Elvis Quotes

Elvis Presley Quotes & Quotations

A comprehensive collection of Elvis quotes.

Sources acknowledged: elvis.com, and various internet collections.

Elvis Presley Biography

Elvis Aaron Presley, in the humblest of circumstances, was born to Vernon and Gladys Presley in a two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8, 1935. His twin brother, Jessie Garon, was stillborn, leaving Elvis to grow up as an only child. He and his parents moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1948, and Elvis graduated from Humes High School there in 1953.

Elvis’ musical influences were the pop and country music of the time, the gospel music he heard in church and at the all-night gospel sings he frequently attended, and the black R&B he absorbed on historic Beale Street as a Memphis teenager. In 1954, he began his singing career with the legendary Sun Records label in Memphis. In late 1955, his recording contract was sold to RCA Victor. By 1956, he was an international sensation. With a sound and style that uniquely combined his diverse musical influences and blurred and challenged the social and racial barriers of the time, he ushered in a whole new era of American music and popular culture.

He starred in 33 successful films, made history with his television appearances and specials, and knew great acclaim through his many, often record-breaking, live concert performances on tour and in Las Vegas. Globally, he has sold over one billion records, more than any other artist. His American sales have earned him gold, platinum or multi-platinum awards for 131 different albums and singles, far more than any other artist. Among his many awards and accolades were 14 Grammy nominations (3 wins) from the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, which he received at age 36, and his being named One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation for 1970 by the United States Jaycees. Without any of the special privileges his celebrity status might have afforded him, he honorably served his country in the U.S. Army.

His talent, good looks, sensuality, charisma, and good humor endeared him to millions, as did the humility and human kindness he demonstrated throughout his life. Known the world over by his first name, he is regarded as one of the most important figures of twentieth century popular culture. Elvis died at his Memphis home, Graceland, on August 16, 1977.

Elvis Presley Quotes

"Some people tap their feet, some people snap their fingers, and some people sway back and forth. I just sorta do ‘em all together, I guess."
-Elvis in 1956, talking about his way of moving on stage.

"I ain't no saint, but I've tried never to do anything that would hurt my family or offend God...I figure all any kid needs is hope and the feeling he or she belongs. If I could do or say anything that would give some kid that feeling, I would believe I had contributed something to the world."
-Elvis commenting to a reporter, 1950's.

"Don’t criticize what you don’t understand, son. You never walked in that man’s shoes."
-Elvis often used this adaptation of a well-known quotation.

"When I was a child, ladies and gentlemen, I was a dreamer. I read comic books, and I was the hero of the comic book. I saw movies, and I was the hero in the movie. So every dream I ever dreamed has come true a hundred times...I learned very early in life that: ‘Without a song, the day would never end; without a song, a man ain’t got a friend; without a song, the road would never bend - without a song.' So I keep singing a song. Goodnight. Thank you."
-From his acceptance speech for the 1970 Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation Award. Given at a ceremony on January 16, 1971. (Elvis quotes from copyrighted material with lines from the song "Without a Song".)

"We do two shows a night for five weeks. A lotta times we’ll go upstairs and sing until daylight - gospel songs. We grew up with it...It more or less puts your mind at ease. It does mine."
-Talking about the informal jam sessions he and the band and entourage enjoy each night during the lengthy Vegas engagements. These happen upstairs in Elvis’ suite at the Las Vegas Hilton as they all try to "wind down" from the excitement and energy of the live shows. Quote is from a 1972 taped interview used in MGM’s documentary "Elvis on Tour".

"I’ve never gotten over what they call stagefright. I go through it every show. I’m pretty concerned, I’m pretty much thinking about the show. I never get completely comfortable with it, and I don’t let the people around me get comfortable with it, in that I remind them that it’s a new crowd out there, it’s a new audience, and they haven’t seen us before. So it’s got to be like the first time we go on."
-From a 1972 taped interview used in MGM’s documentary "Elvis on Tour".

