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"Elvis Presley is the greatest cultural force in the 20th century."

(Leonard Bernstein)


"If you're an Elvis fan, no explanation is necessary; If you're not an Elvis fan, no explanation is possible."

(George Klein)


"For a dead man, Elvis Presley is awfully noisy."

(Professor Gilbert B. Rodman)



"Absolute id crashed into absolute superego...as the uptightset man in America shook hands with just about the loosest."

(Mark Feeney on the 'Elvis meets Nixon' meeting)


"Elvis is everywhere"

(Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper)


"...especially in the South, they talk about Elvis and Jesus in the same breath"

(Michael Ventura, LA Weekly)


"The image is one thing and the human being is another...it's very hard to live up to an image"


(Elvis Presley, Madison Square Garden press conference, 1972)


"Elvis was a major hero of mine. I was actually stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something"

(David Bowie)


"No-one, but no-one, is his equal, or ever will be. He was, and is supreme"

(Mick Jagger)


"I wasn't just a fan, I was his brother...there'll never be another like that soul brother"

(Soul legend, James Brown)


"Before Elvis there was nothing!"

(John Lennon)


"There were rock 'n' roll records before Heartbreak Hotel, but this was the one that didn't just open the door…it literally blasted the door off its rusted, rotten, anachronistic hinges...producing, no propelling, a fundamental, primordial and unstoppable shift in not only musical, but social, political and cultural history"

(JNP, BBC website)


"Elvis, the musician, is largely a relic belonging to the baby boomer generation...Elvis, the icon, is arguably one of the most potent symbols of popular culture"

( Dr. John Walker)


"It [rock & roll] was always about Elvis; not just because he was Elvis, but because he was the big star"

(Bono from U2)


"If they had let me on white radio stations back then, there never would have been an Elvis"

(Little Richard)


"Elvis loved opera, and he especially liked Mario Lanza. He would watch The Student Prince which was set in Heidelberg, over and over again. He loved the power of the big voices. And he loved big orchestras. He liked real dramatic things"

(Marty Lacker in 'Elvis and the Memphis Mafia')


"If life was fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead"

(Johnny Carson)

Elvis' #1 Pop Singles on Cashbox, USA:

Heartbreak Hotel (1956)

Don't Be Cruel (1956)

Hound Dog (1956)

Love Me Tender (1956)

Too Much (1957)

All Shook Up (1957)

Teddy Bear (1957)

Jailhouse Rock (1957)

Don't (1958)

Stuck On You (1960)

It's Now Or Never (1960)

Are You Lonesome Tonight? (1960)

Surrender (1961)

Good Luck Charm (1962)

Return To Sender (1962)

In The Ghetto (1969)

Suspicious Minds (1969)

Burning Love (1972)

(The Cashbox chart is now defunct)

Elvis Facts:

Elvis was 5' 11" tall


Elvis' natural hair color was dark blond


Elvis' blood type was O Positive


Elvis' shoe size was 11D


One of Elvis'( maternal) ancestors, Morning White Dove (born 1800, died 1835), was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian


Elvis' uncle, Noah Presley, became Mayor of East Tupelo on January 7, 1936


The Presley family moved to Memphis on November 6, 1948


Elvis was issued a Social Security card in September 1950 with the # 409-52-2002


In 1954 some of the shows played by Elvis & The Blue Moon Boys were at the Overton Park Shell; the Bel-Air Club; Sleepy-Eyed John's Eagle's Nest Club and the Louisiana Hayride


Elvis' first manager was Scotty Moore, then Bob Neal, before signing with Colonel Tom Parker


The first DJ to play an Elvis record was Fred Cook (WREC), not Dewey Phillips (WHBQ). However, Dewey had the distinction of being the first DJ to play an Elvis record in its entirety


Elvis once dated famous stripper, Tempest Storm


Elvis was filmed from the waist up only during his 3rd and final appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show


In the 50s Elvis was friendly with rising stars, Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner and Ty (Bronco Lane) Hardin


Gladys Presley was 46 years old when she died, not 42, as many books suggest


The Roustabout album sold 450,000 copies on its initial release, 150,000 copies more than any of the preceding three soundtrack LPs. It was Elvis' last "soundtrack" album to reach #1 on the major album charts in the US


Elvis received $1m for filming Harum Scarum (aka Harum Holiday). The film grossed around $2m in the US


Elvis and Priscilla married on May 1, 1967


They were officially divorced on October 9, 1973


Elvis earns nearly $3.5m in 1968 and pays just over $1.4m in income tax


Elvis' return to live performing in Las Vegas on July 31, 1969 was in front of an "by invitation only" audience. Stars in attendance included Wayne Newton, Petula Clark, Shirley Bassey, Burt Bacharach and Angie Dickinson


