How John Lennon Convinced Mick Jagger to Never Meet Elvis Presley
John Lennon, Mick Jagger, and Elvis Presley are three of the most famous rock stars ever, however, they didn’t always have nice things to say about each other. John once convinced Jagger not to meet Presley. Here’s a look at how Jagger ultimately felt about that decision.
The negative things Mick Jagger said about Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry
In an interview on Paul Du Noyer‘s website, Du Noyer asked Jagger if he could name one of his heroes. “There was Elvis, I suppose, though he was so ghastly in other ways and you somehow knew it,” Jagger said. “Plus, he didn’t write, and the other people who were influential, say Chuck Berry, were all writers, who would inspire you to be a writer and influence your style.”
Although Berry influenced Jagger, Jagger still felt disappointed when he met Berry. Why? Jagger recalls Berry being “rude,” “overbearing,” and “oddly cheap.” He said he didn’t idolize Berry as much as Keith Richards did so Richards was much more disappointed when he met Berry. Jagger’s experience with Berry — as well as a conversation with John — convinced him not to meet Presley.
“I never met Elvis either, because John Lennon once told me he was a real disappointment,” Jagger said. “So I said I’d take his advice, because I’d already had it with Chuck Berry and I didn’t want it to happen again with Elvis.”
Jagger had some second thoughts about his decision. “Though now, of course, I wish I had met Elvis, you know what I mean? You never think, ‘Oh he’s gonna die soon, I’d better hurry up and meet him.’ Because in those days he wasn’t very old. If nothing else, you’d still be able to talk about it, wouldn’t you?” Afterward, Jagger said he was glad he met Berry, flaws and all.
What was John Lennon referring to?
In the quote, Jagger discusses John being disappointed in Presley. It appears he was referring to the time Presley met The Beatles at Elvis’ Bel Air mansion in 1965. The meeting was initially awkward, with the Fab Four saying very little to Presley, their idol.
It’s fascinating to think The Beatles could be starstruck by anyone. Supposedly, the atmosphere that night became livelier once The Beatles started playing music with Presley, but John apparently had some negative things to say about the meeting when he discussed Presley with Jagger.
Are The Rolling Stones more acclaimed than Elvis Presley?
So there was a time when Jagger felt Presley would be a disappointment. This raises an interesting question: Who currently has more critical respect — Presley or The Rolling Stones? Rolling Stone released a list of the greatest artists of all time in 2010. The Rolling Stones are in fourth place on the list, behind Presley, Bob Dylan, and The Beatles. Jagger was worried Presley would disappoint him — but Presley didn’t disappoint the critics.
[Correction: An earlier version mistakenly stated Presley met The Beatles at Graceland.]