The Beatles and the King of Rock n’ Roll are in rare company. They top the list as two of the highest-selling artists ever. And with Elvis Presley hitting the scene nearly 10 years before John, Paul, George, and Ringo united, it’s no wonder that The Beatles looked up to him in a major way.
If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, all three parts of Peter Jackson’s new docuseries, The Beatles: Get Back, are available on Disney+. If the first part is any indication, you Outsiders are going to love watching the iconic rock band navigate the process of putting together their final album.
The first few hours of edited and remastered studio session footage are entertaining the whole way through. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t touch on Paul McCartney’s spot-on impression of the King himself. And for how hilarious it was, don’t make the mistake of thinking McCartney was mocking Elvis Presley.
Paul McCartney has gone on record stating that without Elvis, there’d be no Beatles. It’s safe to say the King was a major influence. And during the Let It Be record-making process, that influence was on full display. In an effort to get the creative juices flowing, McCartney busted out his best impression.
“Well, any old time of day. All you wanna hear me say, it’s crazy baby, it’s crazy, yeah,” McCartney sang.
Hearing the impression, Mal Evans, a personal assistant, pointed out that Elvis Presley’s had just turned 34 the day before. McCartney perked up, offering some deferential words in honor of the American rockstar’s birthday.
“God bless our gracious King!” McCartney continued. That’s when John Lennon added, “I seem to be catching up to him!”
The Beatles Only Met Their ‘Gracious King’ Once
Given the sheer impact Elvis Presley and The Beatles had on the world during their overlapping eras, one would think they’d have spent a fair amount of time together. In reality, however, they reportedly met only once.
There are differing accounts of what happened on that fateful night in Memphis. According to a BBC article citing the first-hand account of The Beatles press officer Tony Barrow, the initial moments shared between the Memphis Mafia and The Beatles were a bit awkward. But that wouldn’t last.
“But Elvis suddenly plugged the gap by calling for some guitars to be handed out to John, Paul, and George, and a piano was hauled into view. Up to that point, the party really had been a bit lifeless and unexciting. But as soon as Presley and The Beatles began to play together, the atmosphere livened up,” Barrow recalled.
They were musicians, after all. Better to let their instruments do the conversating for them.