“Before Elvis, there was nothing.” –John Lennon
If rock and roll had to be summed up in a phrase, it would be the “combination of black and white American music.”
That is why Elvis Presley is considered the King. He took the musical styles of gospel, rhythm and blues, country and pop and combined them all into what is labeled “rock and roll.” On top of that, he had youth, sex appeal and attitude.
Elvis was one-of-a-kind in the sense that very few performers were able to incorporate the two musical cultures into an explosive combination.
Enter the Beatles.
As teenagers, The Beatles, especially John Lennon, were strongly influenced by Elvis Presley. They started wearing their hair slicked back like Elvis. They admired his rebelliousness and his appeal to women, not to mention his musical talent.
“Nothing affected me until I heard Elvis,” John Lennon said. “Without Elvis, there would be no Beatles.”
It all started in April 1956 when Lennon heard Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel” for the first time, shortly after its release in the U.K. in March. “Heartbreak Hotel” seemed to change everything, not just for John Lennon, but also for rock and roll history.
The song had a huge impact on many young British male teenagers. Some would become the next generation of rock stars. Both Paul McCartney and George Harrison have stated how “Heartbreak Hotel” was a big influence on them.
But it was John Lennon who was so greatly impacted by the song and its singer, Elvis Presley, that he decided to start his very own band.
“When I first heard ‘Heartbreak Hotel’… me whole life changed from then on, I was just completely shaken by it,” John Lennon said.
The Beatles got their first break playing in Hamburg, Germany starting in the Fall of 1960. Just earlier that year, Elvis Presley had left Germany after serving two years in the U.S. Army.
In the early days of their live performances, The Beatles frequently sang many rock and roll songs made famous by Elvis Presley. Several of The Beatles’ live performances of these songs were recorded Live at the BBC for The Beatles’ special radio series in the 1960s. One of Presley’s songs that Paul used to sing was “That’s All Right (Mama).”
When Brian Epstein became The Beatles’ manager in December 1961, he was determined that the lads would be “bigger than Elvis.”
Just a few years later, Beatlemania began sweeping the globe as The Beatles conquered America and performed on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964. Ironically, they were asked if they were a bunch of British Elvis Presleys:
Just a week after The Beatles’ debut on The Ed Sullivan Show, Elvis Presley was asked at an event in Long Beach, California what he thought of The Beatles:
“The first time I saw them was on The Ed Sullivan Show and the Colonel and I wished them the best of luck over here,” explained Presley. “Because if these young people can come over here and do well, regardless of what crowd they impress, well more power to them, really.”
Fueled by the media, February 1964 was the start of the perceived rivalry between Elvis and The Beatles. No artist until that time had rivaled Presley in terms of popularity and record sales. Was The King of Rock and Roll threatened by the success of The Fab Four?
On the surface, it appeared not. Only 18 months later, the most infamous rock and roll meeting of all time occurred when Elvis Presley met The Beatles face-to-face on August 27, 1965.
While many stories circulated in later years that the meeting was a flop or that either The Beatles or Elvis were disappointed, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Elvis appeared to have enjoyed himself. He told Sonny West: “[That was] a lot better than I thought it would be. That’s some good times there.”
Also, after The Beatles left that night, Elvis told friend Larry Geller: “I like those guys, I like ‘em, but what the hell’s wrong with their teeth, man?”
But the Beatles relationship with Elvis definitely did not end there. After that meeting (and even before), there were many ways that The Beatles and Elvis Presley connected personally and professionally – enough to fill a book!
Read all the nitty-gritty details about the meeting between Elvis and The Beatles, and their relationship in the years that followed in the new book, ELVIS AND THE BEATLES: Love and Rivalry Between the Two Biggest Acts of the 20th Century by Trina Young.
Learn fascinating facts including:
* Why The Beatles loved Colonel Parker
* The truth about the jam session between Elvis and The Beatles
* Why The Beatles were banned in Memphis
* Elvis vs. The Beatles: Who dissed who first?
* The friendship between Brian Epstein and Colonel Parker
* How The Beatles almost recorded in Memphis
* Which Beatle wanted to be Elvis’ producer
* Why The Beatles did not understand Elvis Presley’s musical passions
* How Colonel Parker helped The Beatles
* Why Elvis was not on the Sgt. Pepper cover
* Muhammad Ali’s link to both
* The secret reporter present when Elvis met The Beatles
* Which Beatle was Presley’s favorite
* How Elvis inspired Sgt. Pepper
* Singer Sophie Tucker’s connection to both
* Presley’s spiritual quest started before The Beatles
* Why Elvis got more to perform on The Ed Sullivan Show
* Which Beatles songs Elvis sang
* How The Beatles inspired Elvis; and
* Who was bigger: Elvis or The Beatles?
By comparing and contrasting the parallel lives, careers and tragedies of Elvis Presley and The Beatles, this book explores like never before the surprising relationship between The King of Rock and Roll and The Fab Four.
The book also chronicles the solo Beatles’ connection to Elvis Presley up until his death in 1977 and also the subsequent relationship between Paul, George, Ringo and Presley’s friends to the present day.
ELVIS AND THE BEATLES is available in Kindle and paperback formats on Amazon.com.
Click here to read a free excerpt: https://amzn.to/2E66xXb
Test your knowledge of The King and The Fab Four:
Take the Elvis Vs. The Beatles QUIZ