Elton John Remembers Elvis Presley : And First Hearing Heartbreak Hotel

By: Elvis Australia
Source: Word Magazine
August 27, 2017

From a long interview with Elton John in the February 2011 edition of 'Word' magazine ...

Elton John : I remember so well the day my mother came home with a 78 of 'Heartbreak Hotel'. She said she'd just heard it in the record shop and she knew she had to buy it straight away. So she put it on for us both to listen to and I'd never heard anything like that before in my whole life.

It completely changed the way I listened to music forever. It was just so primal. Everything before was beautiful arrangements and bands and singers and this was like ... (very long pause) ... I'd never been around music like that, music that was so powerful. I'd certainly never heard an electric guitar played like that. I'd heard Les Paul and Mary Ford, but never heard anyone play like that. The echo on the record! Wow! I hadn't been around stuff like that. There wasn't anything else around like that, at least not in my family. There were no obscure blues singers or anything of that kind. The weird thing was, that week I'd been in the hairdressers in Pinner Green looking at 'Life' magazine and I'd seen a picture of this man I assumed must have come from outer space, but that was Elvis Presley. When I put the two together it was astonishing. He looked amazing and he sounded amazing and it changed everything for me. It was rock 'n'roll! This was what I wanted to be.

Q: Sometimes you hear a record and it feels like you've been waiting to hear it all your life without even being aware that you were waiting.

That's it. Absolutely! That's exactly what it was.

And it was the same for my mother. It was an epiphany in the way people dressed and thought.

Q: After six decades of listening to music, are you any closer to working out what the greatest record ever made is?

Oh my god, that's a difficult question.

I think as far as what we've been talking about, the record that's closest to that idea, the one that changed my life forever, was 'Heartbreak Hotel'. It launched a whole new world and it was revolutionary in ways that we're still dealing with. That 78 my mother brought home from the record shop that day was truly beyond belief.

Do you still own that record?

No! Bugger. I wish I did ...

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