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John Lennon apparently thought Elvis was a "right-wing Southern bigot"

John Lennon and Elvis Presley
(Image credit: George Stroud/Express/Getty Images, Getty Images)

According to iconic music presenter and DJ Bob Harris, John Lennon believed Elvis Presley was a "right-wing Southern bigot", and the pair were apparently "resentful" rivals when the pair met in the 60s.

In a new interview on the Rockonteurs podcast, Harris revealed that it was "hate at first sight" when the two musicians first met, and also that president Richard Nixon had tasked his "good friend" Elvis to spy on John Lennon, due to Lennon's very public criticism of the Vietnam war.

Within the conversation, Harris tells hosts Gary Kemp and Guy Pratt that allegedly, Nixon saw Lennon as a "counter-culture enemy”, who he tried repeatedly to deport. During his time as president, Nixon vowed that if Lennon ever left the United States during his tenure, he wouldn’t be permitted to re-enter the country.

Harris explains: "It sounded like it was almost a figment of [Lennon’s] imagination when he was saying, ‘My phone was tapped, I get followed everywhere’ — but it was true; he really did.

“Nixon was out to get him and that’s why John was stuck in New York, or stuck in the States: he knew, were he to come back to the UK, he’d never get back into America again. Not while Nixon was in the White House.

"Nixon was a great friend of Elvis and vice versa. Nixon had [instructed] Elvis to gather as much information about John Lennon as he possibly could.”

Harris goes on to state that despite being a fan of Elvis' music, Lennon was disappointed when meeting 'The King of Rock and Roll', as he believed him to be a "right-wing southern bigot".  

"For John it was a very disillusioning moment because he loved Elvis’s records, so… to discover he was a right-wing southern bigot was a big shock,” he continues.

“Equally, Elvis saw Lennon as being this upstart Liverpudlian know-it-all who’d taken his crown. He usurped Elvis and he was resentful as hell.”

Listen to the full podcast episode below:

Liz Scarlett
Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music. '10 bands that rip off Black Sabbath but get away with it' is her favourite article she's written with Louder so far. When not writing, Liz enjoys various creative endeavours such as graphic design, as well as reading about rock’n’roll history, art and magic.