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18 April 2014 10:28 (South Africa)
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A brief look: the legend of Elvis, 34 years on

  • Theresa Mallinson
  • Media
elvis birthday

The Elvis Week commemorations held at Graceland this week seem far from graceful as Elvis impersonators – and Elvis Presley Enterprises – jostle for your attention, and money. By THERESA MALLINSON.

Where do people go when they die? The answer, these days, is the internet. The first site a quick Google of “Elvis Presley” and “alive” takes you to, contains the improbable fiction that: “Elvis Presley, the man, the myth, the legend, the king of rock-n-roll, IS ALIVE and working as an undercover agent for the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration).” Somehow, we don't think that's what Elvis would be doing if he hadn't kicked the bucket on 16 August 1972.

These days, the anniversary of Elvis Presley's death takes a whole week to commemorate. “Elvis Week” has been running since 6 August, with the highlight being a candlelit vigil at Graceland on Monday evening. While Graceland is fully owned by Elvis's daughter, Lisa-Marie Presley, the business side is operated by Elvis Presley Enterprises, in which she holds only a 25% stake. Predictably, Elvis Week has featured the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest Final on Friday night, won by 21-year-old Cody Slaughter, incongruously followed on Saturday morning by the “Elvis Presley 5km Run, Walk, Rock & Roll” event. Whatever the King would've made of the crazy fans gathering at his former home this week, it's hard to imagine him joining in on that one.

Saturday night presented “Elvis Presley LIVE – The King in Concert”. Sorry to disappoint all the conspiracy theorists out there, but the “LIVE” bit refers to the “hot studio session band and back-up vocalists” that took the stage. The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll joined in the proceedings via a voice recording. Still, it might've been more fun to attend than the Youth Karaoke sessions, where “children and youth ages two to 17 are invited to perform karaoke Elvis songs.”

If you ever want to make a pilgrimage to the “Presleytarian church of Elvis the Divine”, aka Graceland, mid-August probably isn't the right time to do so. Reading up on all the Elvis conspiracy theories on the internet promises more entertainment. For now, if you want to pay true homage to the King, simply have another listen to his music – as sung by Elvis himself, not an impersonator. DM


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Photo: Elvis Presley giant PEZ candy dispensers are displayed at the official Viva ELVIS store at the Aria hotel-casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, December 15, 2009. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcu

  • Theresa Mallinson
  • Media


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