On January 9, 1971, the national Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) announced Elvis as one of "The Top Ten Young Men of the Year". Elvis spoke at the official awards ceremony on January 16


"Elvis: Aloha From Hawai" made entertainment history on January 14, 1973, when it was beamed around the world by satellite. In the Philippines it drew 91% of the audience, in Hong Kong 70%. The viewing audience was estimated at more than 1 billion


For his 4 week Hilton Vegas season in August 1973 Elvis received $610,000

Sales of Elvis' 1973 album, Raised On Rock, were less than 200,000 units on its initial release


Elvis paid $2,959,000 in income tax in 1973


In December 1976 Elvis was sworn in as a special deputy sheriff of Shelby County (Memphis) by Sheriff Gene Barksdale


Elvis' final live concert was in Indianapolis on June 26, 1977

When Elvis died, he and his father Vernon, were embroiled in an FBI investigation called Operation Fountain Pen

More than 1,500 books have been published about The King in more than 30 languages


At Dec 2005 Elvis' biggest selling album in the US is the budget priced, Elvis' Christmas Album, with accredited sales of 9 million units (fingers crossed it reaches 10 million to give Elvis his first "Diamond" award)


By early2006, Sony BMG's "collectors label", Follow That Dream, had released more than 50 Elvis CDs


During the 1980s, tour guides at Graceland stated that Elvis' biggest selling album (globally) was Moody Blue, with sales exceeding 14 million


While Sony BMG estimates Elvis' global sales exceed 1 billion, the company is unable to substantiate this figure. Accredited sales worldwide are estimated to be less than 400 million
















































































































































































































































































Following Elvis...is it religion?

The concept of Elvis as a form of religion is one which confronts and confuses. In this section EIN presents a diverse series of writings which we hope wlil help fans understand why scholars are now examining fan worship of Elvis as a growing religion.

Many fan's worship is rich in religious imagery, motif and ritual but these are only the surface symbols of interest in Elvis as a form of religion. When one researches the growth and structures of orthodox and unorthodox religions throughout history, one begins to realise the parallels between religion and how many follow Elvis.

"Elvis as religion" is a complex, but intriguing and stimulating area for contemplation.

The Cult of Elvis......the King of Rock 'n' Roll died for our sins! added July 2008

Confessions of a girl who didn't worship Elvis

I'm all shook up. It never occurred to me that my friend might have been involved in some alternative religion, or that she was trying to draw me in. As I knelt beside her to watch Elvis 45s spin 'round and 'round on her portable record player, was I unwittingly joining her in a ritual? Was the rapture I saw in her face worship of a deity? Did I somehow edge her toward a deeper faith in Elvis by my presence in her sanctum? Am I to repent of something now, decades later? Should she recant?

I always thought my 9-year-old friend's infatuation with Elvis was just a rite of passage, not a real rite. I saw her adoration of him fanciful fan behavior. Am I now to believe that it was religious fanaticism?

I don't know, but I do confess that I did not share her love of Elvis. It wasn't because I rejected the whole rock 'n' roll doctrine; I just didn't get it. After all, The Beatles hadn't yet appeared to say they were more popular than Jesus. "Stairway to Heaven," not yet on the airwaves, would only have made me think of the steep steps at the front of my church.

I can't recall my pastor at that time ranting against Elvis or any other musician. I don't remember any drive in my little town to cast rock 'n' roll records into a lake of fire. Or maybe I was too interested at the time in Nancy Drew mysteries and "Perry Mason" episodes to notice. So if I pushed my friend deeper into a heresy by my passive response, I am sorry. I was only 10 or so.

Our visions didn't focus: I do remember feeling confused that I didn't share her vision of Elvis. I don't know if she failed to expound it properly to me or if I couldn't hear it for "Hound Dog" blasting as loud as the little speakers could go. I must have shown rejection when she introduced me to her passion, because I don't remember her playing Elvis records for me again.

By the time, years later, that I had a sort of epiphany of my own and turned into a follower of a long-haired band (the eminent Paul Revere and the Raiders), Elvis, even in shades and long sideburns, seemed like a prophet without honor in his own country.

My friend, perhaps, turned into a secret Elvis believer while I venerated for a while one of the many who displaced him. Wherever you are, old friend, I sort of hope you don't regret batting your eyes at the poster of Elvis on your wall. You and your idol were young. If that was worship, the King would forgive. (Source: The Decatur Daily - Religion, 21 Aug 2006)

Elvis fans also converts?

Are followers of Elvis religion living next door? Are believers in Presleyterianism shopping at flea markets with us? Michael Dean of Decatur, who makes his living as an Elvis tribute artist, said he’s not encountered fans who see Elvis as their savior.

