Skip to main content

Quentin Tarantino has some great things to say about Elvis Presley — in addition to some very negative things. Tarantino really connected to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s voice, however, he hates an era of the King’s career. Here’s a look at what Tarantino had to say about his favorite Elvis album of all time.

Quentin Tarantino in a suit
Quentin Tarantino | Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images

How Elvis went from making gritty music to being a polished Las Vegas performer

Firstly, a little background. Elvis began his career releasing rockabilly songs on Sun Records like “That’s All Right” and “Baby, Let’s Play House.” These songs weren’t very polished. In the 1960s, he released many smooth pop songs like “Return to Sender” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Some love Elvis’ various eras, however, some fans vastly prefer his early work. 

The New York Times reports the King first performed in Las Vegas in 1956. He hadn’t even appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show at that point. However, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports he didn’t perform his first residency there until 1969. Some love the music from this last stretch of his career but others feel he was no longer making great music by that time.

“Return to Sender”

Quentin Tarantino loves the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s voice but hates some of his music

In an interview with Uncut, Tarantino discussed both Elvis’ rockabilly period and his Las Vegas period. He deemed The Sun Sessions, a compilation of Elvis recordings from his early years, one of his favorite albums ever. “This has been a hugely important album to me,” Tarantino revealed. “I was always a big rockability fan and a big Elvis fan, and to me this album is the purest expression of Elvis there was. Sure, there are better individual songs – but no one collection ever touched the album.”

In addition, Tarantino discussed his varied impressions of the King’s work. “When I was young, I used to think Elvis was the voice of truth,” Tarantino recalled. “I don’t know what that means, but his voice… sh*t man, it sounded so f*cking pure. If you grew up loving Elvis, this is it. Forget the Vegas period: if you really love Elvis, you’re ashamed of that man in Vegas. You feel like he let you down. The hillbilly cat never let you down.”

“That’s All Right”

The Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten Attacked Elvis Presley and His Fans

How Quentin Tarantino paid tribute to Elvis Presley in his films

This interview isn’t the only connection between Tarantino and the King. Some of Tarantino’s films include discussions of Elvis. For example, Uma Thurman’s character in Pulp Fiction says people can love Elvis and The Beatles but no one can like both equally. She deems John Travolta’s character an “Elvis man.” In addition, Tarantino’s unfinished film My Best Friend’s Birthday includes a scene where a character played by Tarantino himself says that, while he’s heterosexual, he finds the King more attractive than any other man. Tarantino may not like all the King’s songs, however, he certainly paid tribute to him in his movies.