Elvis Presley fans worldwide treat Graceland as a mecca. Even before Presley’s death, the home was a gathering place for fans. They waited for the infamous music gates to open in the hopes of catching a glimpse of their idol. However, one legendary musician didn’t wait for a private invitation inside the home. Graceland’s guards once stopped Bruce Springsteen after he “jumped the wall” and “ran up the driveway” to meet the king of Rock and Roll.
In 1975, Bruce Springsteen made history with ‘Born to Run’
On October 27, 1975, Bruce Springsteen made history by becoming the first rock star to appear on the covers of both Time and Newsweek magazines in the same week. This event was in response to the enormous success of his album Born to Run, released two months earlier.
Peter Ames Carlin’s 2012 biography, Bruce, revealed that each magazine was trying to outsell the other. The publications realized focusing on the New Jersey rocker would help sales and boost interest in their magazines. Time titled their report “Rock’s New Sensation,” while Newsweek promoted Springsteen with “Making of a Rock Star.”
Therefore, Springsteen was rock music’s most recognizable face when he decided to take a trip to Graceland to meet Presley. His fame didn’t help him score a meeting with the king after jumping the Graceland fence to meet his idol.
Bruce Springsteen’s attempt to meet Elvis Presley at Graceland
Springsteen discussed the night he tried to meet his childhood idol during a concert stop to tour his Born in the U.S.A. album. He said he and Steve Van Zandt decided to take a taxi to Presley’s house.
As shared in an audio clip on YouTube, he explained he went to Graceland in the middle of the night. Seeing the lights on, he believed Presley was home. Springsteen said, “I figured that Elvis has to be up readin’ or somethin’, so I told Steve, ‘Steve, man, I gotta go check it out.’ And I jumped over the wall, and I started runnin’ up the driveway,” Springsteen recounted.
“Filled with the enthusiasm of youth, I ran up the driveway. I got to the front door and was just about to knock when guards came out of the woods and asked me what I wanted,” he continued. “I asked, ‘Is Elvis home?’ They said, ‘No, no, Elvis isn’t home. He’s in Lake Tahoe’. So, I started to tell them that I was a guitar player and that I had a band, that we played in town that night, and that I made some records.
“And I even told [the guard] I had my picture on the covers of Time and Newsweek. I had to pull out all the stops to make an impression, you know? I don’t think he believed me, though, ’cause he just kinda stood there noddin’, and then he took me by the arm and put me back out on the street with Steve,” the singer concluded. Springsteen also discussed the memory in a separate YouTube video with Graham Norton.
Did the Boss ever meet the king of Rock and Roll?
Sadly the two men never officially met. On May 28, 1977, Springsteen and bandmate Steve Van Zandt saw Presley’s performance at the Spectrum in Philadelphia.
However, Presley’s performance saddened Springsteen. In his memoir “Born to Run,” the rocker wrote that after the experience, he penned the song “Fire” with the intent of giving it to Presley to record.
Presley died before receiving the demo. The tune was subsequently a 1978 hit for the Pointer Sisters. Robert Gordon and Springsteen himself also recorded it.