“They wouldn’t elevate him to the place of deity, but some have him at a place in their minds where they are highly offended if anyone says anything negative about him,” said Dean. He will perform “Elvis Remembered” at Princess Theatre Center for the Performing Arts on Aug. 26.

He likened their attitude to loyalty, as for a family member above criticism by outsiders. Dean said he’s been at Graceland for a previous Elvis Week and sat in a lawn chair to watch the candlelight processional to Elvis’ grave. To him, it was entertainment, not a religious rite. But Dean, who has performed in Las Vegas and does a half dozen shows a month, said some rabid fans see Elvis as “more than most of us.”

A few Elvis tribute singers push their imitation too far, taking on the persona off-stage, said Sandy Moore Bartlett of Athens, who has served as president of a now inactive Elvis fan club. She couldn’t think of any fans acting like Elvis is really divine, but she knew a woman who claimed she’d been married to Elvis. Bartlett said she loves Elvis’ music, especially his gospel recordings. She attended his Huntsville concert.

“He was the ultimate in those days,” she said.

Bartlett recruited Dean, who is a friend, to sing “Can’t Help Falling in Love” at her wedding. Elvis didn’t like being compared to a god, according to some researchers. In “E: Reflections on the Birth of the Elvis Faith,” the author, John Strausbaugh, said J.D. Sumner, a member of Elvis’ backup group The Stamps, claimed Elvis never wanted to be called King because only Christ was king. But, according to the book, Sumner also said Elvis’ name was known worldwide, second only to Christ’s. (Source: The Decatur Daily - Religion, 21 Aug 2006)

Author explores Elvis as ‘Memphis Messiah’

By Karen Middleton

ATHENS, Ala. Gregory L. Reece said he met a middle-aged woman in a Memphis hospital emergency room waiting area who had sold everything to move from California to Memphis “just to be with Elvis” nearly 15 years after the death of The King.

The woman’s cult-like worship of the late rock and roll singer spurred an interest in Reece that led to years of research and finally his book, “Elvis Religion: The Cult of the King.”

In a recent phone interview, Alabama native Reece was walking off a tour bus in front of Graceland. In Memphis for two television interviews and a book signing, Reece’s tour of the singer’s estate was the latest of several since embarking on his research.

Reece’s quest to find if there really exists an “Elvis Religion” led him to delve into Elvis impersonators - " tribute artists” - of which there has grown up a whole industry. He found that although most are fanatical about authentic costuming, makeup, hairstyling and sounding as much like The King as possible, they don’t give up their day jobs.

For the most part, the tribute artists know they’re not the reincarnation of Elvis and use it as a way to pick up a few extra bucks or have fun.

The same held true with Elvis collectors, some opening museums of memorabilia, including a woman in Georgia who has what she purports to be Elvis’s toenail picked up off the Jungle Room floor on a tour of Graceland soon after Presley’s death, and also a wart that was removed from his wrist by a Memphis doctor in “1957 or 1958.”

Cultish followings notwithstanding, Reece found most posthumous Elvis groupies get together the same as do Trekkies or stamp collectors or anyone else with like interests.

If there is an “Elvis Religion,” Reece contends, it is in dozens of books, films and songs with the “Memphis Messiah” or “Jumpsuit Jesus” as a literal or fictitious character, sometimes taking on Christ-like attributes and affecting the outcome of people’s actions and lives.

Asked why Elvis’ mystique survives nearly 30 years after the singer’s death, Reece said he believes Elvis inspires the common man to believe that he, too, could aspire to greatness.

“I think it’s because Elvis was a mixture of two elements: a very humble, lower class boy from a small town in north Mississippi, and then the other side as the bigger-than-life entertainer,” said Reece. “I am intrigued by the people who are intrigued by Elvis. I can’t get my mind around such devotion.”

Reece, a former lecturer in philosophy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, is now a free-lance writer. His next book, scheduled to come out next year, concerns the “UFO Religion.”

