Elvis Presley Impersonators Reflect on His Legacy 40 Years After His Death
Elvis Presley‘s August 16th, 1977, death still has reverberations that span generations and nationalities. Every year, impersonators gather to celebrate The King and reminisce about his far-reaching influence in both music and pop culture at large.
This year, impersonators and fans traveled to Manila to commemorate the 40th anniversary of his death via the Elvis Presley Friendship Club, Philippines International.
“He crossed over black music roots to, you know, to all nationalities,” Ramon Jacinto, a TV host and founder of Philippine rock ‘n’ roll radio station DZRJ, told The Associated Press. “Even the Beatles were influenced by Elvis. Everybody was influenced. He was the real example of an out-of-the-box showman. And he wiggled, he had a different style of singing from the time of Frank Sinatra. … He opened the door to carefree rock ‘n’ roll and the attitude.”
The Elvis Presley Friendship Club is just one of over 400 official fan clubs around the world that are paying tribute to the late icon – his greatest, most ubiquitous hits include “All Shook Up,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” and “Hound Dog” – on the 40th anniversary of his death.
Filipina Anjeanette Japor, a singer, told the AP that Presley’s influence is still palpably evident in many of today’s biggest artists.
“In the music industry, the songs of Elvis remain a classic,” she said. “Like Bruno Mars, he has a lot of rock ‘n’ roll songs. Most of them originated from the legends, one of which is Elvis. So I think his songs still have a great impact to the music we have nowadays. There are a lot of songs actually that were sung by Elvis that are being covered right now. And that gives a modern twist to the song. So because of that, Elvis continues to live with the music.”
According to Forbes, Presley and current pop superstar Ed Sheeran are currently neck-and-neck on the U.K. Official Albums Chart Update this week; Presley’s The 50 Greatest Hits is currently in the lead (above Sheeran’s Divide) for Friday’s No.1 spot.
Each year, more than 600,000 people flock to Presley’s home in Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee, to take photos and leave mementos at his gravesite in honor of the singer. Tens of thousands of fans are expected to make their way to a Tuesday night candlelight vigil at the legend’s estate, according to local station LocalMemphis.com.
Prior to the vigil, people will visit the wall outside of Graceland to leave their signatures in tribute.