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February 26, 2021

The Only Known Photos of The Beatles Meeting Elvis Presley on August 27, 1965

The most infamous rock and roll meeting of all time occurred when Elvis Presley met The Beatles on August 27, 1965. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr along with their manager Brian Epstein, publicist and assistants came to Presley’s house at 525 Perugia Way in Los Angeles (Bel Air) to meet their rock and roll idol.

The Beatles were the ones who pushed for the meeting. After all, it was Elvis who was one of the main influences for John Lennon to start the band. “Without Elvis, there would be no Beatles,” Lennon famously remarked in later years.

During their concert tour in the summer of 1964, The Beatles tried to arrange a meeting with Elvis, but they could never coordinate their schedules. Instead, manager Colonel Parker visited with The Beatles and gave them gifts of Elvis souvenirs.

Finally, in August 1965, the stars seemed to align since The Beatles were in L.A. for their concert at The Hollywood Bowl and Elvis was in L.A. having just returned from Hawaii where he was filming Paradise Hawaiian Style.

Elvis’ friend and confidante Jerry Schilling was there on the night, and revealed it started with an awkward silence: “It was a little strange right in the beginning. Elvis didn’t usually have entertainers at his house. At the time, The Beatles were at the top of their career. Elvis sits down on the couch and the guys didn’t know what to say. He said to them, ‘If you’re going to sit here all night staring at me I’m going to bed.’ They laughed and that broke the ice. It was an exciting night.”

PAUL: So although we tried many times [to meet Elvis], Colonel Tom [Parker, his manager] would just show up with a few souvenirs, and that would have to do us for a while. We didn’t feel brushed off we felt we deserved to be brushed off. After all, he was Elvis, and who were we to dare to want to meet him? But we finally received an invitation to go round and see him when he was making a film in Hollywood.

JOHN: We were always in the wrong place at the wrong time to meet him, and we would have just gone round or something, but there was a whole lot of palaver about where we were going and how many people should go and everything, with the managers, Colonel Tom and Brian [Epstein], working everything out.

GEORGE HARRISON: Meeting Elvis was one of the high-lights of the tour. It was funny, because by the time we got near his house we’d forgotten where we were going. We were in a Cadillac limousine, going round and round along Mulholland, and we’d had a couple of “cups of tea” in the back of the car. It didn’t really matter where we were going – it’s like the comedian Lord Buckley says, “We go into a native village and take a couple of peyote buds, we might not find out where we is, but we’ll sure find out who we is.”

Anyway, we were just having fun, we were all in hysterics. (We laughed a lot. That’s one thing we forgot about for a few years - laughing. When we went through all the lawsuits, it looked as if everything was bleak, but when I think back to before that, I remember we used to laugh all the time.) We pulled up at some big gates and someone said, “Oh yeah, we’re going to see Elvis,” and we all fell out of the car laughing, trying to pretend we weren’t silly: just like a Beatles cartoon.

JOHN: It was very exciting, we were all nervous as hell, and we met him in his big house in L.A. - probably as big as the one we were staying in, hut it still felt like “big house, big Elvis.” He had lots of guys around him, all these guys that used to live near him (like we did from Liverpool; we always had thousands of Liverpool people around us, so I guess he was the same). And he had pool tables! Maybe a lot of American houses are like that, but it seemed amazing to us. It was like a nightclub.

RINGO: I was pretty excited about it all, and we were lucky because it was the four of us and we had each other to be with. The house was very big and dark. We walked in, and Elvis was sitting down on a settee in front of the TV. He was playing a bass guitar, which even to this day I find very strange. He had all his guys around him, and we said, “Hi, Elvis.” He was pretty shy, and we were a little shy, but between the five of us we kept it rolling. I felt I was more thrilled to meet him than he was to meet me.

PAUL: He showed us in, and he was great. I mean it was Elvis. He just looked like Elvis-we were all major fans, so it was hero worship of a high degree. He said, “Hello, lads - do you want a drink?” We sat down, and we were watching telly, and he had the first remote switcher any of us had ever seen. You just aimed it at the telly and – wow! That’s Elvis! He was playing [Charlie Rich’s] “Mohair Sam” all evening – he had it on a jukebox.

JOHN: It was nice meeting Elvis. He was just Elvis, you know? He seemed normal to us, and we were asking about his making movies and not doing any personal appearances or TV. I think he enjoys making movies so much. We couldn’t stand not doing personal appearances, we’d get bored – we get bored quickly. He says he misses it a bit.

We never talked about anything [else] – we just played music. He wasn’t bigger than us, but he was “the thing.” He just wasn’t articulate, that’s all.

PAUL: These were great times, so even if you didn’t enjoy all of the events that much, you could still go home to Liverpool and say, “Well, you know who I met?” I mean, to meet Elvis, or anybody like that, or to say you’ve been to Sunset Strip – it was very impressive.”

The meeting was not publicized and there were no recordings and unfortunately no professional photos taken. It has been speculated that the Colonel let it be known to some though because there were fans outside the gates. It is said these photographs were taken by a fan from an adjacent tree somewhere between 2:30 and 3:30 AM.

The Beatles leaving Elvis’ house in Bel Air, CA – Aug. 27, 1965. The photo shows John (in white pants), George (far right) and Elvis (left corner).

Elvis walking alongside the limo. Inside limo: Paul, Ringo and Brian Epstein.

The Beatles’ driver Alf Bicknell walking past reporters towards second limousine that carries George and John.

Flanked by his girlfriend Priscilla and friends, Elvis bids the Beatles a friendly goodbye. Back Row: Elvis, Alveena the maid, Patsy Lacker. Front row: Chris Hutchins, Priscilla (pink and white). Jo Fortas (red pants) and Jo Smith.


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