Wise men (& women) say: Elvis Presley in other people’s words

From king of funk James Brown to pop provocateur Miley Cyrus, all your favourite artists can’t help falling in love with Elvis

In partnership with Warner Bros.

It’s hard to overstate the influence of Elvis Presley on music as we know it today – and the way it’s been shaping and raising the artists we know and love since the 1960s.

From the smoothest soul singers to our most beloved chart-smashing heartthrobs, here’s just how much the king of rock and roll means to our most beloved musicians.

James Brown

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James Brown
James Brown (Credit: Everett Collection/Alamy)

“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… I love him and hope to see him in heaven.  There’ll never be another like that soul brother.”

Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus (Credit: Alamy)

“He was like sex.”

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan (Credit: Alamy)

“Hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail.”

Al Green

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Al Green (Credit: Alamy)

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

Lana Del Rey 

(Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Variety)

“I knew Elvis’ songs would be the soundtrack to my life as soon as I laid eyes on his photograph.”

Shawn Mendes

(Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartRadio)

“I could do an Elvis movie – I’ve got the hair!”

Harry Styles

Harry Styles CREDIT: Joseph Okpako/WireImage
Harry Styles CREDIT: Joseph Okpako/WireImage

“The first music I ever heard was Elvis Presley. When I was little, we got a karaoke machine and I sang Elvis, because that’s what my grandparents listened to.”

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton
(Credit: Getty)

“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you have accomplished something. Elvis did that and more for me and so many others. I always felt we were kin… there was nobody that I ever related to more.”

Madonna

(Credit: Alamy/Jeffrey Mayer)

“Without Elvis, you’re nothing.”

Beyoncé

Beyoncé
Beyoncé (Credit: Getty)

“Elvis is iconic – a lot of performers today look to him for inspiration. When you think of Vegas, you think of Elvis; you think of show business; you think of flash. You think of those performances.”

B.B. King

Alongside Austin Butler as Elvis, Kelvin Harrison Jr. portrays B.B. King in Baz Luhrmann’s film. Alongside Austin Butler as Elvis, Kelvin Harrison Jr. portrays B.B. King in Baz Luhrmann’s film. (CREDIT: Warner Bros)

“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.”

Boy George

Boy George
Boy George at the BandLab NME Awards 2022. CREDIT: Jo Hale/Redferns

“Anyone who doesn’t love Elvis is just doom dust to me.”

Brian May

Brian May
Brian May. Credit: Getty

“I think it’s impossible to have been a kid at that time and not been influenced by Elvis.”

Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash (Credit: Michael Putland/Getty Images)

“The best performer I ever saw was probably Elvis Presley. I don’t think there was anybody who could touch him.”

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney performing live onstage in 2021
Paul McCartney performs live, 2021. CREDIT: Getty

“Elvis was a truly great vocalist and you can hear why on Heartbreak Hotel. His phrasing, his use of echo, it’s all so beautiful. It’s as if he’s singing it from the depths of hell. Musically it’s perfect, too.”

Elton John

Elton John
Elton John performing live in 2019. CREDIT: Gonzales Photo / Alamy Stock Photo

“My mum always used to buy a record every Friday. She came home and she had the 78 of Elvis Presley, and she said, ‘I heard this in the record shop and I’ve never heard anything like it!’ She played it to me and I’d never heard anything like it either.”

Britney Spears

(Credit: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

“Elvis rocks. He just had this presence and this aura that you couldn’t take your eyes off him.”

John Lennon

John Lennon
John Lennon (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)

“Without Elvis, there would be no Beatles. When I first heard ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, my whole life changed.”

David Bowie

David Bowie performing in 1987. Credit: Ebet Roberts/Redferns
David Bowie performing in 1987. Credit: Ebet Roberts/Redferns

“He was a major hero of mine. And I was probably stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something.”

Liam Gallagher

Credit: Tom Oxley for NME

“The fucking cheeky bastard. He’s a geezer.”

Take a look at NME’s special film edition Elvis digital magazine right here. Don’t miss Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis starring Austin Butler and Tom Hanks, in cinemas June 24. Book tickets now.

© 2022 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved

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