"The first time that I appeared on stage, it scared me to death. I really didn’t know what all the yelling was about. I didn’t realize that my body was moving. It’s a natural thing to me. So to the manager backstage I said ‘What’d I do? What’d I do?’ And he said "Whatever it is, go back and do it again’."
-From a 1972 taped interview used in MGM’s documentary "Elvis on Tour".

"Man, I was tame compared to what they do now. Are you kidding? I didn’t do anything but just jiggle."
-From the press conference prior to his record-breaking Madison Square Garden shows in New York City, 1972.

"...the image is one thing and the human being is another...it’s very hard to live up to an image."
-From the press conference prior to his record-breaking Madison Square Garden shows in New York City, 1972.

"A live concert to me is exciting because of all the electricity that is generated in the crowd and on stage. It’s my favorite part of the business - live concerts."
-Elvis at a press conference prior to his 1973 television special, "Elvis - Aloha from Hawaii, via Satellite".

" ‘Til we meet you again, may God bless you. Adios."
-Said in 1977 at the end of a concert during his last tour.

Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine.
Elvis Presley (1935 - 1977) US singer, actor
In "Rand Lindsly's HUGE Quotations File," an Internet collection of quotations.

I don't know anything about music. In my line you don't have to.
Elvis Presley (1935 - 1977) US singer, actor

I have no use for bodyguards, but I have a very special use for two highly trained certified public accountants.
Elvis Presley (1935 - 1977) US singer, actor
In "Webster's Electronic Quotebase," ed. Keith Mohler, 1994.

I knew by heart all the dialogue of James Dean's films; I could watch "Rebel Without a Cause" a hundred times over.
Elvis Presley (1935 - 1977) US singer, actor
In "James Dean in His Own Words," 1989.

I've had the boyhood thing of being Elvis. Now I want to be with my best friend, and my best friend's my wife. Who could ask for anything more?
John Lennon (1940 - 1980) English singer, songwriter, musician
Interview for KFRC RKO Radio, given 8 Dec. 1980, the day of Lennon's murder.

If life was fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead.
Johnny Carson (1925 - ____) US talk show host, comedian
In The Ultimate Success Quotations Library, 1997.

People ask me where I got my singing style. I didn't copy my style from anybody . . . . Country music was always an influence on my kind of music.
Elvis Presley (1935 - 1977) US singer, actor
In "The Book of Country Music Wisdom," ed. by Criswell Freeman, 1994.

Elvis Presley in the Movies and Television

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1997)

Cordelia Chase: Xander, what's going on? Who died and made you Elvis?

"Gilmore Girls" (2000)

Lorelai: Now, the Pope has previous plans, but he's trying to get out of them. However, Elvis and Jim Morrison are coming and they're bringing chips.


"Liten film, En" (1999) (mini)

Art Fein: They probably didn't know what to do with their lives, I think. So they started doing things that, you can compare to Elvis, things that didn't make sense. I think that's what happened to them.

"X Files, The" (1993)

Mulder: People videotape police beatings on darkened streets. They manage to spot Elvis in three cities across America every day, but no one saw a pretty woman forced off the road in a rental car.

"X Files, The" (1993)

Mulder: Do you know how hard it is to fake your own death? Only one man has pulled it off: Elvis.

All Shook Up (1999)

Sheriff Dudston: Elvis has not left that building.

All Shook Up (1999)

Marilyn: Everytime you lick a commemorative stamp with sideburns, Elvis is there.

Casual Sex? (1988)

Nick: I'm going to be huge. I'm going to be bigger than huge! I'm going to be on the cover of Rolling Stone magaz-- no, forget that. I'm going to be on the cover of Time magazin-- no! Forget that... I... I... am going to have... *more fans than Elvis*!

Commitments, The (1991)

Mr. Rabbitte: That's flippin' blasphemy! Elvis wasn't a Cajun!

