Bruce Springsteen remembered how as a kid watching The King perform on The Ed Sullivan Show back in the Fifties gave him a real passion for music. He remembered, “I couldn’t imagine anyone not wanting to be Elvis Presley” and shortly afterwards his mother rented him a guitar. After The Boss’ first couple of albums in his early twenties didn’t quite reach a huge audience, he would change up his style and hit the big time worldwide with 1975’s Born to Run.
It was during the following year in April while touring Born to Run that Bruce found himself staying in a motel in Tennessee.
Bruce recalled: “Back in ’75… We were down in Memphis, and I remember it was late at night, and I was sittin’ in a motel room with me and my guitar player, Steve. We got a taxi to take us out to Elvis’ house. It took us out there in the middle of the night, and I remember we got outta the cab, and we stood there in front of those gates with the big guitar players on ’em.”
Standing outside, The Boss was thrilled to see that somebody was still awake inside the Graceland mansion.
Bruce said: “When we looked up the driveway, in the second story of the house, you could see a light on, and I figured that Elvis has gotta be up readin’ or somethin’. And I told Steve, I said: ‘Steve, man, I gotta go check it out.’ And I jumped up over the wall and I started runnin’ up the driveway, which when I look back on it now was kind of a stupid thing to do because I hate it when people do it at my house. I was filled with the enthusiasm of youth and ran up the driveway and I got to the front door and I was just about to knock, and guards came out of the woods and they asked me what I wanted.”
Bruce asked the Memphis Mafia guards if Elvis was home, but to his disappointment, they confirmed the star was away in Lake Tahoe.
The Boss explained: “So, I started to tell ’em that I was a guitar player and that I had my own band, and that we played in town that night, and that I made some records. I even told ’em I had my picture on the cover of Time and Newsweek. I had to pull out all the stops to try to make an impression, you know.”
However, this didn’t work on The King’s security and the young singer was escorted off the property.
Bruce added: “I don’t think he believed me, though, ’cause he just kinda stood there noddin’ and then he took me by the arm and put me back out on the street with Steve…Later on, I used to wonder what I would have said if I’d knocked on the door and if Elvis had come to the door because it wasn’t really Elvis I was goin’ to see. But, it was like he came along and whispered some dream in everybody’s ear, and somehow we all dreamed it. And maybe that’s why we’re here tonight, I don’t know.”
During a 1985 concert, The Boss remembered finding out about Elvis’ death on August 17, 1977.
He told the audience: “I remember later, when a friend of mine called to tell me that he’d died, it was so hard to understand how somebody whose music came in and took away so many people’s loneliness and gave so many people a reason and a sense of the possibilities of living could have, in the end, died so tragically. And I guess when you’re alone, you ain’t nothin’ but alone.”