Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Long Live the Kings!

Is there any musical figure who has imprinted himself more deeply on the American zeitgeist than Elvis Presley? I'm not talking about being successful, influencing other musicians, or being a mover and a shaker (no pun intended) in the world outside of the music industry; While Elvis certainly did all those things and more, you could make solid arguments that others were more important or influential... I am talking about achieving mythical cultural status. There are only a few people who have even come close, but to my mind none of them touch The King in terms of the breadth and depth of the impact on our collective unconscious.

Don't believe me? I hold up as my argument a selection of Elvis impersonators so culturally and musically diverse it makes my head spin. These are not hacks in a jumpsuit from the local goodwill... each and every one of them brings talent and drive and dedication to the stage. And while they would all, I think, be perfectly capable of having a career as themselves, they would rather serve The King with their talent.

Dread Zeppelin :: Hearbreaker

These guys, I admit, are a little schticky. But there is no denying that they are passionate about and inspired by Elvis, and having a hell of a good time in the process.

El Vez 'Mexican Elvis' :: En El Barrio

On a scale going from 'Impersonator' to 'Inspired By,' I think that El Vez is furthest toward 'Inspired By' in this particular group. Plus he gets a lot of points for taking a song that is awkward even in the language it was written in and making it work in translation.

The King :: Whole Lotta Rosie

I have already talked about The King, and while I hate to repeat myself, I think he is one of the best Elvis impersonators I have ever heard, and I could not in good conscience omit him here. Not to mention the fact that his whole album is 'Elvis' covering the songs of other artists that have shuffled off this mortal coil, well, I think that is deeply amusing. Whatever that says about me.

Metal Elvis :: Viva Las Vegas

When you got up this morning, I know you said to yourself, "Self, my life would be 110% better if there was a hard rock Elvis impersonator out there for me to listen to." It is icing on the cake that this is from 3000 Miles to Graceland, which, while not a great movie, does have thieves pulling a heist in Vegas dressed up as Elvis. Because, you know, then they blend in.

Robert Washington 'Black Elvis' :: Let It Be Me

This guy is just amazing.

Jelvis - The Jewish Elvis

I have no words for this one. Really. I'm speechless. I found this while looking up clips for the others. I had no idea he even existed before this. Speechless, I say.

And that, Gentle Readers, is my argument on this subject. Take or leave it as you will, but you cannot deny the talent on display.


Boo said...

Don't forget Renelvis, the Filipino Elvis impersonator!

Jez said...

And while mentioning Filipinos, don't forget the Filipino Steve Perry impersonator who is now singing for Journey.