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Posted January. 24, 2007 06:20,   


What makes Elvis Presley, a former truck driver from Memphis, so special that he has become immortal in many people’s hearts? Although 30 years have passed since Elvis passed away, he is still writing the history of the music industry.

Various events have been held on both Elvis’ birthday (January 8) and his memorial day to cherish the memory of deceased Elvis. In particular, bigger and more exciting events will be held all across this year in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of his death. For instance, Elvis singing style imitation competitions were already held in Japan and Spain early this month.

Of course, Korea is no exception. A Broadway musical, “All Shook Up,” featuring 24 Elvis songs, will be performed from January 30 at the Chungmu Art Hall.

Lee Jong-jin, the director of Follow That Dream, an Elvis memorial museum in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, is planning to launch a preparatory committee for the 30th anniversary of Elvis’s death in March in an effort to hold a number of memorial events in August, the month Elvis died. Lee is planning several events at the moment, including an original LP disc exhibition, a large scale singing competition, and a Cadillac exhibition by personally bringing a dozen Cadillac convertibles that Elvis used to drive when he was still alive from the U.S.

Meanwhile, Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE), a company that owns the exclusive rights to Elvis Presley`s name, likeness, and music publishing, is drawing much attention with its memorial events. EPE will launch over 40 events starting at the end of January with the release of DVD collections featuring Elvis’s 25th live concert and movies in which he starred. In addition, starting in July, EPE will also begin to sell peanut butter and canned banana products which will have an Elvis picture on their labels to target teenagers and people in their 20s who may not know him. Moreover, EPE will hold a large-scale Elvis memorial concert by inviting a few dozen pop singers between August 11 and 19.

Elvis, who made his debut in 1956, left numerous hit songs, such as “Love Me Tender,” “Hound Dog,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” and “Don’t be Cruel,” along with his trademark fashion of sideburns and bellbottom pants. Elvis had 149 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and 39 songs on its top 10 chart. No one has been able to break Elvis’s record over the past 30 years. “He is the origin of 20th century rock ’n roll history. Even the Beatles were influenced by Elvis Presley,” Bae Cheol-soo, a popular radio DJ in Korea, said. “Although he was white, he was able to transcend racial barriers, often by expressing the sentiments of black Americans.”

Elvis is not just a thing of the past. His hit song, “A Little Less Conversation,” was remixed as a dance song and topped the British single chart. A greatest-hits album, Elvis’ 30 #1 Hits, has been number one on 15 different countries’ album charts. “Although Elvis Presley’s music is sometimes too straightforward and macho, it has the spirit of freedom and resistance trying to break free from restraints,” said Lee So-eun, an actress who performs Natalie for the musical, “All Shook Up.”