Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley were both legends in their respective genres. Cash had a few laughs at the King of Rock n’ Roll’s expense with a spot-on impression. Taking a comb, Cash messed up his normally tidy hair and loosened his hips swinging back and forth.
Belting out the beginning lyrics of “Heartbreak Hotel,” Cash is a dead ringer for Presley’s soulful vocals or as he said “a rock n’ roll performer impersonating Presley”. Cash lampooned the singer’s wild motions on stage by pretending to throw out his back instead. He also gave the giggling crowd a burp instead of another verse.
The video continues to entertain people decades after Cash filmed it. Commenters on Youtube appreciated Cash’s comedic timing. “You may be cool but you’ll never be Johnny Cash impersonating Elvis cool,” one user wrote. Another said the performance was ahead of its time. They wrote, “Johnnys sense of humor was way ahead of its time. This is SNL style parody, decades before SNL.”
Another user was impressed by Cash’s hair styling abilities. “It’s pretty impressive how Johnny combed his hair perfectly that quick; pompadours are hard to comb in one try,” they said.
Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley were friends in real life.
According to Cash’s autobiography, Cash met Presley early in their careers in Memphis in 1954. He saw the singer playing from the back of a flatbed truck. The two quickly hit it off and became friends. Presley even invited Cash and his wife to his show at one of the local venues.
They say impression is the sincerest form of flattery. Presley’s music captivated Cash, who appreciated the singer’s talent. In 1956, Cash and Presley recorded an impromptu jam session, along with singers Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. They called it the Million Dollar Quartet.
The two drifted a part as their careers diverged, but Presley would occasionally call Cash in the 1960s and 1970s to wish him luck at his shows.
“I’ve heard it said that here at the end of the century, we all have our own Elvis, and I can appreciate that idea, even though my Elvis was my friend, flesh and blood in real life,” Cash wrote.