TV and strumming on a bass guitar. The atmosphere was tense at first, with little or no conversation; until Elvis eventually uttered if you damn guys are gonna sit here and stare at me all night I'm gonna go to bed. This seemed to break the ice and Elvis called for guitars to be brought out.

Something that should have been recorded, wasn't; Elvis Presley jamming with the Beatles. According to the Beatles' press officer Tony Barrow they played I Feel Fine and You're My World, a song recorded by Cilla Black in 1964. Ringo had no instrument so he tapped the beats out with his hands on the furniture.

Despite the initial awkwardness, the Beatles described meeting Elvis Presley as one of the highlights of their US Tour of 1965.

Elvis Presley and the Beatles, 1965. 

Elvis Presley and the Beatles, 1965. 

image.jpg
"It was very exciting, we were all nervous as hell, and we met him in his big house in LA - probably as big as the one we were staying in, but it still felt like, 'Big house, big Elvis.' He had lots of guys around him, all these guys that used to live near him (like we did from Liverpool; we always had thousands of Liverpool people around us, so I guess he was the same). And he had pool tables! Maybe a lot of American houses are like that, but it seemed amazing to us; it was like a nightclub."

John Lennon

image.jpg
"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."

Paul McCartney

image.jpg
"Meeting Elvis was one of the highlights of the tour. It was funny, because by the time we got near his house we'd forgotten where we were going. We were in a Cadillac limousine, going round and round along Mulholland, and we'd had a couple of 'cups of tea' in the back of the car.
Anyway, we were just having fun, we were all in hysterics. (We laughed a lot. That's one thing we forgot about for a few years - laughing. When we went through all the lawsuits, it looked as if everything was bleak; but when I think back to before that, I remember we used to laugh all the time.) We pulled up at some big gates and someone said, 'Oh yeah, we're going to see Elvis,' and we all fell out of the car laughing, trying to pretend we weren't silly: just like a Beatles cartoon"

George Harrison