Elton John described ‘sad and pathetic’ Elvis Presley meeting just before death

Tonight, at 9pm, Elton John will make his debut at Glastonbury Festival on the legendary Pyramid Stage at Worthy Farm. It is due to be a momentous occasion, as it is also going to be his final-ever UK show.

While he has built an extraordinary career over the past six decades in the music industry, he would not have started making music if it were not for the original rockstar: Elvis Presley. In 1976, Elton and his mother had the pleasure of meeting Elvis for the first time – but he was not everything he dreamed of.

At the time, in the mid-1970s, Elvis was abusing prescription drugs and had gained a lot of weight. In fact, when Elton met him, the King of Rock and Roll was just under 12 months away from dying from these exact issues. Elton recalled in 1996: “It was so sad because he turned into this big man with no eyes.”

Elvis was playing countless shows, hitting a Las Vegas stage every single night, but the work, the drugs, and his endless supply of cheeseburgers were taking their tole on the 41-year-old man.

“They had sunk into the back of his head,” Elton remembered. “And it was pathetic.” Elton told a similar story about the one and only time he met Elvis in the Tom Doyle book Captain Fantastic.

“It was sad,” he said of speaking to Elvis before he hit the stage. Tom said they had an “awkward” discussion. “Elton looked into the eyes of the King and felt there was ‘nothing there’,” he wrote.

It’s a shame, as Elton revered the King of Rock and Roll. Looking back on hearing his music for the first time, he said: “My mum always used to buy a record every Friday. She came home, and she had the 78 of Elvis Presley, and she said: ‘I heard this in the record shop, and I’ve never heard anything like it!’ She played it to me, and I’d never heard anything like it either.”

“It was weird,” he explained. “Because, about ten days before, I’d had my hair cut in the local barbers, where I went as a little boy, and I’d noticed a Life magazine.

“I was reading this article on a man who looked like an alien but was so handsome – I’d never seen anything like him, and I put two and two together and said, ‘That was the man I saw in the magazine!’ So that was the record that really changed everything.”

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