During a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Quincy Jones sat down and talked about music and gave his thoughts on Elvis Presley, Billie Holiday, and George Floyd’s protests.
During the interview, Jones said, “No. I wouldn’t work with him,” when asked if he would have worked with Elvis 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,” spilled Jones.
Rumors have long circulated that Presley was racist.
As for Holiday, the 88-year-old legend says he started working with her when he was only 14 and that he learned an invaluable lesson.
“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.”
Jones also spoke on the George Floyd case and gave his opinion on protesters.
“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?”