Elvis Presley brutally joked about ‘giving John Lennon a hiding’ over ‘anti-war beliefs’

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Elvis was known as the King of Rock and Roll until his premature death from a heart attack in the Seventies. The US-born singer remains a popular figure to this day and each year more than half-a-million people flock to his Graceland estate, in Memphis, Tennessee. Elvis, who served in the US Army and was sent overseas to Germany, was staunchly against those who opposed the Vietnam War. 

Of those who came in the firing line of Elvis’ anger was John Lennon, who The King was said to have “disliked” The Beatles star straight away. 

Author Chris Hutchins described how the Hound Dog singer would “fly into a rage” if Lennon’s name was mentioned in conversation. 

He wrote: “His dislike of the pacifist Beatle was born from the night I took the Fab Four to his house for their first – and last – meeting. 

“John had annoyed Presley by making his anti-war feelings known the moment he stepped into the massive lounge.”

Lennon’s comments came after he “spotted table lamps” in The King’s home, which featured “model wagons” that were engraved with the message: “All the way with LBJ.” 

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The initials “LBJ” referred to the former US President Lyndon B Johnson – whom Lennon didn’t approve of and made his opinion known. 

Mr Hutchins wrote: “Lennon hated President Lyndon B Johnson for raising the stakes in the Vietnam War.”

Elvis was believed to have had a different view of the war because he had been drafted into the US Army’s ranks between 1958 and 1960.

Mr Hutchins explained: “Presley allied himself with the FBI director Edgar Hoover and encouraged him to have Lennon thrown out of the US.”

Despite this animosity between them, Elvis’ ex-wife Priscilla Presley recalled how the two of them met again during an “awkward” encounter.

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Ms Presley said: “You could hear a pin drop when they walked in. All they cared about was seeing Elvis.”

She described Lennon as “shy” and “timid”, while he stared at his idol in disbelief.

Ms Presley added: “I really believe that he just couldn’t believe that he was actually there with Elvis Presley.

“It was a little bit awkward because they just kept looking at him and not really saying anything – not really sitting down, just staring at him.”

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In a 2011 article for the Daily Mail, Mr Hutchins recounted how Elvis told Sir Tom Jones that he wanted Lennon to be “thrown out of the US”.

Elvis said: “He should’ve been kicked out long ago.”

Elvis and Sir Tom had bonded because the US star considered him to be “a man’s man” and they later developed a “deep friendship”.

After Elvis told the Wales-born singer about his encounter with Lennon, Sir Tom admitted: “I had a run-in with him myself. 

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“He made some smart remark at a TV studio in England, where we were appearing on the show Thank Your Lucky Stars.

“I wanted to take him outside and see what sort of hiding his intellect would stand.”

Mr Hutchins claimed that Elvis smiled at Sir Tom “for the first time that night” and believed it was because he agreed with the sentiment. 

The author continued: “Tom was talking his kind of language.” 

Last weekend, Sir Tom recounted a defining moment of his friendship with Elvis on the ITV show The Voice. 

The veteran singer, who has savoured a five-and-a-half decade career, told Olly Murs that the only person he was nervous about singing with was Elvis. 

Sir Tom said: “Well, Elvis Presley I sang with. I was excited! I was thinking, ‘Wow!’”

He described Elvis as “the one” and regaled the audience with an anecdote about his first encounter with The King.

Sir Tom said: “I met him in Los Angeles in 1965 [when I had] a ballad out called With These Hands.

“He was coming towards me and he was singing, ‘With these hands, I will cling to you.’

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