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George Harrison Thought This Elvis Presley Song Included an Incredibly ‘Dumb Line’



While growing up, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr all idolized Elvis Presley. They spoke of the way the American artist inspired them to pursue careers in music. Over the years, though, The Beatles grew increasingly critical of Elvis. Harrison thought that one Elvis song The Beatles briefly covered was eye-roll worthy. 

George Harrison didn’t like this Elvis Presley song

Early in The Beatles’ time as a band, they sang their own songs and covered tunes by other artists. 

“‘Anna’ by Arthur Alexander was on the album, too,” Harrison said in The Beatles Anthology. “I remember having several records by him, and John sang three or four of his songs. (‘Soldier Of Love’ was one; it appears on the BBC recordings.) Arthur Alexander used a peculiar drum pattern, which we tried to copy; but we couldn’t quite do it, so in the end we’d invented something quite bizarre but equally original. A lot of the time we tried to copy things but wouldn’t be able to, and so we’d end up with our own versions.”

The Beatles also covered the Elvis song “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin.” Harrison did not think highly of it.

“Sometimes we learnt songs and did them once or twice and then gave them up: like Paul at the Aintree Institute singing ‘That’s When Your Heartaches Begin,’ the Elvis record where he talks in the middle,” Harrison said. “Have you ever heard such a dumb line? — ‘Love is a thing that we never can share.’”


George Harrison was distracted during The Beatles’ meeting with Elvis Presley 

Several years after McCartney sang “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin,” The Beatles had the chance to meet Elvis. According to Harrison, he spent much of the visit trying to find a joint.

“I don’t remember even seeing Priscilla [Presley],” he said. “I spent most of the party trying to suss out from his gang if anybody had any reefers. But they were ‘uppers and whiskey’ people. They weren’t really into reefer-smoking in the South.”

He didn’t approve of the changes the American artist made to his career

As years passed, Harrison grew increasingly disappointed with Elvis’ career. He had idolized the American artist in his youth; by the 1970s, his music and performances disappointed. Still, in 1972, Harrison went to Madison Square Garden to watch Elvis perform.

“They took me back in the intermission to meet Elvis again and he was in the back of the dress­ing room­ — the big rooms with the show­ers for the footballers and stuff — and I was in the front part just talking to some of the guys,” Harrison said in an interview with Creem Magazine. “And I’m sitting there, think­ing ‘Well, where’s Elvis, then?’ And fin­ally he came out of the back and he was … immaculate. I felt like this real grubby little slug and he looked like Lord Siva or something.”

Even though Elvis looked good, Harrison thought his performance was lacking.

“I wanted to say to him, ‘Why don’t you just come out in your jeans and your black shirt–­get rid of all them horrible women singers in your band, all them horrible trumpet players and just have James Burton and the drummer and the bass player and the piano player? Just come out and do ‘That’s All Right, Mama.’”


Source: Cheat Sheet

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