- 25 May 21
The American music legend was his usual, hilariously candid self in a new interview, making references to Truman Capote, Michael Jackson, Marie Osmond and King of Rock 'n' Roll Elvis Presley.
Quincy Jones has revealed the reasons for refusing to work with Elvis Presley back in the '50s, citing racist behaviour from the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Three years ago, Jones' daughters reportedly staged an intervention into his "word vomit" interviews, and it seems the music icon still struggles to hold his tongue...
In an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the 88-year-old veteran musician and producer recalled an exchange he had with Elvis Presley.
When asked if he had ever worked with Elvis, Jones said, “No. I wouldn’t work with him.”
“I was writing for Tommy Dorsey, oh God, back then in the 1950s. And Elvis came in, and Tommy said, ‘I don’t want to play with him.’ He was a racist motherf—er. I’m going to shut up now,” Jones added.
He added that, “Every time I saw Elvis, he was being coached by Otis Blackwell, telling him how to sing.”
Blackwell previously mentioned to David Letterman that he and Presley had never met, so Jones’ exact memories and recollections may not be entirely accurate.
The topic of Presley’s prejudice came out of a widere conversation about Michael Jackson, after Jones recalled how the pop legend had studied other performers in order to prepare for The Wiz;
“He knew how to do his homework, whether it was with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly or whoever, James Brown. He was doing some Elvis copying, too. “The King of Pop,” man. Come on!”
Elsewhere, he recalled the bigotry of Truman Capote, saying, “I did In Cold Blood, man. He called Richard Brooks up, he said, ‘Richard, I can’t understand you using a Negro to write music to a film with no people of colour in it.’ Richard said, ‘Fuck you, he’s doing the score.’ I did, and I got nominated for an Oscar.”
Jones went on to discuss other instances of racism he battled in Hollywood over his career.
“They called me to do Gregory Peck’s Mirage in 1965 and I came out here. I was dressed in my favourite suit, and the producer came out to meet me at Universal,” Jones recalled. “He stopped in his tracks—total shock—and he went back and told music supervisor Joe Gershenson, ‘You didn’t tell me Quincy Jones was a Negro.’ They didn’t use Black composers in films.”
In other jawdropping moments from Jones over the years, he has lambasted Taylor Swift’s songwriting abilities, called The Beatles “no-playing motherf-ers,” and revealed that actor Marlon Brando and comedian Richard Pryor had once slept together, which Pryor’s widow later confirmed.
Jones' entertainment career spans over 70 years, with the star earning 80 Grammy Award nominations and winning 28.