The Elvis Song The Beatles Hated: ‘The Song’s a Load of Rubbish’
Elvis Presley and The Beatles were some of the biggest stars of their time. But they had an interesting relationship. In 1963, the English rock band was asked on Juke Box Jury their thoughts on Presley’s “Kiss Me Quick.” Nobody was a fan. Here’s what John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr had to say, and more on their relationship with the King.
The Beatles were not fans of ‘Kiss Me Quick’
Presley first released “Kiss Me Quick” in 1962 on Pot Luck with Elvis. Then, the following year, it was released in the UK as a single (it came to the U.S. in 1964). When The Beatles were on Juke Box Jury, they were asked what they thought of the song.
“The only thing I don’t like about Elvis is the songs,” said Paul McCartney, as recorded in the book George Harrison on George Harrison. “You know, I love his voice. I used to love all the records like ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ and ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ — lovely. But I don’t like the songs now. And ‘Kiss Me Quick,’ it sounds like Blackpool on a sunny day.”
Ringo Starr agreed: “I don’t like it at all, no.”
George Harrison also had to admit he “didn’t like it very much.”
“Not at all,” he said. “It’s an old track. And I think, seeing as they’re releasing old stuff, if they release something like ‘My Baby Left Me,’ it’d be number one because Elvis is definitely still popular. It’s just the song’s a load of rubbish. I mean, Elvis is great. He’s fine. But it’s not for me.”
“Well, I think it’ll be a hit because it’s Elvis, like people said,” chimed in John Lennon. “But I don’t think it’ll be very great. [Clownish voice] I like those hats, though, with ‘Kiss Me Quick’ on it!”
When Elvis Presley met The Beatles
There’s only one meeting between the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and The Beatles that’s ever been spoken of, but it was not photographed nor recorded. According to BBC, the meeting took place in Presley’s Beverly Hills mansion on Aug. 27, 1965.
“As the two teams faced one another, there was a weird silence and it was John who spoke first, rather awkwardly blurting out a stream of questions at Elvis, saying: ‘Why do you do all these soft-centred ballads for the cinema these days? What happened to good old rock ‘n’ roll?'” said Tony Barrow, The Beatles’ press officer between 1962 and 1968.
By Barrow’s account, the evening continued with an awkward air until Presley brought out instruments for the Fab Four.
“The boys found that they could make much better conversation with their guitars than they could with their spoken word,” he said. “Music was their natural meeting point, their most intelligent means of communication.”
The night ended when Presley’s manager, Colonel Parker, decided it was time for everyone to go home.
“I remember, as we went out to our limousines, John put on his Adolf Hitler accent and shouted: ‘Long live ze king,'” said Barrow. “Also, John said, as we got into our limousines: ‘Elvis was stoned.’ George Harrison responded very quietly: ‘Aren’t we all?'”
When Elvis Presley met Richard Nixon, he said The Beatles were ‘anti-American’
Their meeting in 1965 was reportedly the only one of its kind. Five years later, in 1970, when Presley famously met Richard Nixon, he made a point to speak ill of the band.
“The Beatles had been a real force for anti-American spirit,” said Presley, reports Vox. “The Beatles came to this country, made their money, and then returned to England where they promoted an anti-American theme.”
Then, in 1971, Presley reportedly spoke poorly about the band yet again to the FBI. He told J. Edgar Hoover that “The Beatles laid the groundwork for many of the problems we are having with young people by their filthy unkempt appearances and suggestive music.”
From The Beatles’ initial comments about Presley’s songs, to the awkward jam session, to the King’s remarks about the band to Nixon and Hoover, it’s safe to say the iconic musicians had a strained relationship at best.