Commitments, The (1991)

Jimmy: Elvis isn't soul.

Commitments, The (1991)

Mr. Rabbitte: Elvis is GOD!

Dancing Outlaw, The (1991) (TV)

Norma Jean White: Jesse can be three people: He is Jesse, he is Jesco, and he is Elvis. Jesse is the most beautiful man that I could've ever loved. But Jesco, he, - he's somebody else. He's the devil in hisself. Uh, nothing satisfies him - he can't be happy. Nothing you do for him makes him happy.

Defending Your Life (1991)

Comedian: Let's play a game, Art. Elvis: living or dead?

Dogma (1999)

Serendipity: So you were an artist. Big deal! Elvis was an artist. But that didn't stop him from volunteering for the military in time of service. And that's why he's The King, and you're a schmuck.

Elvis Meets Nixon (1997) (TV)

Elvis Presley: You know there are no coincidences in this universe, man. Everything happens for a reason.

For Better or Worse (1996)

Valeri Carboni: Moe impersonates Tony Roy, the Elvis impersonator.

For Better or Worse (1996)

Michael Makeshift: I really don't understand. He impersonates an Elvis impersonator? Why doesn't he just impersonate Elvis?

For Better or Worse (1996)

Valeri Carboni: Because everyone in Vegas impersonates Elvis.

Heaven Help Us (1985)

Rooney: Jesus, what'd they do to Elvis? Cut his balls off, or something?

Independence Day (1996)

Elvis Fanatic: Oh god, I hope they bring back Elvis.

Last of the Dogmen (1995)

Professor Lillian Stone: Look, Elvis is dead, the government is not hiding UFOs, and there are no Indians in the Oxbow.

Men in Black (1997)

Jay: You do know that Elvis is dead, don't you?

Rage: Carrie 2, The (1999)

Rachel Lang: Supposedly she set the fire as some sort of revenge-suicide thing, Elvis was her date and they escaped in a UFO.

True Romance (1993)

Alabama Whitman: Amid the chaos of that day, when all I could hear was the thunder of gunshots, and all I could smell was the violence in the air, I look back and am amazed that my thoughts were so clear and true, that three words went through my mind endlessly, repeating themselves like a broken record: you're so cool, you're so cool, you're so cool. And sometimes Clarence asks me what I would have done if he had died, if that bullet had been two inches more to the left. To this, I always smile, as if I'm not going to satisfy him with a response. But I always do. I tell him of how I would want to die, but that the anguish and the want of death would fade like the stars at dawn, and that things would be much as they are now. Perhaps. Except maybe I wouldn't have named our son Elvis.

Said About Elvis

"Without preamble, the three-piece band cuts loose. In the spotlight, the lanky singer flails furious rhythms on his guitar, every now and then breaking a string. In a pivoting stance, his hips swing sensuously from side to side and his entire body takes on a frantic quiver, as if he had swallowed a jackhammer."

Time Magazine,
May 15, 1956

"His kind of music is deplorable, a rancid smelling aphrodisiac...It fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people."

Frank Sinatra,
1950's

"It isn’t enough to say that Elvis is kind to his parents, sends money home, and is the same unspoiled kid he was before all the commotion began. That still isn’t a free ticket to behave like a sex maniac in public."

Eddie Condon
Cosmopolitan, December 1956

"I wanted to say to Elvis Presley and the country that this is a real decent, fine boy."

Ed Sullivan
During Elvis’ third appearance on his show,
January 6, 1957

"As the lad himself might say, cut my legs off and call me Shorty! Elvis Presley can act...Acting is his assignment in this shrewdly upholstered showcase, and he does it."

Howard Thompson
Review of King Creole
New York Times, 1958

"A Presley picture is the only sure thing in Hollywood."

Hal Wallis
Producer of nine of Elvis' films.

"There is something magical about watching a man who has lost himself find his way back home...He sang with the kind of power people no longer expect from rock ‘n’ roll singers."

