Ian Gillan’s Greatest Regret About Elvis Presley
In the 1960s, rock and roll was the soundtrack of a generation. The world was changing rapidly, and young people were looking for new ways to express themselves. The music of the era was loud, wild, and unapologetic, just like the young men and women who listened to it.
Now imagine you are a young person in the ’50s, just before that golden age of rock and roll. The spirit of the period is changing, and you feel it in your bones as a young person. You see someone named Elvis Presley jumps onto the stage, and the music world is irreversibly changed.
He has this magnetic stage presence and a rebellious streak that resonates with young people all over the world. You spend hours listening to his music, studying his lyrics, and dreaming of one day meeting your hero. This rocker is everything to you, the embodiment of all that is cool and rebellious in the music scene. You are dreaming that maybe one day you will have a chance to meet him.
Ian Gillan was exactly the person in this hypothetical scenario, and as fate would have it, one day, he had the opportunity to meet Elvis. Here is a difficult decision now. Your idol is waiting for you in front of you. On the one hand, it can be a dream come true, a moment you will cherish forever. But on the other hand, the reality of meeting him can also ruin everything. It can shatter the image you had of him, revealing him to be just a regular person with flaws and weaknesses, like anyone else.
The latter was probably unlikely in the case of Elvis, but Gillan nevertheless chose not to meet out of fear, yet his decision haunted the singer as the biggest regret of his life, as he revealed in a 2002 Q&A with the Guardian. “Not going to meet Elvis with all the other guys after a show in Vegas,” he said when asked about his biggest regret. “The young Elvis was a hero of mine, and I didn’t want to burst the bubble.”
We can understand his fear. Think about it, your idol, who instilled a whole rock and roll spirit in you, might not be what you expect. All those formative years are shattering in your hand like glass. This can be a difficult and painful realization. Elvis held a really special place in Gillan’s heart. In another interview in 2012 with Elvis Australia, he even revealed that he thought Presley was the best rock and roll singer of all ages.
“It’s all very different,” he said when asked about the greatest rock singer. “I don’t think it’s a science, but if you were to ask me who had the greatest voice in rock music of all time, I would have to say a young Elvis Presley, without a doubt. He was the Pavarotti of rock music.”
Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll, changed the course of music history forever, so he rightfully earned the title of ‘the greatest’ over and over again. He was a trailblazer, a rebel, and a true original. His magnetic stage presence and distinctive voice captivated audiences. He was the first true rock and roll star, paving the way for countless artists who followed in his footsteps. Ian Gillan was one of those followers, as he became an idol of millions later on.