On This Day in 1976: Bruce Springsteen Scaled a Wall at Graceland While Trying to Meet Elvis Presley

Bruce Springsteen is a huge Elvis Presley fan, but he never got to meet the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. It wasn’t for lack of trying, though. On the evening of April 29, 1976, the Boss made a daring attempt to come face-to-face with Presley. Springsteen jumped over the wall of the music legend’s Graceland estate.

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Springsteen recounted the story during a 2019 appearance on the U.K. chat show The Graham Norton Show.

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He recalled that the E Street Band had played a concert in Memphis that night. Springsteen said he and Steven Van Zandt had wanted to find an all-night diner afterward. At about 3 a.m., they got in a taxi and asked the driver if he knew of any diners in the area.

“The taxi cab [driver] says, ‘Yeah, there’s one right out by Elvis’s house,’” Bruce shared. “[I said,] ‘Elvis’s house?! You know where Elvis lives? Take us there, right now.’”

Springsteen said the taxi driver took him and Van Zandt to Graceland, and he got out of the cab.

[RELATED: Bruce Springsteen Thanks U.S. Audiences, Playfully Warns European Fans, “We’re Coming to Get Ya!”]

“I saw there was some lights on in the house, ’cause you could see the house wasn’t far up the drive,” Springsteen remembered. “Gates were locked, [there was a] stone wall, and I looked at Steve, I said, ‘Steve, I’m going in.’”

Springsteen’s Failed Attempt to Meet the King

The Boss said the cab driver tried to talk him out of his quest, telling him, “They got big dogs over there. Don’t go over that wall.”

Springsteen had made up his mind, though, noting, “I said, ‘Well, when’s the opportunity gonna come again?’ I jumped over the wall, ran up the drive, got to the front door.”

The New Jersey rocker said he was bout to knock on the door when “a security guy came out of the bushes, and he said, ‘Can I help you?’”

Springsteen remembered that he casually replied, “Yes, is Elvis here?” to which the guard responded, “Well, Elvis is in Las Vegas.”

At the time of Springsteen’s Memphis show, he had been experiencing an early taste of fame thanks to the critical acclaim for and popularity of his 1975 Born to Run album.

With that in mind, Bruce remembered telling the guard, “Okay, well, can you tell [Elvis] … that Bruce Springsteen was here. And he may not know who that is, but I was just on the cover of Time and Newsweek [magazines].”

Springsteen recalled that guard said he’d relay the message to Presley, “and he came down and walked me out and let me out.” He added, “That’s as close as I ever got to Elvis Presley.”

Host Graham Norton’s other guests on the episode were Robert De Niro, Paul Rudd, and Sienna Miller.

About the Song Springsteen Wrote for Elvis to Record

In 1977, Springsteen saw Presley in concert in Philadelphia. The moment inspired him to write a song he hoped Elvis would record. The song was “Fire,” and Springsteen sent Presley a demo recording of the tune. Sadly, Elvis died before he received it. Presley passed away of a heart attack on August 16, 1977. He was 42.

Springsteen’s Upcoming Tour Plans

Springsteen and the E Street Band’s will continue their 2024 tour with a European leg that runs from May 5 through July 27.

The Boss and his group will then mount a second 2024 U.S. leg in August and September, followed by a Canadian trek that runs from late October to late November. Visit BruceSpringsteen.net to check out his full itinerary.

Tickets for Springsteen’s concerts are available via a variety of outlets, including StubHub.

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