In the early-1960s The Beatles had begun their worldwide takeover. By 1963 the band had released their debut album Please Please Me, catapulting them to the number one spot in the UK. Once their fame had made them a household name, they began appearing on television regularly, and on December 7, 1963, The Beatles featured on Juke Box Jury, a TV show that had stars giving their verdicts on new music. And this particular week Elvis Presley was in the crosshairs.
At the time Elvis had released his single Kiss Me Quick in the UK. The song was originally from the 1962 album Pot Luck with Elvis, but the single release shot the song to number one in the UK charts for eight weeks. Despite this, the Fab Four were not fans of the pop track.
When asked about their opinion on Kiss Me Quick, Ringo Starr replied: “I didn’t like it at all, no.”
Paul McCartney responded: “The only thing I don’t like about Elvis is the songs. You know, I love his voice. I used to love all the records like Blue Suede Shoes and Heartbreak Hotel – lovely. But I don’t like the songs now.” He added: “And Kiss Me Quick… it sounds like Blackpool on a sunny day.”
John Lennon – famously a devout follower of Elvis – was also not too pleased with the track either. He said: “Well, I think it’ll be a hit because it’s Elvis, like people said. But I don’t think it’ll be very great.” He added with a joke: “O like those hats, though, with Kiss Me Quick on it!”
But it was George Harrison who was the harshest of all.
In fact, Lennon once said of Elvis: “When I first heard Heartbreak Hotel… me whole life changed from then on, I was just completely shaken by it.” Years later, he added: “There’s only one person in the United States we ever wanted to meet. We just idolised him so much. The only person we wanted to meet in the USA was Elvis Presley.”
He even put the birth of The Beatles down to Elvis’ music. He said in 1980, just three years after the star’s death: “Without Elvis, there would be no Beatles.”
When Elvis did meet The Beatles, however, it didn’t go too well. Lennon reportedly angered Elvis by pointing out he didn’t agree with his pro-Vietnam War opinion.
Beatles author Chris Hutchins recalled: “John had annoyed Presley by making his anti-war feelings known the moment he stepped into the massive lounge and spotted the table lamps — model wagons engraved with the message: ‘All the way with LBJ,'” LBJ being an abbreviated title of President Lyndon B Johnson, who aggravated the Vietnam War.
McCartney, on the other hand, said: “It was one of the great meetings of my life. I think he liked us. I think at that time, he may have felt a little bit threatened, but he didn’t say anything. We certainly didn’t feel any antagonism.”