For Millennials. By Millennials.

When Elvis Presley Tried To Get The Beatles Banned

When Elvis Presley Tried To Get The Beatles Banned

We look back at the time when 'The King' Elvis Presley tried to have the Beatles banned from the US with the help of President Richard Nixon and the FBI.

Few artists ever reached the levels of popularity that Elvis Presley did. He was called the King for a reason, however, there were contenders to his thrones. In fact, one group of those contenders might have even superseded him in that matter. They were none other than the Beatles. And the King did not take that kindly, so much so that he tried to have them banned in the US!

Elvis meets Nixon and rambles on about The Beatles

When Elvis Presley Tried To Get The Beatles Banned
Wikimedia Commons

The first instance of Elvis’s feelings towards the Beatles comes from his meeting with the then US President, Richard Nixon on December 21, 1970. According to the National Archives, Elvis sounded even more paranoid than Nixon. And that’s saying something, considering how paranoid Nixon was over his political rivals and even allies (*Watergate*). But, Elvis Presley really takes the cake in that department when he had this to say about the Beatles:

The Beatles had been a real force for anti-American spirit. The Beatles came to this country, made their money, and then returned to England where they promoted an anti-American theme.

After hearing this from the King, Nixon nodded but did express his surprise over these comments. Who wouldn’t after all? But, that wasn’t the end of Elvis Presley’s attempts to ban the Beatles. He even went to the FBI!

The King goes to the FBI

Elvis’s distaste of the Beatles didn’t just end with his trip to the White House. During his tour to FBI Offices, the records say that he had a lot of praise for J. Edgar Hoover. However, soon after he followed with his ‘idea’ of the Beatles’ influence on young Americans.

The Beatles laid the groundwork for many of the problems we are having with young people by their filthy unkempt appearances and suggestive music.

However, half a decade ago, no one could have thought that Elvis tried to have the Beatles banned a while back when the two met in Hollywood.

When the Beatles met the King

When Elvis Presley Tried To Get The Beatles Banned 2

A few years earlier, on August 27, 1965, the Beatles visited Elvis Presley’s home in Beverly Hills. However, this meeting pretty much demonstrates how cold their relationship was as a whole. For their entire lives, the fab four had always idolized Elvis, but he didn’t share the same feelings for them as they did for him. Paul McCartney himself said in an interview that:

The sad thing was we kind of knocked him off his perch. We didn’t mean to, you know. He was the star and we became the stars and kind of, his era sort of ended, you know. We never liked that.

However, for the Beatles, they were just getting to meet their idols. But, there is a dispute among the four as to who greeted them on the door. This is because Paul says that Elvis opened the door for them, while Ringo Starr says that he was sitting on the couch. Moreover, reports say that there was a Jam session between them as well. But, chances are that the meeting was a bit tense, just like their relationship. As Paul recalls that he criticized Elvis for his music in the 60s:

Yeah, well of course, since when I was 16, I’ve loved his records. We used to do a lot of his songs until we started doing our own … but I don’t like the new stuff half as much – we told him that last night.

One rises, the other falls

Little did they know that half a decade later, Elvis Presley tried to have the Beatles banned from the US altogether. After that George Harrison also met the King again, at a concert backstage. For George, Elvis was so glamorous that he thought he was meeting “Vishnu or Krishna or something”. When John Lennon met him with the band, he was in love with his sideburns. Maybe that’s why he kept them in the latter half of the band’s history.

But, Elvis’s meetings kind of entails his thoughts about the band. Other than the fact that their rise followed his fall, there seemed to be a cultural clash too. And that might be the reason that their relationship completely broke down in just 5 years.