Elvis Presley Timeline: 1965

A historical Elvis Presley timeline of dates and important events

Here's a handy database of dates and events in Elvis Presley's life during 1965. You can also find out what else Elvis was up to in 1965 and in all the years of his life.

January 8: Elvis turns 30, an event not unnoticed by several Memphis newspapers, who wonder if this, especially in the light of the British Invasion, isn't the end of an era. For his part, The King celebrates quietly with Priscilla and family at Graceland.


February 24: After 38 frustrating, listless takes of a terrible song called "Shake Your Tambourine," Elvis leaves the Memphis recording sessions for his 19th film, Harum Scarum. Elvis is quite vocal about his dissatisfaction with the latest batch of songs given him. Noting this, the Colonel moves Presley's medical checkup to Memphis in order to keep him away from Hollywood as long as possible.
March 5: A milestone in Elvis' personal life. While driving to Los Angeles to begin work on his latest film, the singer tells Larry Geller that he feels their recent religious studies haven't produced a bonafide religious "experience." Not long after, Elvis pulls over and runs into the middle of the desert when he sees a cloud formation that looks like Russian dictator Josef Stalin. As he watches, it turns into a face Elvis interprets as that of Jesus Christ. As Geller recalls it in Peter Guralnick's acclaimed book Careless Love:
"It's God!" Elvis cried. "It's God!" Tears streamed down his face as he hugged me tightly and said, "...I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You got me here. I'll never forget, never, man. It really happened. I saw the face of Stalin and I thought to myself, Why Stalin? Is it a projection of something that's inside of me? Is God trying to show me what he thinks of me? And then it happened! The face of Stalin turned right into the face of Jesus, and he smiled at me, and every fiber of my being felt it... Oh, God. Oh, God," Elvis kept saying. Then he paused and added a peculiar aside. "Can you imagine what the fans would think if they saw me like this?"
"They'd only love you all the more," Geller said.
"Yeah," he said, "Well, I hope that's true."

Visibly shaken, he resumes the trip, although most of the Memphis Mafia are skeptical about the validity of this "sign."
March 15: Elvis begins filming Harum Scarum.

He also rehires Joe Esposito.
March 17: Presley joins a religious group based in Pacific Palisades, CA, called the Self-Realization Fellowship, led by Sri Daya Mata, whom Elvis will turn to for spiritual guidance on and off for the rest of his life. Elvis asks Mata, whom he came to call "Mother," the question that had been troubling him: "Why did God make me Elvis Presley?" and Mata responds by giving him some ancient literature.


Elvis tells a fellow initiate that "People don't know my life or that I sometimes cry myself to sleep because I don't know God." Later, Elvis reportedly tells a friend: "I know some of the things that I think are kind of far out...and I don't meet a lot of people that I can relate to, and those that I do meet that need to know more about their spiritual selves, I do the best that I can, but I would like to be in a position to reach these people that are out there, I know that, and I can't get in that position. My career won't allow it, my management won't allow it, my friends won't allow it... I've been fortunate in that I can, if I read something that somebody has written, and I'm intrigued by it, or I need to know more, I can contact them, and chances are, they'll respond because of who I am, and that's good because it's helped me, and in helping me, they've helped other people, but I have this need for more, and its driving me crazy, it's driving me crazy. I'm going to be a blundering fool if I don't solve this somehow. I don't know, maybe time will straighten it out. Time has a way of doing that, you know."
April 4: Elvis sees Jerry Schilling's new Triumph motorcycle and immediately buys one for every member of the Mafia, including himself.


April 19: With production already completed on Harum Scarum, Elvis stays on in Los Angeles to await the filming of his next movie.
May 12: During the recording of the soundtrack for his 20th film, Frankie and Johnny, Elvis, clearly angered by the material, blows up at the musicians and storms out of the studio. The band continues to lay down tracks without him; Elvis returns and does the vocals the next day.
May 24: Elvis begins filming Frankie and Johnny.
June 18: The final cut of Harum Scarum is screened for studio executives, and the Colonel, aghast, declares "It would take a fifty-fifth cousin to P.T. Barnum to sell this picture... The best thing to do is to book it fast, get the money, then try again."
June 24: Elvis does some publicity stills for Frankie and Johnny and attends a special on-set ceremony where he contributes $50,000 to the Motion Picture Relief Fund, which helps out-of-work actors.