John Landau
Review of Elvis, (1968 TV Special).

"It was the finest music of his life. If ever there was music that bleeds, this was it."

Greil Marcus
From his book, Mystery Train, remembering the 1968 TV Special.

"There are several unbelievable things about Elvis, but the most incredible is his staying power in a world where meteoric careers fade like shooting stars."

Newsweek, August 11, 1969
Review of Elvis’ Las Vegas engagement.

"...a style and panache that come close to pure magic. Lithe, raunchy, the sweat pouring down his face, he now moves with the precision of an athlete, the grace of a dancer...flamboyant and flashy, sexy and self-mocking, he works with the instincts of a genius to give poetry to the basic rock performance."

W.A. Harbinson
From his 1975 book, The Illustrated Elvis. A passage reflecting upon Elvis' 1969 Vegas engagement.

"So what it boils down to was Elvis produced his own records. He came to the session, picked the songs, and if something in the arrangement was changed, he was the one to change it. Everything was worked out spontaneously. Nothing was really rehearsed. Many of the important decisions normally made previous to a recording session were made during the session. What it was was a look to the future. Today everybody makes records this way. Back then Elvis was the only one. He was the forerunner of everything that’s record production these days. Consciously or unconsciously, everyone imitated him. People started doing what Elvis did."

Bones Howe
Recording Engineer
As quoted in Jerry Hopkins’ 1971 book, Elvis, A Biography.

"A lot of people have accused Elvis of stealing the black man’s music, when in fact, almost every black solo entertainer copied his stage mannerisms from Elvis."

Jackie Wilson

"You have no idea how great he is, really you don’t. You have no comprehension - it’s absolutely impossible. I can’t tell you why he’s so great, but he is. He’s sensational."

Phil Spector

"Elvis is the greatest cultural force in the twentieth century. He introduced the beat to everything, music, language, clothes, it’s a whole new social revolution - the 60’s comes from it."

Leonard Bernstein,
1960's.

"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."

Frank Sinatra,
1977

"Elvis Presley’s death deprives our country of a part of itself. He was unique, irreplaceable. More than twenty years ago, he burst upon the scene with an impact that was unprecedented and will probably never be equaled. His music and his personality, fusing the styles of white country and black rhythm and blues, permanently changed the face of American popular culture. His following was immense. And he was a symbol to people the world over of the vitality, rebelliousness and good humor of this country."

President Jimmy Carter,
1977. His official statement following Elvis' death.

"Elvis had an influence on everybody with his musical approach. He broke the ice for all of us."

Al Green

"...At Sun Studio in Memphis Elvis Presley called to life what would soon be known as rock and roll with a voice that bore strains of the Grand Ole Opry and Beale Street, of country and the blues. At that moment, he ensured - instinctively, unknowingly - that pop music would never again be as simple as black and white."

David Fricke
Rolling Stone, 1986

"He was an instinctive actor...He was quite bright...he was very intelligent...He was not a punk. He was very elegant, sedate, and refined, and sophisticated."

Walter Matthau, who co-starred with Elvis in King Creole (1958).
From a 1987 interview.

"There have been a lotta tough guys. There have been pretenders. And there have been contenders. But there is only one king."

Bruce Springsteen

"...it was like he came along and whispered some dream in everybody’s ear, and somehow we all dreamed it."

Bruce Springsteen

"When I first heard Elvis' voice I just knew that I wasn’t going to work for anybody; and nobody was going to be my boss...Hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail."

Bob Dylan

"A lot has been written and said about why he was so great, but I think the best way to appreciate his greatness is just to go back and play some of the old records...Time has a way of being very unkind to old records, but Elvis' keep getting better and better."

Huey Lewis

"Elvis was the king. No doubt about it. People like myself, Mick Jagger and all the others only followed in his footsteps."

Rod Stewart

"He was a unique artist - an original in an area of imitators."

Mick Jagger

"Before Elvis, there was nothing."

