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Elvis Wanted To Be A Government Spook

July 11, 1997 12:00 AM ET

Elvis Presley wanted to be an FBI informant, according to his FBI file, which was recently placed on the Bureau's Web site (www.fbi.gov). Presley told the FBI in 1971 that he had been ``approached by individuals and groups in and outside of the entertainment business whose motives and goals he is convinced are not in the best interests of this country.''

The memo said that "Presley indicated that he is of the opinion that the Beatles laid the groundwork for many of the problems we are having with young people by their filthy, unkempt appearances and suggestive music ... He advised that the Smothers Brothers, Jane Fonda and other persons in the entertainment industry of their ilk have a lot to answer for in the hereafter for the way they have poisoned young minds by disparaging the United States in their public statements and unsavory activities.''

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, however, refused to meet with Presley. "Presley's sincerity and good intentions notwithstanding, he is certainly not the type of individual whom the director would wish to meet,'' an FBI memo noted. "(Presley) is wearing his hair down to his shoulders and indulges in the wearing of all sorts of exotic dress.''

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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