Elvis Presley had a profound influence on The Beatles, who grew up listening to The King as teenagers in 1950s Liverpool. John Lennon went as far as to say that before Elvis “there was nothing” when it came to music for the young people of that era. Famously, the Fab Four ended up having their chance to meet The King for themselves only once back in 1965.
Invited to Elvis’ Los Angeles home on Perugia Way, The Beatles were starstruck to come face-to-face with their idol. Sitting in silent awe, The King broke the ice by saying he’d have to go to bed if they didn’t have a conversation. Legend has it, the five most successful men in music history ended up jamming together and playing pool.
Even though Paul McCartney preferred Elvis in his younger years, the star still looks back fondly on the fact he once had the chance to meet the star, who died in 1977 at just 42.
According to Reverb, during a 1994 interview with guitar writer Tony Bacon, Paul shared which Elvis song made him burst into tears as an adult.
Reflecting back on The King’s 1950s Sun Studio records, Macca said: “Yeah. I heard them this summer – haven’t heard them for years – and I was blown away. I suddenly realised the last time I listened to this thoroughly was before The Beatles, before all that happened to me, and it just stripped it all away. It was like I was a kid playing snooker again and listening. It actually got me crying, pow. Really did it to me.”
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The Elvis song that reduced Paul to tears was I Want You, I Need You, I Love You. The Beatles star said he could remember all the words, singing the lyrics: “Hold me close, hold me tight…”
The now 80-year-old shared: “And my kids were like, Dad, you know all the words to this stuff? You better believe it. And I thought, ‘Well, I once was a kid like this, before all The Beatles thing, and now you live with the whole legacy of The Beatles, and it’s great. You could do a lot worse.’ But you know what I mean? Just the idea of that was fantastic—I was 17 again. Not a bad feeling when you’re 52. Anyway, what do you want to talk about? I’m nattering on here.”
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I Want You, I Need You, I Love You was written by Maurice Mysels and Ira Kosloff and was Elvis’ seventh single to release on the RCA Victor label. The track hit the charts in May 1956 and was The King’s second No 1 single in the country music charts, peaking at No 3 on the US Billboard Top 100.
Elvis had to record the single between his busy touring commitments, so he and his band chartered a small plane to Nashville in a journey that saw engine trouble, which traumatised the musicians.
This led to a bad recording session of 17 takes across three hours with an unrelaxed trio. In the end, two takes were cut and spliced together into the one that was released as a single.