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Brian Quinn
12-21-2010, 01:13 PM
“Who the Hell’s limousine is that?”

On a late July evening in 1974, that was Elvis Presley’s reaction to the sight of a long, black limo parked in front of the General Cinema in Memphis--one of Elvis’s favorite spots for personal midnight movie screenings. The limo happened to belong to another superstar rocker who had made a special pilgrimage to meet Elvis. It was up to Jerry Schilling, one of Elvis’s Memphis Mafia entourage, to remind the King that he had consented to such a visit.

“I think it’s probably Eric’s, E,” said Schilling.

“Who’s Eric?” Presley asked.

“Eric Clapton. You said he could come by to say hello, remember?”

“Well, fine. We just don’t need a ****ed limousine parked in front of the theater.”

Elvis didn’t normally have anything against limousines, and usually didn’t mind being the center of attention when out in public, but the movie theater was one place where he preferred to keep things low-key and extremely private. Guests had to be invited or cleared by Elvis himself, and were expected to follow a fairly rigid protocol inside the theater. You didn’t sit anywhere in the 12th row center area--that was for Elvis and those he chose to sit near him. And, once a movie started, you shut up--Elvis was a film buff who really did want to see everything he screened over there.

On that particular night, Elvis looked more like a rancher than a rock star. After a spring of heavy touring, Elvis was back in Memphis for a while, and was taking the time to enjoy some down home pleasures. That day, he had driven south to some Mississippi horse farms with Schilling and Myrna Smith, a member of Elvis’s vocal backing group the Sweet Inspirations and Schilling’s longtime girlfriend. The three came back straight to the theater without a stop at Graceland, and Elvis, at the wheel of his favorite pickup truck, was in leather boots, cowboy hat, and his somewhat upscale version of Western wear.

“I remember being really worried that the sight of the limousine might darken Elvis’s mood and ruin the meeting with Eric,” says Schilling. “Elvis wasn’t seeing a lot of people up at Graceland at that time, and it was kind of a big deal when he agreed to be introduced to somebody new. We wanted everything to go just right.”

The chance for a great summit meeting seemed to diminish when Elvis walked into the theater and saw that Clapton and his companion, Pattie Harrison (George’s ex) were sitting about 12th row center--right in Elvis’s seats.

“That was like rubbing salt in an open cut,” laughs Schilling. “I didn’t know what was going to happen.”

Schilling had been instrumental in setting up the meeting. Clapton was on tour, and enjoying a new resurgence in popularity with the chart-topping success of his cover of Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff.” He had a concert scheduled at Memphis’s Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, but had a rare night off and wanted to do anything he could to meet Elvis. Weeks before Clapton’s arrival in town, Schilling had been contacted by Richard Cole, a tour manager who’d become a near legendary figure for the wild adventures he’d been at the center of while on the road with Led Zeppelin. Cole had made Schilling a VIP guest at some Zeppelin shows, and was hoping Schilling could return the favor by arranging for an Elvis and Clapton face-to-face.

Elvis had been open, if not particularly enthusiastic about the meeting. But now, between the showy limo and the seating faux pas, Schilling wondered if things were about to get ugly.

“Eric got up and came over to us and I made the introductions,” recalls Schilling. “And right away he was just such the perfect British gentleman, making it really clear how much respect he had for Elvis. Hearing that, Elvis became a relaxed and charming host, and the two fell into a really nice, friendly conversation. We’d all gotten used to thinking of Elvis as a great talent, but I remember being struck that day again at how much he meant to other great musicians.”

The idea had been for the two stars just to have a moment to meet, but they got along well enough that Elvis asked if Eric and Pattie would like to stay and watch that night’s movie. The couple gladly accepted the invitation (there’s no record of what got screened that particular night, but Schilling remembers that Jaws, Godfather II, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail were particular favorites of Presley’s that summer). As everybody took their seats, Elvis asked Schilling to come with him to the bathroom.

“When we were alone in there,” says Schilling, “He turned to me and said, ‘You know Jerry, that Eric is all right.”

The next day, Schilling and Myrna Smith rode to the Liberty Bowl concert with Clapton and Harrison, in the same limo that had made Schilling a nervous man the night before. Schilling and Smith were VIP guests at the concert (at which the opening band was Lynyrd Skynyrd) and then said their goodbyes to Clapton, Harrison and Cole after the show.

Clapton and Elvis never crossed paths again, but Schilling saw the guitarist many years later at a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

“I went up to him and started to reintroduce myself,” Schilling recalls. “He stopped me and said, ‘I know you, Jerry. You introduced me to Elvis.’ I asked him if he’d like me to introduce him to Scotty Moore, who was being inducted that year. His eyes lit up and he said, ‘Where is he?’ So I got to make that introduction too.”

