Quincy Jones has taken aim at one of the biggest musicians of all time, Elvis Presley, and labelled him racist.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter as part of their new Icon series the American record producer also said that he would never work with Presley.
Jones compared Presley to Micheal Jackson while recalling the filming of the 1978 film The Wiz. in a former interview and was asked about this by the outlet. His response was jarring.
“[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 about why he wouldn’t work with Presley, Jones added: “I was writing for [orchestra leader] Tommy Dorsey, oh God, back then in the ’50s. 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.” Otis Blackwell is a songwriter, singer, and pianist of African American descent.
Jones produced Micheal Jackson’s all-time best-selling album Thriller in 1982 and was one of the first African Americans to hold a top executive position at a major American record label.
He, understandably, has strong feelings about the Black Lives Matter movement that has taken place recently.
He was asked by The Hollywood Reporter about the protests across the world that came about following George Floyd’s death last year.
“It’s been coming a long time, man,” Jones said. “People have been turning their heads the other way, but it’s all the same to me — misogyny, racism.
“You have to be taught how to hate somebody. It doesn’t come naturally, I don’t think. I don’t think so, unless you’ve been trained. I just think it’s such a bad habit.”
It’s not the first time Jones has shared a controversial opinion in an interview with the press. In 2018 he called The Beatles “the worst musicians in the world”.
For more on this topic head to the Rock Observer.