Clapton Week: When Eric Met Elvis

(Gibson) "Who the Hell's limousine is that?" On a late July evening in 1974, that was Elvis Presley's reaction to the sight of a long, black limo parked in front of the General Cinema in Memphis--one of Elvis's favorite spots for personal midnight movie screenings. The limo happened to belong to another superstar rocker who had made a special pilgrimage to meet Elvis. It was up to Jerry Schilling, one of Elvis's Memphis Mafia entourage, to remind the King that he had consented to such a visit.

On that particular night, Elvis looked more like a rancher than a rock star. After a spring of heavy touring, Elvis was back in Memphis for a while, and was taking the time to enjoy some down home pleasures. That day, he had driven south to some Mississippi horse farms with Schilling and Myrna Smith, a member of Elvis's vocal backing group the Sweet Inspirations and Schilling's longtime girlfriend. The three came back straight to the theater without a stop at Graceland, and Elvis, at the wheel of his favorite pickup truck, was in leather boots, cowboy hat, and his somewhat upscale version of Western wear.

"I remember being really worried that the sight of the limousine might darken Elvis's mood and ruin the meeting with Eric," says Schilling. "Elvis wasn't seeing a lot of people up at Graceland at that time, and it was kind of a big deal when he agreed to be introduced to somebody new. We wanted everything to go just right." more on this story

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