When The Beatles paid tribute to their "messiah" with an Elvis Presley cover version
23 June 2023, 09:46 | Updated: 24 July 2023, 14:25
The Beatles and Elvis Presley were widely considered to be rivals.
They had success on a scale nobody had seen before, so it's plenty understandable why the boys from Liverpool and the man from Tupelo, Mississippi would be pitted together.
The artists themselves had a different opinion on the media and public perception of their relationship - in fact, it was quite the opposite.
Paul even once called Elvis the "messiah", later saying on a visit to Graceland in 2013: "There was an advert for 'Heartbreak Hotel'. Elvis looked so great: 'That’s him, that’s him – the Messiah has arrived!'"
John later claimed: "Nothing affected me until I heard Elvis. Without Elvis, there would be no Beatles."
The Fab Four would go on to prove their affection for 'The King of Rock and Roll' in 1963 when they recorded a peppy cover of an Elvis classic for a live studio session in Paris.
I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You)
They'd cover 'I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You)', a 1953 song originally written by Joe Thomas and Howard Biggs which was popularised by Elvis' after it appeared on his self-titled debut album.
One of three Elvis covers The Beatles would record that day for the eighth edition of the Pop Go The Beatles radio show, the track was one that they would perform frequently.
They famously played famously performed 'I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You)' at Hamburg's Star Club during a gig on New Year’s Eve back in 1962, which marked the fifth and final Hamburg residency and the end of that era.
Out of all of the Elvis Presley songs they could've performed, it's surprising they didn't choose 'Heartbreak Hotel' given the reverence they all had for the track, as it was the first song of his which made a huge impression.
The Beatles' bassist and key songwriter Macca later said: "When we heard the song, there was the proof. That was followed by his first album, which I still love the best of all his records."
"It was so fantastic we played it endlessly and tried to learn it all. Everything we did was based on that album."
Lennon also admitted that "when I heard ['Heartbreak Hotel'], it was the end for me. Once I heard it and got into it, that was life, there was no other thing. I thought of nothing else but rock 'n' roll."
Despite the adoration The Beatles had for Elvis, the media claimed that as Beatlemania swept over the US in 1964, 'The King of Rock and Roll' felt threatened by the band's overwhelming and overawing critical and commercial impact.
He'd never stated this in public, and later admitted during his 1968 "comeback special" that the industry changed and he was all for it.
"I like a lot of the new groups, you know, The Beatles and The Byrds and the . . . whoever," he said. "But I really like a lot of the new music."
When Elvis returned to the concert stage the following year after his eight-year absence, he'd even go on to incorporate a handful of their songs into his setlists.
Arguably the most famous performance of Elvis covering The Beatles however was during his Aloha From Hawaii concert in 1973.
He'd covered 'Something', the song written by George Harrison which Harrison himself reportedly inspired Elvis to cover as a bit of a wry response.
After a show the previous year in New York's famed venue Madison Square Garden, George met Elvis and supposedly informed him face-to-face he preferred his earlier work, so Elvis gave George's own song a whirl.
It seems like there wasn't any animosity between the two parties, instead mutual respect from one of the world's greatest performers to another - I guess you shouldn't always believe what you read in the papers.
Elvis Presley - Something (Aloha From Hawaii, Live in Honolulu, 1973)