Today is the 40th anniversary of the night Bruce Springsteen tried to climb over the Graceland wall and see Elvis. It is an interesting story.
It has been often written that seven-year-old Springsteen watched Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show and was moved to pursue a career in music. In fact, he has been quoted saying:
“…it was like he came along and whispered some dream in everybody’s ear, and somehow we all dreamed it.”
On April 29, 1976, Bruce Springsteen performed in concert in Memphis. It was called his “Born To Run Tour,” named after his first Top 40 hit and his first hit album that had reached # 3. After the four-hour concert ended, Springsteen was still wired, so he and E Street Band guitar player Steve Van Zandt decided to visit to Graceland. They took a cab, and at 3am on April 30 they arrived at the gate which was locked.
But Springsteen saw lights blazing inside the mansion, so he climbed the wall and ran to Graceland’s front door. Just as he was about to ring the doorbell, he was intercepted by security. Explaining his newfound rock fame and about recently being on the covers of both Time and Newsweek, Springsteen cajoled and begged to be let inside. Instead, the unimpressed guards told him that Elvis was out of town (true – on tour in Lake Tahoe) and escorted him promptly off the premises.
“Later on, I used to wonder what I would have said if I had knocked on the door and if Elvis had come to the door.”
This is the cover of Springsteen’s Born To Run album. I have drawn a line to point out something on his guitar strap. It is a fan club button from the King’s Court Fan Club of NYC.
Visual proof that Springsteen was still a big Elvis fan twenty years after that first Elvis epiphany.
“Elvis is my religion. But for him, I’d be selling encyclopedias right now.”
Springsteen performed a number of Elvis songs in concerts over the years. You may want to click on these:
Jailhouse Rock – 2009 Giants Stadium – Live sound but not video. Stock photos
All Shook Up – 2009 The Spectrum, Philadelphia — Full song video in color, guy gets up on stage in white jumpsuit and sings.
Viva Las Vegas — 2002 – Live video, poor sound
Here are two more Bruce Springsteen quotes talking about Elvis:
“That Elvis, man, he is all there is. There ain’t no more. Everything starts and ends with him. He wrote the book.”
“I remember later when a friend of mine called to tell me that he’d died. It was so hard to understand how somebody whose music came in and took away so many people’s loneliness and gave so many people a reason and a sense of all the possibilities of living could have in the end died so tragically.”
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