Crocodile Rock Meets Jailhouse Rock

by Phil Gelormine


As reported in the last issue of the “ Strictly Elvis Generation “, Elton John attended Elvis’ evening concert at the Capital Centre in Largo, Maryland, just outside Washington, last June. Elton was taken backstage and introduced to his idol just minutes before Elvis was to go on. 

When the lights went down and “ 2001 “ was struck up, Elton and two of his friends were escorted to their second row, stage right seats. Police and security kept fans away from Elton throughout the performance so he could enjoy the show in peace. In fact, the entire aisle was clogged with cops since many people quickly began to notice who the little man in the big white eyeglasses was. 

However, once Elvis appeared, tearing into “ C.C. Rider “ and really getting down to business, Elton was soon left alone. It was easy to see that Elvis was in a very good mood after meeting Elton and he seemed to be putting a bit more of himself into the show, perhaps for the benefit of his guest. Elvis performed “ Hurt “ not once, not twice, but an incredible three times ! He was never more into the song than that night.

 Harold J. Newton © Largo,Maryland  June 27th 1976 matinee show

All through the concert, Elton bopped in his seat just like any other fan, constantly pointing out things to his buddies about Elvis. And it was Elton who was the first to stand and lead the audience in applause for Elvis’ powerful version of “ America The Beautiful “. The only time Elton looked understandably nervous was when Elvis had the house lights turned on for a few minutes so he could see his audience. He was not introduced as Elvis seldom points out celebrities on tour like he does in Vegas. 

Elvis finished his show and was about to launch into “ Can’t Help Falling In Love “, just after singing “ Funny How Time Slips Away “, when someone screamed “ Polk Salad Annie “. “ Are you kidding ? “ Elvis said in the middle of thanking the audience. The crowd roared for more and wouldn’t let him go. “ All right, the hell with the speech. Polk Salad “, he instructed his band with that proceeded to do a super-fast version of the classic – leg streches and karate leap included. 

Elton and Co. were now up on their feet again, applauding wildly as “ Can’t Help Falling In Love “ now filled the arena. At this time they were ushered out of the hall before the lights came up again. 

Phil Gleormine /EW © Largo,Maryland  June 27th 1976 evening  show

So what did these two giants of music discuss? According to my sources, Elvis told Elton how much he admired his music and Elton told his idol how thrilled he was to meet him, and also offered to write and sing on a special song the two would get together on in the near future. 

Elvis also asked Elvis to sing a request, “ Heartbreak Hotel “. Elvis did sing this very early in the show. Before leaving his seat, Elton mentioned to Elvis his mother and stepfather would also be in the audience. Elvis was very flattered. 

Last July, Elton told reporter Michael Pousner, “ I’m basically a fan. I’ve always liked famous people. I actually got goose bumps in Washington last month when I finally met Elvis. “ 

Originally published in “ The Strictly Elvis Generation No. 9 “.