Paul McCartney has met every person of note in the world that he could ever wish to come into contact with, and it requires a lot of standing to take his breath away or make him starstruck. Out of all the famous faces he has encountered, however, there was one artist who remains “the coolest”.
During his younger days, McCartney was less familiar with the idea of rubbing shoulders with celebrities, and soon after The Beatles found success, he began meeting his childhood heroes. The bassist got to play a residency with Little Richard early on in his career, which was a pinch yourself moment, and a few years later, he’d be hanging out with Elvis Presley at his mansion in Bel Air.
This moment remains one of the highlights in McCartney’s life and occurred during the summer of 1965, shortly after Beatlemania had taken America by storm. Although Elvis’ singles weren’t charting as high as they once were, he was still ‘The King’ and had an undeniable aura.
In 1965, there was no bigger group than the Fab Four, and Elvis was blessed with the most recognisable face on the planet. There simply isn’t a modern equivalent of two artists operating on a comparable scale and having the same cultural cache in the bank.
When McCartney appeared on the Adam Buxton Podcast, he was asked about the coolest person he’s ever met. Rather than initially naming a musician, he picked his wife, Nancy Shevell, but, when pressed, he listed Presley. “My wife … she is very cool,” Macca told the host and said he hoped she was listening. “However, speaking like that, I have met Elvis Presley, who was darn cool. Because this was pre his Las Vegas and the rhinestone suit [period], this was just sort of Beverly Hills. So he was really cool.”
He concluded: “If I had to choose, I’d have to go with my wife, Nancy, and if I had to give a second, I think I’d have to do Elvis.”
The evening he spent with Elvis was an awkward affair, to begin with, but things eventually loosened up, and they even enjoyed a jam together towards the end of the night. Shortly after the meeting, McCartney shared his immediate thoughts on spending time with his hero. He explained: “I think he was exactly like I imagined, yeah. I didn’t quite know what to expect when we went there, you know. I mean, I thought that he’d be the same, but I didn’t know how the atmosphere or anything would be in the place.”
McCartney continued: “But it was good, ‘cuz it was all old mates around. Old mates of his, you know, and we brought quite a few of ours. And so we just had a bit of a ‘do.”
Listen to Paul McCartney’s full appearance on the Adam Buxton Podcast below.