“No. I wouldn’t work with him,” said Jones when asked if he would work with Presley.
“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,” he spilled.
Quincy Jones isn’t the first person to accuse Elvis Presley of being a racist, and it was revealed that his biggest hit, “Hound Dog” was actually stolen from a Black woman named Big Mama Thornton.
The living legend spoke about his time working with Billie Holiday when he was a teenager, and shared the biggest lesson that she taught him.
“Oh my God, stay away from heroin,” said Jones. “She could barely get to the stage, man. She could barely walk on the stage, but Bobby Tucker was like my brother. He eventually became the music director for Billie. When she came out, we were so awestruck by her, we forgot to play the horn. He said, “Goddammit, read the music, man. Play the horns!” We were 14 years old. Come on, man. Billie Holiday.”
Andra Day recently portrayed the Jazz singer in the biopic The United States vs. Billie Holiday, and many fans feel like she was snubbed of the 2021 Best Actress award that she was nominated for.
Quincy, who has lived throughout many eras in this country, was asked about former officer Derek Chauvin being found guilty for the murder of George Floyd.
“It’s been coming a long time, man. 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. These racists, oh my God. Asians? How the hell do you get mad at an Asian girl?”