Frank Sinatra and Barbara Stanwyck are presenters.
June 26th: The Colonel turns 56, for which Elvis presents him with an electric golf cart.
July 7th: Having heard of the religious experiences some are having while taking (the still legal) LSD, Elvis talks Mafia members Red West, Sonny West, and Alan Fortas into taking the drug, and also has marijuana brownies made for the gang, though he himself does not partake.
July 20th: The Colonel, still distressed by the results of Harum Scarum, suggests having the film narrated by a talking camel, so that audiences will think the movie is intentionally stupid. The studio declines his suggestion.
August 2: Elvis arrives a week late at Paramount Studios to begin work on his 21st film, Paradise, Hawaiian Style.
August 5: The Mafia, with Elvis, show up in Hawaii two days early for location shooting.
August 15: While in Hawaii, Elvis, Vernon and the Colonel visit the USS Arizona, bombed in Pearl Harbor, and place there a wreath of 1,177 carnations -- one for each man on the ship as it went down. Tom Moffat, disc jockey for KPOI in Hawaii, arranges for Herman's Hermits lead singer Peter Noone to interview the King live from his bungalow. "Who's your favorite group?" Noone asks. "The Boston Pops," Elvis replies, laughing.

August 16: Dave Dexter, head of Capitol Records, sends a telegram to Elvis inviting him to Los Angeles for a cocktail party in the Beatles' honor. He sends no reply.
August 27: The Colonel contacts Brian Epstein to let him know that Elvis will agree to meet the Beatles in his Los Angeles mansion on Perugia Way. When the group arrive, stoned on marijuana, The King is in the darkened living room, surrounded by his entourage, sitting on an L-shaped couch, looking at the TV with the sound off, fooling around on a bass guitar. "Hi, Elvis," says the group, almost all at once. "Hey, you guys want a drink?" Elvis offers.
The four sit down to watch TV with Elvis and are taken with his early-model remote control, still a novelty. The group is also thrilled by the King's pool table, and plays a few games with the Mafia, while Presley's jukebox plays Charlie Rich's "Mohair Sam" over and over. Priscilla is presented to the group and then quickly whisked away, dressed, according to Paul, "in a purple gingham dress, with a gingham bow in her very beehive hair, with lots of makeup."
Awed somewhat by each other's presence, conversation does not come easily, but John thinks to ask if Elvis is working on a new movie. "I sure am," he replies. "I play a country boy with a guitar who meets a few gals along the way, and I sing a few songs." "We all looked at one another," remembers John. "Finally Presley and Colonel Parker laughed and explained that the only time they departed from that formula - for Wild in the Country - they lost money."
Paul offers to give Elvis some lessons on the bass; the group eventually falls into a very informal, brief, and anticlimactic jam session. Everyone seems pleased with the experience, however: John Lennon, upon leaving, tells Jerry Schilling to make sure Elvis knows that "if it hadn’t been for him, the Beatles would be nothing."
September 11: The Colonel tells a Memphis newspaper that "sooner or later, someone is going to have to take over the reins" regarding his client's recent unprofessional behavior.
October 1: Having completed filming on Paradise, Hawaiian Style the previous day, Elvis and his entourage head back to Memphis.
October 7: Construction is completed on Graceland's Meditation Garden, inspired by the Self-Realization group's own park in Pacific Palisades. Cost: $21,000.
October 21: Bill Black, the bass player on Elvis' legendary Sun Records sides, dies of a brain tumor at Memphis' Baptist Hospital. The local newspaper The Memphis Commercial Appeal quotes the King as saying, "He was a great man and and a person everyone loved. This comes as such a shock to me that I can hardly explain how much I loved Bill." Elvis, fearing a scene, does not attend the funeral, but sends Vernon and his second wife, Dee, in his place.
October 22: The Colonel manages to get Elvis' RCA contract extended to 1972, despite a serious recent slump in record sales.
December 7: As he does every holiday season, Elvis donates $50,000 to local charities.
December 14: Elvis buys a number of jewelry items for Christmas presents, including personalized gold watches, diamond rings, and bracelets.
December 25: Knowing how much he loves the hobby since being introduced to it in L.A., Priscilla's Christmas gift to Elvis is a slot-car racetrack; mindful of his recent experience, the Memphis Mafia's 1965 gift is a statue of Jesus that Elvis immediately has placed in the Meditation Garden. It remains there to this day.
December 28: Elvis, surrounded by friends including Larry Geller, "drops" LSD for the first time, joined by Priscilla. After staring at each other's distorted faces, the tropical fish in his aquarium, and, the next day, at dew drops on the breathing grass, both decide that they'd be risking their sanity to try the drug again.
December 31: Elvis rings in 1966 at Memphis' Manhattan Club in a semi-private affair.