George Klein was also a good friend and introduced the two at a Hollywood nightclub performance by Jackie Wilson in 1966. James was invited via George to be their guest at the show who organized separate tables for James and Elvis and Priscilla. Also in the audience this night were members of 'The Rolling Stones', 'Buffalo Springfield' and up and coming rocker Van Morrison. James arrived first with a bodyguard : 'Where's Elvis' was the first thing he said to George. George Klein: 'We were making small talk when I saw Elvis and Priscilla arrive. I excused myself and went over to great them'. 'I told Elvis James was just a few tables away, but knowing how all eyes in the room, including some press eyes, were watching Elvis, and knowing how the press sometimes made a big deal of the hierarchy of stars, I wondered if he wanted to take his seat and have me bring James over to him'. 'No', said Elvis. 'Take me to James' ... 'From that night on they were fast friends.
James Brown Pays Tribute To Elvis (01:14)
Over the next couple of years James did get to spend quite a bit of time at Graceland.
Sometimes if he was in town he'd just cold-call and try to catch Elvis, and I was lucky enough to be there a few times when James and Elvis spent the night singing gospel songs together'.
James was was one of the celebrities who attended Elvis' funeral. George Klein : 'One of the first phone calls I remember receiving came from James Brown, who wanted to tell me how broken up he was over the news. He asked if he could come to the house during the private viewing'. 'I checked with Priscilla to make sure it was all right, and late in the afternoon James came up to join us - the first of many major artists to pay their respects. 'I remember being taken aback by how truly distraught James was ... Then he sat motionless in the corner of the living room for a long while before joining the rest of the mourners in the den. In his autobiography, Brown wrote, 'His death hit me very hard. When he died, I said, 'That's my friend, I have to go'.
Love Me Tender
Shortly after Elvis died, James Brown recorded Love Me Tender as the b-side of his hit record The Spank. Brown did this touching spoken intro: 'I want to talk about a good friend I had for a long time and a man I still love, Brother Elvis Presley. You know, if he were here right now, I'm sure he would say the same thing for me. I loved the man and he was truly the king of rock and roll. We've always had kind of a toss up. Elvis and I. The King of Rock And Roll and I'm the King of Soul. So I wanted to say this for the people, Elvis, and myself'.
Fred Daviss about the Friendship Between James Brown and Elvis Presley (02:08)
In the video below; you can view below Fred Daviss talks about how he first met Elvis in Las Vegas while touring with his friend James Brown. Elvis invited the two up to his hotel suite and then out for coffee.
Fred Daviss describes the two musical icons as being playfully competitive over gospel music knowledge. And he talks about the two again singing gospel songs together.
Latest Audio (and video) updates : Video courtesy of Elvis Presley Video Central.
Text source mainly from Elvis: My Best Man: My Lifelong Friendship with Elvis Presley by George Klein
Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali : Two Sides of the Same Coin
Elvis Presley and Sammy Davis Jr
Jackie Wilson and Elvis Presley
Lionel Rose and Elvis Presley
How Did Elvis Get Turned into a Racist? - By Peter Guralnick
Elvis' musical style, as a musician and impact as a vocalist and stage performer
Ernest Withers : Eye on Elvis : Camera Captured Pictures Of Early Elvis
Elvis Presley and Stephanie Spruill back stage at Ceasers Palace
Eddie Murphy on Racism and Elvis
How Elvis Fought Racism, Ethnic Discrimination (By an Arab-American, 2007)