'HE WAS JUST LIKE US ... QUITE NORMAL'
DON SHORT, of the Daily Mirror, reports the historic Beatles-Elvis meetingTHERE was never any reason why the Beatles and Elvis Presley shouldn't meet. Three long years of speculation on what would happen if they came face to face had created an explosive air.
John Lennon remarked in their car on the way down to the American rock-'n'-roll king's fabulous Beverley Hills home (the one he rents for £10,000 a week), "I expect we'll find he's just like one of us."
George Harrison said: "I hope so. Some people are a let down."
Hollywood regarded the encounter between the five giants of the pop business (they've taken some £12 million out of it) as the hottest party piece ever. So did the security men who even checked the Beatles in when their black limousine pulled into the driveway of the Bell-Air mansion home.
Any signs of nerves on the part of Elvis - or the Beatles - were quickly dispelled. There was a quick welcome smile from Elvis and a gag from John Lennon, "Oh, there you are," and the ice was broken.
Sun-bronzed Elvis Presley looked relaxed. He wore a red shirt, black windcheater affair, and grey skin-tight trousers.
Our mob were not quite as elegantly attired. I think Paul managed a tie.
In that large, white-carpeted lounge, the record player blared louder than any other in Hollywood with Beatle songs, Presley songs, and one or two others from rising pop groups.
Along, too, came his manager, and dapper Colonel Tom Parker, and, of course, Brian Epstein, who exchanged their behind-the-scenes secrets of how they struck stardom for their stars.
SCENE ONE was the quiet trio in the corner. Elvis talking with Paul McCartney and John Lennon. "How many hits have you penned now?" inquired Elvis. Paul and John began counting ... "Why don't you go back to your old style of discs?" asked John.
Elvis, who hasn't done a recording session as such for two years, nodded his head. "It's my film schedule. It's so tight, but," he smiled, "I might do just one more for kicks." Cracked John: "Then we'll buy it."
SCENE TWO was at the billiard table where Ringo was engaged with a swarm of young people all willing to be in on the cue. Soon Elvis came over for a game. John joined George at the roulette table.
SCENE THREE. Elvis produces a bass guitar. He's just learning. "You're My World" slips on to the record player. Suddenly out come other guitars from Paul, John and George. If the disc had been cut, it would have been a world best-seller. Elvis plays the bass bit of "I Feel Fine." "Coming along quite promising on bass, Elvis," says Paul encouragingly.
SCENE FOUR. Now the five are all sat down on the settee. Talking about fans and the things fans do. "They were just as bad in your day, man," says Ringo. Elvis nods his head. "There were plenty of thump-ups," says Elvis. "It got so bad one time that I decided to learn karate."
Paul: "Well, that's not happened to us. Maybe they don't like taking on four at a time!"
It's 2.40 on the clock above the giant fireplace. Someone folds back the roulette table into the rather magnificent coffee table. Brian Epstein admires it. There are handshakes among the golden record makers.
As Paul McCartney said later, back at the mountainside villa the Beatles rented for their stay in Hollywood: "The best bit about it all was that there was no big publicity bit. It was just an informal domestic affair. Elvis? Great, man." Ringo agreed: "It was no big showbusiness thing. I mean, he was just like us when it came down to it. Quite normal."
Next morning, well after dawn, Elvis sent a note over to the boys inviting them to his real home in Memphis, Tennessee. "Come any time," he pleaded. And with the note - a big package containing all his old albums.
Melody Maker, 4 September 1965