Special Report: Elvis Lives! - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Special Report: Elvis Lives!

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Elvis Tribute Artist Jeff Vandenberg Elvis Tribute Artist Jeff Vandenberg
According to Forbes magazine, Elvis posthumously raked in $55 million in 2012 According to Forbes magazine, Elvis posthumously raked in $55 million in 2012
Fans young and old still love the King. Even if it's not the original Fans young and old still love the King. Even if it's not the original
CHULA, GA (WALB) -

 Next month will mark 36th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. In life, he wowed audiences and became one of the most famous entertainers of all time with a following of millions of fans. But even in death he remains just as popular. Thousands of people go to great lengths to pay tribute to him.

His music is unforgettable. Just a man from Mississippi, who became a legend.

Elvis Presley died in August of 1977, but his memory still very much alive. "They call me Elvis. AKA, I guess," said Elvis Tribute Artist Jeff Vandenberg. He's one of estimated 75,000 Elvis tribute artists world wide to embody the King of Rock 'n" roll.

One needs more than just fancy outfits "They want to hear 'Hound Dog.' They want to hear 'Suspicious Minds.' Two completely different eras," said Vandenberg.

Fans young and old still love the King. Even if it's not the original. Evident in the hundreds of appearances Vandenberg has made over the past decade.

"People want to get close to what they perceive to be the King of Rock n Roll. Some people never got to see him. This as close as they'll ever get," said Vandenberg.

A heart attack claimed Presley back in 1977. Every year since thousands have flocked to Graceland to pay homage to the King. Still, his work is a big seller. According to Forbes magazine, Elvis posthumously raked in $55 million in 2012.

"He's very, very popular. He's influenced a lot of artists," said Brian Will of FYE Music in Albany, where Elvis is still in demand. "He's got tons of CD's, lots of movies. We have a costumer who comes in who looks like Elvis. He buys a lot of his movies," said Will.

Vandenberg's version of Graceland is in Chula in Tift County where you will find everything Elvis from commemorative plates to figurines. It's in honor of an artist who scored numerous number 1 hits from rock to gospel to country and blues. "It appears to get bigger and bigger every year. That I can't explain," said Vandenberg.

Perhaps it's the different genres he crossed that appeals to so many of us that keeps the work of Elvis alive and well. For those who make a living as Elvis impersonators, it's not an easy task pretending to be a King.

"There's only one king of rock n roll. I'm not him. I'm just here to keep the legacy alive and the memory alive. Have a good time. Maybe make a few people happy. If I've done that then I did great a job," said Vandenberg.

What's certain is that even though the King is gone. His voice is for the ages. And decades after his death thousands still flock to Graceland to pay homage to the late legend. Vandenberg will performing a an Elvis tribute show August 16th at the Tift Theatre to mark the 36th Anniversary of Elvis' death.

  • For more information on Elvis tribute artist Jeff Vandenberg call 407-414-9081 or click here

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