Brian :D

monk37
12-21-2010, 01:28 PM
it's fun to hear stories of celebs being fans

it humanizes them

Ematt
12-21-2010, 05:27 PM
Has Clapton ever spoken meeting Elvis?

Tigerman1975
12-21-2010, 05:36 PM
Thats always a cool story to read. Clapton has never forgot where his roots are at. From BB King to Robert Johnson to Elvis, he has always shown respect as far as I can tell. Of course these days he is a legendary rock god in his own right and commands his own respect.

Enikő Lugosi
12-21-2010, 08:14 PM
Eric Clapton is bisexual.

Unchained Melody
12-21-2010, 09:01 PM
Eric Clapton is bisexual.

Was this really necessary?

Thanks for the story Brian!

Raised on Rock
12-22-2010, 02:56 AM
I remember reading at the David Stanley enciclopedia that at one point during their conversation, Elvis told (in a good way but probably unaware about what a great bluesman Clapton was) that he should meet with James Burton as he could pass to him some good blues licks. Jerry was concerned that Eric would took that in a bad way and bringed that up latter when he was alone with Clapton, only to be surprised with Clapton's comment about that: are you kidding? I would be honored if I ever got to play with James Burton and Elvis.

Thanks for sharing this story Brian. Thumbs up!

Raised on Rock
12-22-2010, 03:26 AM
Has Clapton ever spoken meeting Elvis?

Don't know if Eric has ever told that story, but once he stated this:

...when he (Elvis) sang black music in white style... (He) ...tought the world something about true originality.

Tigerman1975
12-22-2010, 01:53 PM
Don't know if Eric has ever told that story, but once he stated this:

...when he (Elvis) sang black music in white style... (He) ...tought the world something about true originality.

Eric sure got that right.

lightcloud
12-22-2010, 03:01 PM
Eric Clapton is bisexual. Is that first-hand experience?

Great story Brian but I find it amusing all the things Jerry (and the other guys) had to think about when working with Elvis - always having to judge his mood, making sure he is not upset or annoyed in any way - what pressure! I'm sure they've got some good memories but its not a job I would want to do.

hounddog
12-22-2010, 10:25 PM
I've always liked this story.

And who cares if Eric is bisexual. Gezz.

KPM
12-23-2010, 10:35 PM
I have always loved that story.

T_J
12-24-2010, 01:39 AM
Eric Clapton is bisexual.

No he isn't.

Lisarose
12-29-2010, 04:57 AM
Great story, Brian, I really love Eric's music - & I really loved his latest CD - Riding with the (BB)King!
Those two are amazing!

Tigerman1975
12-29-2010, 01:29 PM
Great story, Brian, I really love Eric's music - & I really loved his latest CD - Riding with the (BB)King!
Those two are amazing!

I agree. Eric's playing just gets better and better the older he gets. A true stylist...........

Eric-circa 1990 with the legendary "Blackie" which sold at Christie's auction for a whopping $959,500.00 This set the record for the highest price ever paid for a guitar. That ought to tell you something.

http://www.limelightagency.com/robert-knight/images/press/strat-collector/eric-clapton-Slow-hands.jpg

Raised on Rock
12-30-2010, 12:31 AM
Big fan of Clapton myself, I would have loved to see Elvis and Clapton working something out together as old guys enjoying themselves somewhere during the 90's, with some kind of roots oriented acoustic album, now that one could have been a killer!!!! Ahh! to bad that didn't happened.

Tigerman1975
12-30-2010, 12:59 PM
Big fan of Clapton myself, I would have loved to see Elvis and Clapton working something out together as old guys enjoying themselves somewhere during the 90's, with some kind of roots oriented acoustic album, now that one could have been a killer!!!! Ahh! to bad that didn't happened.

That would have been cool.

pearldrummer
05-26-2012, 10:36 PM
Love Eric Clapton too.Great story this.Why are there no pictures of Elvis with Clapton,Zeppelin,Elton John etc.Would have loved to hear Elvis sing Further on up the Road,Badge or Crossroads.All amazing classics and why didn't Elvis go to Claptons Memphis show? he would have loved it.

vivaelvis
05-26-2012, 11:34 PM
I have always wondered what Elvis would have sounded like singing Tears In Heaven. Had he lived to have heard that, there's no doubt in my mind that he wouldn't have recorded his version, probably with Gladys in mind. A real tearjerker.

King Of The Whole World
05-26-2012, 11:58 PM
I have always wondered what Elvis would have sounded like singing Tears In Heaven. Had he lived to have heard that, there's no doubt in my mind that he wouldn't have recorded his version, probably with Gladys in mind. A real tearjerker.

