Quincy Jones explains why he would never work with 'racist' Elvis Presley

26 May 2021, 16:05 | Updated: 28 May 2021, 13:12

Quincy Jones accused Elvis Presley of being a 'racist' when he met him many years ago
Quincy Jones accused Elvis Presley of being a 'racist' when he met him many years ago. Picture: Getty

Quincy Jones has revealed that he wouldn’t have ever worked with Elvis Presley, claiming in an interview that the late singer “was a racist”.

88-year-old musician and producer Quincy Jones made the claim while speaking to The Hollywood Reporter as part of their new Icon series.

Quincy Jones facts: Music producer's age, wife, children, net worth and more revealed

Jones was asked about Elvis after he compared Michael Jackson to the singer while looking back at the filming of the 1978 film The Wiz.

“[Jackson] was doing some Elvis copying, too. ‘The King of Pop,’ man. Come on!” Jones said.

Asked if he ever worked with Presley, Jones replied: “No. I wouldn’t work with him.”

When asked why not, Jones said: “I was writing for [orchestra leader] Tommy Dorsey, oh God, back then in the ’50s.

Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones. Picture: Getty

And Elvis came in, and Tommy said: ‘I don’t want to play with him.’ He was a racist mother — I’m going to shut up now.

“But every time I saw Elvis, he was being coached by [‘Don’t Be Cruel’ songwriter] Otis Blackwell, telling him how to sing,” he added.

However, The Hollywood Reporter also noted that Blackwell told David Letterman in 1987 that he and Elvis Presley had never met.

Read more: When and where was Elvis Presley's final concert performance before he died?

Quincy Jones began his career as a jazz arranger and conductor before moving on to pop and film scores.

In 1968, he and his songwriting partner Bob Russell became the first African-Americans to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song for 'The Eyes of Love' from the film Banning, and three years later he became the first African-American to be the musical director and conductor of the Academy Awards ceremony.

He is perhaps best known for his work with Michael Jackson in the 1970s and 1980s, including producing the albums Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad.