Elvis Presley was mourned for decades by his loyal fans across the globe. Celebrities were among these fans, with many paying tribute to him or revealing how The King influenced their own work. However, crooner Frank Sinatra, it turns out, was not one of these, and had some pretty harsh things to say about rock ‘n’ roll.
Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra famously performed together on TV before The King’s death.
The truth is, while Frank has spoken of their friendship, he did not have much respect at all for the music Elvis sang.
In fact, just as Elvis was making it big in the USA, the American crooner spoke out against the style of music dear to Elvis’ heart: rock ‘n’ roll.
In an article by the Associated Press in October 1957, Frank said: “My only deep sorrow is the unrelenting insistence of recording and motion picture companies upon purveying the most brutal, ugly, degenerate, vicious form of expression it has been my displeasure to hear—naturally I refer to the bulk of rock ‘n’ roll.
“It fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people. It smells phony and false.
“It is sung, played and written for the most part by cretinous goons and by means of its almost imbecilic reiterations and sly, lewd—in plain fact dirty—lyrics, and as I said before, it manages to be the martial music of every sideburned delinquent on the face of the earth.
“This rancid smelling aphrodisiac I deplore. But, in spite of it, the contribution of American music to the world could be said to have one of the healthiest effects of all our contributions.”
This is a pretty damning statement, and given Elvis’ debut album was released in 1956, and by 1957 he was a major star, some have suggested these comments were directed at Elvis himself.
Elvis did respond to these comments, as chronicled in the same article.
He said: “It’s [rock ‘n’ roll] the greatest music ever, and it will continue to be so. I like it, and I’m sure many other persons feel the same way. I also admit it’s the only thing I can do.”
“He has a right to his opinion, but I can’t see him knocking my music for no good reason. I admire him as a performer and an actor, but I think he’s badly mistaken about this.
“If I remember correctly he was also part of a trend. I don’t see how he can call the youth of today immoral and delinquent.”
It is obvious the pair’s initial relationship was pretty tricky, given their comments on each other’s style of music and opinions.
However, as mentioned previously, they did perform together on TV, and it is believed they became good friends in later years.
The Chairman Of The Board, AKA Frank, invited Elvis to be a special guest on the last of TV show, which was broadcast on ABC in 1960.
They performed together at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami on March 26, 1960, which was then broadcast as The Frank Sinatra Timex Show: Welcome Home Elvis.
During one of the songs they performed, Frank commented on how they were working “in the same way, only in different areas,” showing how perhaps these two had buried the hatchet.
After Elvis’ death on August 16, 1977, Frank made a statement about Elvis, saying: “There have been many accolades uttered about Elvis’ talent and performances through the years, all of which I agree with wholeheartedly.
“I shall miss him dearly as a friend. He was a warm, considerate and generous man.”
Obviously, despite musical differences, Frank did not hate Elvis, only the type of music he played.
However, it seems even that may have faded over time, with the duo forming a strong bond.