John Lennon

"This boy had everything. He had the looks, the moves, the manager, and the talent. And he didn’t look like Mr. Ed like a lot of the rest of us did. In the way he looked, way he talked, way he acted - he really was different."

Carl Perkins

"I wasn’t just a fan, I was his brother. He said I was good and I said he was good; we never argued about that. Elvis was a hard worker, dedicated, and God loved him. Last time I saw him was at Graceland. We sang Old Blind Barnabus together, a gospel song. I love him and hope to see him in heaven. There’ll never be another like that soul brother.

James Brown

"He was the firstest with the mostest."

Roy Orbison

"That’s my idol, Elvis Presley. If you went to my house, you’d see pictures all over of Elvis. He’s just the greatest entertainer that ever lived. And I think it’s because he had such presence. When Elvis walked into a room, Elvis Presley was in the f---ing room. I don’t give a f--- who was in the room with him, Bogart, Marilyn Monroe."

Eddie Murphy

"He was ahead of his time because he had such deep feelings. He had the privilege of deep feelings because he was deeply loved by his mother, Gladys. He was able to appreciate profound beauty in sounds. And he started a musical revolution. They say all revolutions start from love."

Imelda Marcos

"It’s rare when an artist’s talent can touch an entire generation of people. It’s even rarer when that same influence affects several generations. Elvis made an imprint on the world of pop music unequaled by any other single performer."

Dick Clark

"...if any individual of our time can be said to have changed the world, Elvis Presley is the one. In his wake more than music is different. Nothing and no one looks or sounds the same. His music was the most liberating event of our era because it taught us new possibilities of feeling and perception, new modes of action and appearance, and because it reminded us not only of his greatness, but of our own potential."

Greil Marcus
From his book, Mystery Train.

"Elvis Presley was an explorer of vast new landscapes of dream and illusion. He was a man who refused to be told that the best of his dreams would not come true, who refused to be defined by anyone else’s perceptions. This is the goal of democracy, the journey on which every American hero sets out. That Elvis made so much of the journey on his own is reason enough to remember him with the honor and love we reserve for the bravest among us. Such men made the only maps we can trust."

Dave Marsh
From his book, Elvis.

"It’s always been my dream to come to Madison Square Garden and be the warm-up act for Elvis."

Senator Al Gore
Accepting the nomination for vice president at the 1992 Democratic Convention & prior to Bill Clinton's (aka "Elvis" by his security staff) acceptance of the presidential nomination.

"You know, Bush is always comparing me to Elvis in sort of unflattering ways. I don’t think Bush would have liked Elvis very much, and that’s just another thing that’s wrong with him."

Bill Clinton
During the 1992 presidential campaign.

"He had total love in his eyes when he performed. He was the total androgenous beauty. I would practice Elvis in front of the mirror when I was twelve or thirteen years old."

k.d. lang

"I'm sitting in the drive-through and I've got my three girls in the back and this station comes on and it's playing "Jailhouse Rock," the original version, and my girls are jumping up and down, going nuts. I'm looking around at them and they've heard Dad's music all the time and I don't see that out of them."

Garth Brooks

"Ask anyone. If it hadn't been for Elvis, I don't know where popular music would be. He was the one that started it all off, and he was definitely the start of it for me."

Elton John

"It was Elvis that got me interested in music. I've been an Elvis fan since I was a kid."

Elton John

"The first concert I attended was an Elvis concert when I was eleven. Even at that age he made me realize the tremendous effect a performer could have on an audience."

Cher

"Elvis was a giant and influenced everyone in the business."

Isaac Hayes

"I learned music listening to Elvis' records. His measurable effect on culture and music was even greater in England than in the States."

Mick Fleetwood

"I remember Elvis as a young man hanging around the Sun studios. Even then, I knew this kid had a tremendous talent. He was a dynamic young boy. His phraseology, his way of looking at a song, was as unique as Sinatra's. I was a tremendous fan, and had Elvis lived, there would have been no end to his inventiveness."

