Elvis Presley: Quincy Jones refused to work with the King – ‘He was racist’

Quincy trailer: Documentary exploring the life of Quincy Jones

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Throughout his enormous 30-year career, Elvis Presley spent a lot of time with many producers to build his legacy as the King of Rock and Roll. One of the most prominent music producers from 1951 onwards was Quincy Jones.

Quincy worked with some enormous names in the music industry.

The American icon helped write, record, and produce music for Frank Sinatra throughout the 1950s.

He also helped Michael Jackson on creating the King of Pop’s albums Off The Wall, Thriller, and Bad.

Speaking in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the music producer revealed exactly why he didn’t give the same treatment to the King of Rock and Roll.

When asked if he ever worked with Elvis, Quincy replied: “No. I wouldn’t work with him.”

Opening up on why he wouldn’t work with Elvis, Quincy said: “I was writing for [orchestra leader] Tommy Dorsey, oh God, back then in the ’50s.

“Elvis came in, and Tommy said: ‘I don’t want to play with him.'”

He added: “He was a racist motherf****r. I’m going to shut up now.”

The 88-year-old went on: “But every time I saw Elvis, he was being coached by [Don’t Be Cruel songwriter] Otis Blackwell, telling him how to sing.”

Elvis Presley stars in Kid Galahad trailer in 1962

Elvis’ opinions of people of colour have been a point of discussion many times over the years since his death.

There have also been arguments made about where Elvis found the inspiration for his brand of rock and roll music.

Later in the interview with Quincy, he touched upon working with a young Michael Jackson.

On meeting Michael for the first time, Quincy said: “When he was 12 at Sammy Davis’ house, and he told me when we decided to do [The Wiz], he says: ‘I need you to help me find a producer. I’m getting ready to do my first solo album.'”

When the pair later worked together on Off The Wall, Michael’s record sold more than 20 million copies.

This, coupled with Quincy and Michael’s 65 million sales from their next hit, Thriller, made him one of the most respected and powerful producers on the planet.

When Michael died on June 25, 2009, Jones released a statement which read: “I am absolutely devastated at this tragic and unexpected news.”

Quincy went on: “For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don’t have the words. Divinity brought our souls together on The Wiz and allowed us to do what we were able to throughout the ’80s.

“To this day, the music we created together on Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad is played in every corner of the world, and the reason for that is because he had it all … talent, grace, professionalism, and dedication.”

Outside of working with musical artists, Quincy and his songwriting partner Bob Russell became the first African-Americans to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

The track, The Eyes of Love, was featured in the 1967 film Banning.


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