Looking Back on the Legacy of the King
by Boze Hadleigh
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Pub Date 16 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 23 Jan 2022
Is Elvis the most charismatic star ever? What else accounts for his continuing global appeal and media presence, his allure to music lovers of all ages and to fans whose pilgrimages to Graceland make it the most-visited private residence in the USA?
Presley's estate now earns more annually than when Elvis was alive. He died at 42, close on half a century ago, but new generations keep discovering him. He rocks and rolls on and on, not necessarily as a movie star—he was the first to dismiss his 31-film output—but as the top-selling singer in history, a pop-culture icon, an ageless sex symbol and a mythic figure who inspires intense, even fanatical devotion (e.g., the First Presbyterian Church of Elvis the Divine). When Elvis died there were some 170 Elvis imitators. A quarter-century later there were an estimated 85,000 Elvis "tribute artists," including a popular Chinese Elvis in London and a gay Mexican American, El Vez, whose re-tooled song performances include "You Ain't Nothin' But a Chihuahua." There are even Elvis performances in "heaven"—some years ago two groups of skydiving impersonators, the Flying Elvises and the Flying Elvis, sued each other in federal court.
Elvis Forever offers possibly the most revealing and rounded close-up look yet at the King. The frank, often bold, sometimes shocking or surprising quotes from insiders and outsiders, peers, costars, friends, employees and famous fans took over two decades to collect and cover every phase of the life and legacy of the magnetic man from Memphis.