Wednesday, May 7, 2008

It's Only Make-Believe

The myth of Elvis Presley looms large in popular culture. Not only did he play a key role in the birth of rock 'n' roll music--thereby forever changing the course of American history--Tupelo's most famous son became the embodiment of everything both glorious and tragic about stardom in the late 20th century. If the years since Presley's passing have taught us anything, it's that his legacy has only grown. He may have been massively, unprecedentedly popular before, but it was only in death that he could truly become a symbol, an icon to be worshipped and desecrated in equal measure. Nothing quite offers a testament to Presley's iconic status like the proliferation of impersonators who've flourished in the years since The King's death. No other performer has inspired this kind of tribute, or at least to such an enormous degree.

Looking at these impersonators, we might find that Presley's own tragic story is repeated in miniature, dozens of times over. At least in the case of one such artist--who perhaps ironically insisted he wasn't imitating Elvis--the story is arguably even more tragic and without a doubt far stranger...(more)