Fact Check

Did 12-Year-Old Jimi Hendrix Make Crayon Drawing of Elvis Presley After Seeing Him Perform?

While it's been claimed the two musical icons never met, a drawing shared across the internet spoke to Presley's profound impact on a young Hendrix.

Published April 13, 2024

Updated April 15, 2024
 ( Getty Images)
Image courtesy of Getty Images
A real drawing created by a 12-year-old Jimi Hendrix depicts Elvis Presley, who Hendrix had seen perform live in concert.
What's True

It's true that the drawing was created by Jimi Hendrix and does depict Elvis Presley.

What's False

However, Hendrix was at least 14, not 12 years old, when he created the artwork.

Jimi Hendrix and Elvis Presley are undisputed icons and originators of American rock 'n' roll. While it's been claimed the two musical greats never crossed paths, a piece of artwork that has been shared across blogs and social media suggests Presley had a profound impact on Hendrix, potentially even inspiring him to pick up the guitar and learn how to play at age 15, according to the timeline. 

The notepad drawing, posted multiple times across XReddit, Pinterest and Instagram, was purportedly created by a 12-year-old Hendrix after he saw Presley perform live in concert. The artwork was indeed created by Hendrix when he was young, and we can confirm that the figure depicted in the drawing is Elvis Presley.


On Sept. 1, 1957, "The King," as Presley was affectionately known, played an outdoor concert in Hendrix's hometown at Seattle's Sick's Stadium. Hendrix was 14 years old at the time, not 12 as many posters have suggested. Multiple reports relay how Hendrix couldn't afford the price of the $1.50 concert ticket, so decided to listen to Presley's performance from atop a hill outside the venue, where he could sketch what he could see from a distance and listen from afar. 

The full-color drawing created by Hendrix depicted the side profile of a male musician with blond hair strumming a guitar. Hendrix reportedly took notes as he listened to the performance that night, and the words surrounding the figure in the drawing were reported to be the setlist Hendrix heard. 

Snopes received confirmation from Bob Merlis, who handles public relations for Experience Hendrix — the company that officially manages the guitarist's legacy and archive — that the drawing is "[Hendrix's] rendering of Elvis surrounded by song titles associated with Elvis at that time," and that the future guitar icon "drew it and he did, in fact, hear Elvis perform in Seattle at Sick's Stadium on September 1, 1957."

Merlis added that the drawing "is now back in Seattle at the vault maintained by Experience Hendrix, LLC."

According to the Elvis Presley fan club Elvis Australia, "Young Hendrix was particularly fond of Elvis Presley; the color drawing ... showing Elvis wielding a guitar, was made by an impressionable 15-year-old Hendrix two months after attending Presley's concert at Sick's Stadium on September 1, 1957, as a follow up to his note taking there, during the concert itself, in which he wrote down the entire line-up of songs he heard Presley sing that night."

Many online commenters have pointed out how much the musician depicted in the picture resembled presidential candidate Donald Trump rather than Presley, due to the figure's shock of blond hair.

"Lowkey thought it was Trump," wrote one Reddit poster upon viewing the drawing, while another responded, "Donald Trump on a good hair day."

In reality, Presley was born with blond hair. However, when he started to achieve fame as a musician, he began to experiment with his natural color in the late 1950s, and opted to dye his fair hair black, initially using shoe polish.

While several blogs and social media posts insisted that the figure in the Hendrix drawing was Presley, they also claimed that it had been exhibited at different museums, so we set out to confirm the figure in the artwork through archival sources.

Snopes spoke to a rep from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, who confirmed that while it had received many artifacts to display from the Graceland Archives, this particular artwork did not come from the Presley vault.

The music website Rock and Roll Globe claimed the artwork was exhibited as part of "Bold As Love: Jimi Hendrix at Home" at Seattle's Northwest African American Museum (NAAM), which ran from 2018–2019 and pulled artifacts from the Hendrix family archives. Jimi's stepsister, Janie Hendrix, presently sits on the board of directors at NAAM and is also the CEO of Experience Hendrix and Authentic Hendrix, the online merchandise store.

"Now people think that's Trump!" she told the Rock and Roll Globe in 2019, referring to the drawing. "But it's not. That's actually Elvis."

Snopes reached out to NAAM, but received no immediate reply. We will update this story if we hear back.

Snopes also reached out to the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, which said that while it does not own the image, "It has been featured in one of our Hendrix exhibitions," but offered no additional information.

So, while we do have confirmation that the drawing was created by Hendrix after seeing Presley perform live in Seattle, he was not 12 years old as had been reported, but 14 or 15 when the artwork was completed.

Snopes has previously reported on Hendrix and the conspiracy that he faked his own death, as well as the wild claim that the body of a homeless man was really that of Presley.


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"To Celebrate the Release of If I Can Dream, a New Album Which Sees 14 of Elvis's Classics Songs Reworked with Help from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (You Can Preview and Purchase It on the Right-Hand Side of the Page), We Thought We'd Have Some Fun and Dig out Some of the Best Facts about The King, so Here Are 10 Things You Didn't Know about Elvis Presley…." HMV Store, https://hmv.com/blog/music/10-things-you-didn-t-know-about-elvis-presley. Accessed 11 Apr. 2024.

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On April 15, 2024, this article was updated to include confirmation that the subject of the drawing was indeed Elvis Presley; the rating was changed from Research in Progress to Mostly True.

Nikki Dobrin is based in Los Angeles and has previously worked at The Walt Disney Company, as well as written and edited for People, USA Today and The Hill.