Like John Lennon who had a healthy obsession for Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney had his own epiphany about The King of Rock and Roll in 1956 and started playing the guitar.
“I started to see pictures of Elvis, and that started to pull me away from the academic path,” McCartney recalled. “‘You should see these photos…’ Then you’d hear the records – ‘but wait a minute, this is very good!’ – and then the tingles started going up and down your spine, ‘Oh, this is something altogether different.’ And so the academic things were forgotten.”
The two biggest artists of the 20th century are still making their mark well into the 21st century. Elvis Presley and The Beatles both made Nielsen Music’s list of the Top 10 artists of the past decade (2010-2019) for album sales. They were the only non-contemporary artists who made the Top 10.
The most infamous rock and roll meeting of all time occurred when Elvis Presley met The Beatles. On August 27, 1965, John, Paul, George and Ringo along with their manager, publicist and assistants came to Presley’s house on Perugia Way in Los Angeles to meet their rock and roll idol.
The Beatles were the ones who pushed for the meeting. After all, it was Elvis who was one of the main influences for John Lennon to start the band. “Without Elvis, there would be no Beatles,” Lennon famously remarked in later years.
Surprisingly, inflation did not play a role in the fee The Beatles were paid for performing on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964. When compared to the amount Elvis Presley was paid, $50,000 for three performances in late 1956/early 1957, The Beatles worked for peanuts, a measly $10,000 for three shows.
The fact is The Beatles were paid five times less than The King of Rock and Roll for the same number of appearances eight years later. Was it simply due to the superior management skills of Elvis’ manager, Colonel Tom Parker, compared to The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, or were additional circumstances at play?
It’s no secret that John Lennon was a huge fan of Elvis Presley when he was a teenager. Lennon formed his first band, The Quarrymen, which would later become The Beatles, as a result of his love for Elvis Presley and rock and roll.
“Without Elvis, there would be no Beatles,” John Lennon stated matter-of-factly in a 1980 interview.
But Lennon’s teenage love for Elvis didn’t stop when he became an adult. In fact, throughout his life, even though he criticized Presley in his later years, Lennon never stopped being a fan. Just like any other passionate music fan, Lennon had a lifelong obsession for The King of Rock and Roll.