The Beatles became one of the biggest and most influential bands of all time, but they couldn’t do it without the inspiration provided by Elvis Presley. In the 1950s in England, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison, the king of rock and roll, were in love. However, during the last years of the star’s life, he changed radically. He gained weight, became dependent on prescription medications and alcohol, and generally washed out. When Harrison saw this for himself, he was devastated.
Before Harrison’s death on November 29, 2001, he looked back on meeting Elvis for the last time. “I met him at Madison Square Garden two years before the end,” he said.
Elvis died on August 16, 1977, due to a heart attack. He was found at his home, Graceland, by his girlfriend at the time, Ginger Alden. His daughter and only child, Lisa Marie Presley, was nearby. He was 42 years old.
Harrison recalled: “He was a little sad really because he had all these vocalists and loud trumpet players and that stuff. But he had a great rhythm section—James Burton and all that gang—and I just wanted to say to him, ‘Just get in your jeans and get on. your guitar and do it [the song] That’s fine with me mama and b***er each other c**p. “
Harrison later spoke angrily about how fame and his desire to please his fans led to Elvis’ death. He mused: “They’ve got lots and lots of songs they could play forever. But what do they want? Blood? They want us all to die like Elvis Presley?” Elvis got stuck in a rut where the only thing he could do was keep doing the same old thing. Eventually his health was affected and that was the case.”
It’s possible that the quiet Beatle was so pissed off at how much he looked down on Elvis. He once spoke candidly about hearing the star’s music for the first time as a child in Liverpool in his book George Harrison on George Harrison: Interviews and Encounters. He said, “When I heard Elvis’ Heartbreak Hotel, I was on my bike passing somebody’s house, and they must have a gramophone playing. I couldn’t believe the sound of that record.”
He later explained what a religious experience it was for him. He even compared it to the music made by the Hindu gods – the religion he was a part of in his later life. “Somehow,” he said. “When I heard Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis coming off someone’s radio when I was a kid on my bike, it’s still the Nai Krishna. The music is still that mysterious voice that says, ‘Come on, come on! ‘” The music of Hare Krishna’s flute had the power to “wake him up”.
Harrison later recalled: “You have to remember that in the 1950s America was much cooler than Britain, everybody had little Chevrolets or Cadillacs. We’re coming out of a world war, and it was depression. So for us, that was like a voice of hope.” “.
He wasn’t the only member of the Beatles to have a strong Elvis veneration.
Lennon also paid tribute to the famous musician. He once said: “Without Elvis, there would be no Beatles.” He later followed this up by saying, “I admire Elvis because it was Elvis who really got me out of Liverpool. If I could pin it on anybody, maybe Elvis, you know.”
He also attributed the awakening of rock and roll to the Heartbreak Hotel. He is quoted: “When I first heard Heartbreak Hotel… my whole life has changed since then. I was totally rocked by it.”