Priscilla Presley Once Refused to Join the Elvis Fan Club
Priscilla Beaulieu (eventually, Priscilla Presley) was immediately taken with Elvis Presley when they met in the fall of 1959. She was just 14 years old at the time; he was 24 and serving in the U.S. military in Germany.
The attraction between Elvis and Priscilla was intense from the start – resulting in an international move for Priscilla, who lived at Graceland for part of her senior year of high school. Eventually, Priscilla and Elvis married in 1967 and had one daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, just nine months later. The couple divorced in 1973.
Despite their long-term love story that bloomed over many years, Priscilla and Elvis might not have seemed well-matched at first. In fact, Priscilla revealed in Elvis and the Presleys: Intimate Stories from Priscilla Presley, Lisa Marie Presley, and Other Family Members (edited by David Ritz) that she wouldn’t even join Elvis’s fan club as a young teen.
Elvis Presley’s future wife first listened to ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ as a preteen
Priscilla was just 12 years old when she first became acquainted with Elvis’s music in the mid-1950s. His early hits, like “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Blue Suede Shoes” (especially the latter), impressed her. Still, she wasn’t too acquainted with rock and roll or rockabilly, which were starting to gather steam in the American music scene.
Her stepfather, Captain Paul Beaulieu, recalled buying Elvis’s record for his daughter on a whim on his Air Force base in Austin, Texas. In Elvis by the Presleys, he said it was just something he thought kids of “her generation” might like to listen to. At the time, Elvis wasn’t yet a household name.
“I liked the music, I loved ‘Blue Suede Shoes,’ but I was hardly fanatic,” Priscilla recalled.
Priscilla Presley’s parents didn’t allow her to watch Elvis Presley on TV
Still, Priscilla wanted to watch Elvis’s performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. But her parents weren’t too keen, thinking his shaking hips might be a little too much for their young daughter.
“We had reservations about Priscilla watching that show,” her mother, Ann Beaulieu, said in Elvis by the Presleys. “This was 1956, when our world was quite conservative. I can’t say I had a high opinion of this rock and roll.”
Captain Beaulieu wholeheartedly agreed with his wife, adding that they didn’t just discourage Priscilla from watching the man who eventually became her husband on TV – they forbade her. “We sent her to her room,” he said.
But Priscilla couldn’t keep her eyes off the television set completely. Elvis was a “thrilling performer” by any measure, and she just had to see the show. So she cracked open her bedroom door to watch any part of the performance she could.
“Forbidden fruit is that much sweeter,” Priscilla offered by way of explanation.
She thought Elvis’s fan club was ‘too risqué’
Still, Priscilla was a sheltered and somewhat reserved young girl. The intensity of her classmates’ fanaticism about Elvis sometimes made her uncomfortable.
“I was a 12-year-old kid, skinny and shy, who didn’t want to be part of the Elvis mania,” she said in Elvis by the Presleys. “In fact, I refused to join the Elvis fan club – admission 25 cents – when I learned that one member had asked Elvis to autograph her breast. In my preteen mind, that was too risqué.”
As fate and luck would have it, however, Priscilla’s stepfather was soon transferred to West Germany. It was there that Elvis and Priscilla would meet in person for the first time and begin their romance of many years.