Sunday, August 2, 2009

Elvis Presley Remembered

Fans of Elvis Presley across the world will be pulling out all the stops at events to commemorate the 32nd anniversary of his death, come August 16. It was on this date in 1977 that Elvis passed away at the age of 42. There will of course be the candlelight vigil at Graceland in Memphis, United States of America where the King of Rock 'N' Roll was laid to rest. Thousands of fans will be flocking to Graceland for the pilgrimage that day. All over the world, Elvis impersonators will be coming out in full force to sing his songs and imitate his dance moves at many Elvis Tribute Artistes events. In the United States there is even an Elvis cruise which will sail from Tampa, Florida to Cozumel in Mexico.

Over here in Malaysia between fifteen to twenty of Malaysia's own Elvis Tribute Artistes will be gathering at the Ol Skool Bistro at 125 Jalan Gasing, Petaling Jaya, (telephone: 016-2066444) on August 16 to perform and pay homage to the greatest singer and entertainer of them all. Ol Skool Bistro, situated opposite the EPF Building is a favourite hangout and watering hole for the fans of Elvis. The tribute to Elvis has sort of become an annual event here. The festivities which will kick off at 3.00pm and continue till 3.00 am the next morning will bring together Elvis impersonators from Penang, Melaka, Seremban, Selangor and Sarawak who will be belting out the songs of Elvis from the 1950s to the 1970s.

I remembered that an Elvis Presley impersonation competition was held at the Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur a couple of months after Elvis passed on. The event attracted about a dozen Elvis wannabes. Rocky Teoh, the then reigning Elvis Presley of Malaysia, was there as a guest artiste. The contestants who took part in the competition were actually quite good. Not only did they sing like Elvis, some even looked like Elvis from afar! The competition was won by Eddie Francis who did a mean impression of the King. After Eddie won the competition, he received so many offers to perform at functions and events that he resigned from his job to become a full time Elvis impersonator.

Back then during the 1970s, there was an Elvis Presley Fan Club which had its headquarters at a bungalow at 1 Jalan Sultan Ismail in KL. I went once to this place to have a chat with William Honda Tan, the president of the club. William knew Elvis like the back of his hand and regaled me with interesting snippets about Elvis. He also showed me his collection of Elvis records. William used to organize bashes on the anniversary of Elvis's birth or death and he would often turn up at these functions in his jumpsuit complete with cape, scarve and sunglasses, a la Elvis. The bungalow at 1 Jalan Sultan Ismail is there no more. It was reported that William left the building sometime in the 1990s to join Elvis.

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> Elvis Presley And His Trademark Jumpsuits - Part 1

> Elvis Presley And His Trademark Jumpsuits - Part 2

> Chubby Checker's "The Twist" Named Top Song Of Billboard Hot 100 - Part 1

> Chubby Checker's "The Twist" Named Top Song Of Billboard Hot 100 - Part 2

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