After a show in Memphis on April 30th 1976, Bruce Springsteen felt compelled to not waste his time in bars and drunkenly made the call to do his utmost to meet Elvis. However, despite his best efforts, he failed—but it’s the trying that counts at the end of the day.
Elvis Presley was an idol of Springsteen’s from a very young age. Having been first introduced to the work of The King while watching The Ed Sullivan Show as a seven-year-old, Springsteen was hooked on rock and roll from the off. Elvis performed hits including ‘Don’t Be Cruel’, ‘Love Me Tender’, and ‘Hound Dog’ which would later inspire Springsteen. “I couldn’t imagine anyone not wanting to be Elvis Presley,” he later recalled.
After pleading vehemently with his mother to buy him a guitar after witnessing Presley’s iconic performance, she eventually conceded defeat and even set up lessons for the young Boss. However, Springsteen’s hands were too small to play the instrument and he struggled with a formal sense of structured instruction. Instead, the youngster put the instrument aside and focused on sports until returning years later.
Later, after establishing himself as a local musician, Springsteen had earned a reputation in his home surroundings due to his performances with the E-Street Band on their staggering Born to Run tour. The string of shows would lay the foundations for the career he would go on to have. It was fitting, then, that it was while on this tour that Springsteen would make a voyage to Graceland to show his love for The King considering that the album cover for the record proudly displays an Elvis fan club badge on his guitar strap.
Reverting back to the spring of 1976, however, and we find a 26-year-old Springsteen and his E-Street Band comrade Steve Van Zandt hatching their plan to pay their respects to Elvis by jumping in a taxi at 3am to his Graceland him. When Springsteen saw lights blazing inside the mansion, he climbed over the wall and ran to the front door and, just as he was about to ring the doorbell, he was stopped by security. the musician then put on the charm and tried to explain he was a rockstar himself and he had recently been on the cover of both Time and Newsweek.
It’s safe to say, however, that the guards were less than impressed with Springsteen and most likely assumed he was just another crazed fan which, admittedly, he was. Despite his best efforts, The Boss was informed that Presley was in Lake Tahoe and not in the building he was trying to enter. Presley would sadly die the following year and The Boss would never meet The King but he lives on in the Born To Run cover where they are together.