Elvis as religion: some symbols and rituals

Elvis: the High Priest/God

Graceland: Mecca

Graceland & Tupelo: Places of worship

ETAs/Impersonators: the Disciples

Fans: Followers

Jumpsuits: Ceremonial garb

Records/Memorabilia: Religious relics

Elvis Week: Pilgrimage

Candlelight Vigil: Ritual

Giving of the scarves: Ritual

Structured fan club proceedings including playing of club song: Ritual

Fan club memorials: Shrines

"Elvis rooms": Shrines

Elvis: Sightings and Faith - Making Sense of the Seemingly Absurd

by Nigel Patterson

Abstract: This paper was presented at the First Online Elvis Symposium 2003-04. It examines the two types of Elvis sightings ('Live Elvis' and 'Spirit Elvis'), placing them within the construct of deep-seated psychological need. The paper then takes this theory and by connecting it to the mythic elements of iconic Elvis explores fundamental structural elements of (pagan) Elvis faith and raises the question of where Elvis faith is heading.

by Jim Davidson

Abstract: What attracts people to Graceland? What do they experience while there? To understand the importance of this pilgrimage, we need to consider human motives, beliefs and expectations. This paper focuses on the pilgrims' views and the satisfactions they derive from the pilgrimage. This paper was presented at the First Online Elvis Symposium 2003-04.


Comment on this section


Marty Lacker: I read your "Is Elvis A Religion?" story today and it bothered me greatly some of the stories I read from some fans who worship him.

The cover that you showed with Elvis in a robe disturbed me and I know would disturb him.
I can tell you that without a doubt this would disturb Elvis very greatly.
These fans need to understand that Elvis was just a human being, one who had talent singing and that's it.
That's the way he felt, the way he thought of himself.
People need to pray to G-d not Elvis.  Elvis is not their savior and he would be turning in his grave if he knew that's what people were doing and thinking about him.
To reinforce what I'm saying, anytime anyone called him King, he would quickly say, "there is only one king(while pointing to heaven) and it's not me."  It bothered him very much that people would say that.
Fans need to stop worshipping him and just enjoy his music and films.
That's all he would want.
Yes, he was basically a very good man, 95% of him was good but like the rest of us he had human faults and frailties and he would be the first to admit them.
I urge all fans to just live their own life, believe in G-d and nothing else and enjoy the music.

Bronwyn Philips: There is only one real God. Why can't people just leave Elvis alone and appreciate him as one of the world's greatest entertainers.

Thomas Blank: Elvis is not a religion!

Frankie Getts: I have always thought there were strong connections between Elvis fans following Elvis and how those into religion think. Religion is changing today and we cannot use old paradigms to judge it.


Read Susan MacDougall's review of the book, Elvis Religion: Exploring the Cult of the King


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"Elvis Presley is the supreme socio-cultural icon in the history of pop culture"

(Dr. Gary Enders)


"Elvis is the 'glue' which holds our society together....which subconciously gives our world meaning"



"Eventually everybody has to die, except Elvis"

(humorist Dave Barry)


"He is the "Big Bang", and the universe he detonated is still expanding, the pieces are still flying"

(Greil Marcus, "Dead Elvis")


"I think Elvis Presley will never be solved"

(Nick Tosches)


"He was the most popular man that ever walked on this planet since Christ himself was here"

(Carl Perkins)


"When I first heard Elvis' voice I just knew I wasn't going to work for anybody...hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail"

(Bob Dylan)


"When we were kids growing up in Liverpool, all we ever wanted was to be Elvis Presley"

(Sir Paul McCartney)


"You can't say enough good things about Elvis. He was one of a kind"

(Johnny Cash)


"And don't think for one moment he's just a passing fancy....he's got enough of it to keep him on top for a long time"

(R. Fred Arnold, Fury magazine, Aug 1957)


"It isn't enough to say that Elvis is kind to his parents, sends money home, and is the same unspoiled kid he was before all the commotion began. That still isn't a free ticket to behave like a sex maniac in public"

(Eddie Condon, Cosmopolitan)

Elvis records reaching #2 & #3 on the Cashbox Pop Singles chart:

#2: A Fool Such As I (1959)

#2: A Big Hunk Of Love (1959)

#3: Hard Headed Woman (1958)

#3: One Night (1958)

#3: (You're The Devil) In Disguise (1963)

Elvis Facts:

Tickets for Elvis' show on March 29, 1957 in St. Louis cost $2.00 to $2.50


While in Germany Elvis was hospitalised with tonsillitis in October 1959


Despite being an illegal immigrant, photographic evidence shows Colonel Tom Parker traveled to Canada with Elvis in 1957


Elvis strongly believed there weren't enough good songs in King Creole to justify releasing a soundtrack album. RCA initially agreed, releasing two very successful EPs from the movie. A soundtrack LP eventually followed


During the 1960s Elvis had his own football team, Elvis Presley Enterprises, which played in the Memphis touch football league. In the 1962 final, EPE narrowly lost to Delta Automatic Transmission, 6-13


In Clambake, (Elvis) Scott Hayward's driving licence shows February 23, 1940...taking 5 years off Elvis' real age


In the 1970s Elvis was offered $5m to stage a concert in front of the Pyramids in Egypt. When the Colonel declined the offer, Saudi billionaires raised the offer to $10m