An excerpt from the book by Melody Sanders and June Moore
Tribute Artists are questioned about their feelings on the man they pay tribute too…
Some of the questions I posed on the "man" were simply answered by these entertainers with the honesty and love that any one of us would attach. What would draw me in like a bug to a light were the common parallel answers that they all shared traits with.
It wasn't simply that they loved Elvis, were raised with him on the most part, but they all held very strong beliefs that Elvis was "music".
On August 16th, 1977, fans of this Bigger-than-life icon would stand in shocked silence as waves of sadness and despair would envelope the strongest body. No matter whether you were young, old, male, or female, there were no boundaries of who was allowed to cry at the news that rocked an entire world! Oh yes, the memory of where they were, when it happened and what they were doing was still a wound that was freshly opened every year in August. Elvis Fans, friends, family, and the Elvis Artist would silently walk through the gates to pay their respects; some of the entertainers I interviewed have gone for years and others... Well they are just finally getting things in order so they can also go and feel the "home" Elvis called Graceland, while saying thanks for the music.
The common ground of the future Elvis Artist would take place on hearing Elvis tunes as a young lad, listening to mom play that Rock 'n Roll beat, and the shiny posters that came in the Showbiz magazine... Or Perhaps it was the family sitting around watching the "Boy meets Girl" Movies, maybe sharing the laughs of learning how to sing a few tunes with a buddy or trying to play the guitar with the help of your dad... It all had an impact! Could all of these things make a young boy's dream a reality?
Ronny McDowell would record a song after the Kings death that put that young boys dream into musical remembrance. "The King is Gone" would become a hit, and the Elvis artist would stand respectfully in silence, while listening to the words that would echo long after the year 1977.
If I Can Dream... a song that makes the artist feel the soul of their mentor, a favourite of many. Deep thoughts linger in this song, and so many can feel the emotions they relate to when they think of Elvis and his life.
His deep gift of humor and love was like a beacon drawing fans of all shapes sizes and age groups. When I asked Michael Vegas what he thought people admired about Elvis... Along with his good looks, voice and female following... Michael states, "All that and more let's face it... the man had Extreme Charisma, Christ Within".
This was the same type of answer that was often echoed in my interviews. Would the Elvis Artist like to have had the lifestyle that Elvis had? Many wrote, no... that they were happy with the lifestyle they already have. As Wally Tiemer said "I'm quite happy with my life. I am getting known but I still have the freedom to go out".
How many times did Elvis wish to go out? The sad truth is, more often then he had the chance. He didn't have the freedom...
"Walk a Mile in Their Shoes..." contains in-depth interviews with uncensored "straight from the heart" candor revealing today's world of Elvis Tribute Artists. "Walk a Mile in Their Shoes..." is now available in paper back and can be purchased online via the JuMel Publishing website.
Elvis Tribute Artists - Melody Sanders | Elvis Talk - June Moore
Walk a Mile in Their Shoes, text and graphics are the property of JuMel Publishing. Copyright 2002 JuMel Publishing. All rights reserved.