B.B. King

"I don't think there is a musician today that hasn't been affected by Elvis' music. His definitive years - 1954-57 - can only be described as rock's cornerstone. He was the original cool."

Brian Setzer

Elvis Presley's The Priceless Gift Poem

Janelle McComb of Tupelo, Mississippi was a good friend to Elvis and his family for many years. On several occasions Elvis asked her to lend her unique talents to record his feelings in verse. "The Priceless Gift", a birthday poem for his daughter Lisa, was one of those occasions. Lisa’s copy is displayed at Graceland. Here, from its author is the story of how the poem was created:

In the latter part of ‘71, I was visiting Graceland. Lisa was pushing her baby buggy through the hall, and I said to Elvis, "Can you imagine? She is soon going to be four years old. What are you going to give her for her birthday?"

Elvis paused and said "I don’t know - she’s all we have - she is our most prized possession. I want Lisa to know what the important things in life are. Money is not important - it is fleeting and all this is just vanity." He said "A lot has happened through the years. Do you remember, when we left Tupelo, all we had was a little trunk on top of the car."

We talked and laughed for an hour or more reminiscing about his childhood, about his mother cooking, about how his grandmother wore an apron, and about the song "Precious Memories", which was sung at his mother’s funeral. He said "Those early values that my parents taught me are still my values, and I want my child to know them."

"Mrs. McComb," Elvis said, (he always addressed me as "Mrs. McComb" when he was talking to me, but always autographed things to me as "Janelle".) "do you think you could take your pen and write something for me to give my little girl to tell her what the real values of life are, because I may not always be around."

"In other words," I said, "you want to give her ‘the priceless gift’."

He said "That’s right, and be sure to sign it ‘Daddy’."

I said "Well, Elvis, I’ll try."

I went home and wrote the poem. When I brought it back to Elvis at Graceland, he was so touched and pleased when he read it, he ran up the stairs two at a time to hide it until Lisa’s birthday. When he came back down crying, I asked him to sign my copy of the poem. He signed it, then with his elbow attempted to wipe the tears off the paper and smeared his signature. He said "Oh, Mrs. McComb, I’ve ruined your copy."

"No," I said, "someday those teardrops will be just as priceless as this poem is to you."

The Priceless Gift by Elvis Presley

Birthdays are always special
as your fourth one comes to you
and I wondered what I’d give you
Just anything wouldn’t do.

I thought of childish treasures
to hang upon your wall
Yet nothing seemed appropriate
or none I could recall.

Money seemed so cold and fleeting
Bought treasures go so fast
And I wanted a gift to please you
And one that would also last.

You know you’re sort of special
You are really all we’ve got
You’re Mama’s bit of heaven
And Daddy’s tiny tot.

I closed my eyes - the years rolled by
And I slowly found my way
To a shadowed corner in the attic
T’was a link to my yesterday.

I raised the lid to a frayed old trunk
And there a priceless treasure lay
A tattered apron with strings still tied
And I knew I heard her say -

"Son, I’m now just a precious memory
But don’t ever forget one thing
I always tried to guide your life
With these worn out apron strings.

They guided a man named Lincoln
As he steered the ship of State
It’s the only gift I gave you
That will never go out of date.

Apron strings changed the course of
History as great men felt their tug
They followed sons onto battle fields
Without the slightest shrug.

They guided both kings and beggars
Through harmony and strife
Son, you surely must have felt their tug
For how God has blessed your life.

I bowed my head and said a prayer
For I knew God had surely touched
A tattered old trunk so tucked away
And an apron that had meant so much.

So Lisa, I give you the "Priceless Gift"
That surpasses all other things
A whole lifetime of love for you
She tied in her apron strings.

Daddy

©1971 Janelle McComb

Source: Directly from http://www.elvis.com/elvisology/writings/elvis_pricelessgift.asp