The two greatest names in rock-and-roll history, Elvis Presley and The Beatles, never really developed any kind of friendship or relationship at all. There were many reasons for this, one of which might have been that as The Fab Four was soaring in popularity and influence over the youth generation, Elvis was already in steep decline.
The Beatles, all of whom worshipped Elvis while they were teenagers in Liverpool (especially John Lennon), always said they sought to match and even surpass the fame of the man from Tupelo.
By 1965, when the Beatles were at the very top of the pop-culture/entertainment world, they did just that.
That was also when they finally met their idol – at the latter’s palatial home in Los Angeles.
However, the first (and perhaps only) meeting between these two vastly different rock legends was apparently quite tense and uneventful.
Although Elvis was only about six or seven years older than the English lads, there was still a chasm -- in culture, attitude, and upbringing -- between them, which made it virtually impossible for them to relate and communicate.
The five men sat in a room while Elvis’ hulking guards (the Memphis Mafia) kept an watchful eye over the proceedings.
Apparently, there was some inane chit-chat between the parties, and no music was played (despite the fact that Elvis was fiddling with a bass guitar for some reason).
The Beatles (particularly Lennon) seemed deflated and disappointed by the encounter – although they remained devoted to Elvis’ early music for the rest of their life.
Elvis’ true opinion of the Beatles (the ones who had usurped his role as rock’s number one attraction) was never made clear. Some reports said that he admired their talent (they wrote their own songs, while he didn’t); while other accounts claim he disliked them and partially blamed them for the drug epidemic among Western youth.
That 1965 meeting seemed to take place at a pivotal time in both of their careers -- The Beatles were months away from recording ‘Rubber Soul’, a marijuana-infused masterpiece that would be their most sophisticated album to date and inspire a cornucopia of thoughtful, literate music on both sides of the Atlantic for years.
Elvis, meanwhile, was sinking deeper into a morass of horrid Hollywood movies and putrid albums that would soon render him irrelevant to the youthful pop culture.