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“THE ELVIS IMPERSONATOR BLUES- DON’T BLAME IT ON THE BOSSA NOVA”- RICH BUCKLAND’S EPIPHANY NOTEBOOK “Elvis Presley is the greatest cultural force in the 20th century. He introduced the beat to everything and he changed everything-music, language, clothes, it’s a whole new social revolution-the Sixties come from it.” -Leonard Bernstein, 1966, TIME Magazine

The Elvis Impersonator has been a phenomenon from the moment “Cheesie” Nelson of Texarcana, Arkansas took a stage back in 1954. Since that time 35,000 practitioners of the Presley persona have made their existence felt around the cosmos. Dean Z and Dwight Icenhower are arguably the finest in the business today as they continue a tradition that resonates with the trans formative freedom driven technique Presley activated. Interestingly, singer and social poet Phil Ochs’ Carnegie Hall performance in a perfectly tailored Nudie Suit on the evening of March 27, 1970 is regarded as the first significant impersonation of “The King” in popular culture. It was followed 4 years later by the melodic and comic ingenuity of Andy Kaufman who reminded us all of the magical magnetism the Tupelo native created. If imitation is indeed the sincerest form of adulation, Mr. Presley remains one of the most adored figures in history. His imitators are not mimics as much as searchers. There is almost a religious connotation to their devotion. The Presley songbook is often reenacted with prayer like vigilance whether it be rocking signature pieces, ballads or cherished spirituals. The affection and deference can be both bizarre or holy, depending upon the King conduit in question. For those of us still adept at understanding the communal impact of this authentic, primal entertainer we present an indestructible force enacted through the heart and vitality of Mr. Dean Z live at the Tupelo Mississippi Music Festival of 2019. Long Live The King.

By Rich Buckland 02/18/2020 05:37 PM

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