Quincy Jones says he wouldn't work with Elvis because he was racist.
“No. I wouldn’t work with him," Jones told the publication.
He explained: “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.”
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Jones also recalled another instance of racism he dealt with during his career while working on the 1965 film, Mirage.
“They called me to do Gregory Peck’s ‘Mirage’ and I came out here. I was dressed in my favorite suit, and the producer came out to meet me at Universal,” Jones explained. “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.”
Jones produced Michael Jackson's Off the Wall (1979), Thriller (1982), and Bad (1987), as well as numerous other hit records. He has been awarded 28 Grammys.