I know he would have done a good job on the song but as much as I love Elvis, I think Clapton would do it better. That song, Clapton really poured his soul into that song with the death of his son.

vivaelvis
05-27-2012, 12:37 AM
I know he would have done a good job on the song but as much as I love Elvis, I think Clapton would do it better. That song, Clapton really poured his soul into that song with the death of his son.

I know what you mean, but Elvis could take any song and make it as his own. Look what he did with My Way, Bridge Over Troubled Water, You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin, Never Been To Spain, and Unchained Melody. And just think, we came just 1 week away from him living long enough to have performed I Will Always Love You on what was to be his next tour.:'( I know he would have OWNED that performance and taken it to an over-the-top level as only he could do.

King Of The Whole World
05-27-2012, 03:43 AM
I know what you mean, but Elvis could take any song and make it as his own. Look what he did with My Way, Bridge Over Troubled Water, You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin, Never Been To Spain, and Unchained Melody. And just think, we came just 1 week away from him living long enough to have performed I Will Always Love You on what was to be his next tour.:'( I know he would have OWNED that performance and taken it to an over-the-top level as only he could do.

Why do you think he would perform that on his next tour? Dolly didn't want to give Elvis the publishing on that song. I would have love to hear Elvis do that song, he would have killed it!!

vivaelvis
05-27-2012, 04:40 AM
Why do you think he would perform that on his next tour? Dolly didn't want to give Elvis the publishing on that song. I would have love to hear Elvis do that song, he would have killed it!!

Elvis' publisher's at RCA wanted to get publishing rights to the song and Dolly was hurt thinking it was Elvis making that bold move. But it wasn't and he didn't know of it until she told him. He made a promise to her that all he would do is record a live version on his next tour (in August) for his next upcoming album. That way she got to keep royalties to the song. Unfortunately, that never got to happen.

King Of The Whole World
05-27-2012, 02:06 PM
Elvis' publisher's at RCA wanted to get publishing rights to the song and Dolly was hurt thinking it was Elvis making that bold move. But it wasn't and he didn't know of it until she told him. He made a promise to her that all he would do is record a live version on his next tour (in August) for his next upcoming album. That way she got to keep royalties to the song. Unfortunately, that never got to happen.

Ok, I have never heard that before. I knew he wanted to record that song badly. I wish it would have happened in the recording studio so that we would be able to listen to it today. Dang Parker. :angry:

What is weird for me, a lot of songs that Elvis recorded in the studio were not as good as some of the live versions. Elvis like to record his songs "live" in the studio but he would do even better versions in his shows, i.e. How Great Thou Art, My Way, Suspicious Minds ect. I think the more he performed the song the more he would try to make it different each time it was performed. I also think he fed off the audience's energy so much that he would hit the best high notes in the songs. So if he would have recorded I will Always Love You in concert it probably would have been a better version than a studio recording.

Maverick
05-27-2012, 03:29 PM
This meeting happened at the Memphian Theater & Carl Radle, Eric's bass player, was also there.

KPM
05-27-2012, 11:19 PM
Why do you think he would perform that on his next tour? Dolly didn't want to give Elvis the publishing on that song. I would have love to hear Elvis do that song, he would have killed it!!
Dolly claimed in a recent interview that Col Parker was the stumbling block in Elvis recording that song.

KPM
05-27-2012, 11:20 PM
Heres an idea of how Elvis may have done "Tears in Heaven"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESbAFt-ZfAg&feature=fvwrel

vivaelvis
05-27-2012, 11:24 PM
Heres an idea of how Elvis may have done "Tears in Heaven"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESbAFt-ZfAg&feature=fvwrel

I saw this. Good job for an amateur. He can't hit the high notes nor carry a long note the way Elvis could. Also Elvis would have probably had drums and more backing vocals on his version. But a good idea of what it might have sounded like.

KPM
05-27-2012, 11:57 PM
I saw this. Good job for an amateur. He can't hit the high notes nor carry a long note the way Elvis could. Also Elvis would have probably had drums and more backing vocals on his version. But a good idea of what it might have sounded like.
I am not much on most tribute artists-but Doug Church is pretty good on a lot of songs.
Church actually fooled me on a Christmas song a few years back that a local store employee had playing over the stores intercom-I knew Elvis had not recorded this song but I thought that sure sounds like Elvis.....the clerk told me it was a Doug Church cd.

Raised on Rock
05-28-2012, 07:52 AM
This meeting happened at the Memphian Theater & Carl Radle, Eric's bass player, was also there.

Yes Carl Radle! Such an underated musician, lucky for him to have met the king with Clapton!