Huzzah, a new "King!"

Ben Portsmouth: 2012 Ultimate ETA Winner

The King is crowned. All the way from Waltham St. Lawrence UK, a new “King” has been crowned in Memphis, Tennesee. All hail, Ben Portsmouth, the 2012 winner of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist.

Ben beat out 10 finalists in front of a sold-out crowd at the Cannon Center in downtown Memphis.

Ben made his way to the finals when he was picked out of the Collingwood Elvis Festival in England. To come to Memphis, home of the King, was a dream come true for him.

He, and his band, “Taking Care of Elvis” have been entertaining Brits since 2005. The 27-year-old entertainer has even visited the Queen with his talents. He has used his gift to help the needy as well, doing benefits and donating time and money for worthy causes in England.

When Ben and the TCE band put on a show, you get every aspect of Elvis Presley, from the young hip swiveling Elvis of 1954, to the comeback King of 1968, and the jumpsuit wearing karate master of Las Vegas in the mid 70s. He put his heart and soul into every show and it paid off at this years Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist contest.

Ben will be performing as one of the incarnations of Elvis Presley in the traveling show “Elvis Live”, bringing back the musical career of the King played by 3 different artists all in different times of his life. There is even an Ann Margeret tribute artist and they are backed up by former musicians who used to play with the King when he was alive. A congratulations and a “have mercy” goes out to Ben Portsmouth as well as the other contestants at the 2012 Ultimate ETA Contest.

Elvis Week 2012 comes to a close

Highlights in Memphis

Elvis Week 2012. It’s the 35th Anniversary of the King’s death and thousands from around the world have gathered in Memphis, TN to remember Elvis Presley during Elvis week running until the 18th of August.

Fans have enjoyed everything from tours of Graceland, Elvis themed dance parties, Memphis Redbirds baseball games, the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist contest at the Hard Rock, outdoor movie marathons, concerts and meet and greets with the people who knew him the best.

One of the most moving and emotional parts of the festivities is the candlelight vigil held the night before his death. Emotions were high, even 35 years later, and the thousands of fans who attended to pay their respects were treated with a special guest appearance.

Pricilla and Lisa Marie Presley made an appearance and gave a heart warming speech about the man who carved out the path for rock n’ roll and how he affected not only their lives; but the rest of us around the world.

Tonight, the 35th Anniversary concert will be held in which a live band will be playing along with videos of Elvis on big screens, giving fans the look and feel of a real live Elvis concert.

The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist contest will come to a close at the Hard Rock Café this weekend and the winner will be crowned and given a spot in the touring show “Elvis Live,” which covers the concert life of Elvis Presley.

The festivities concluded with a farewell dance party on Saturday.

Fans celebrate Elvis Presley as the 35th anniversary of his death approaches

August 16, 2012 will mark 35 years since the passing of “The King,” Elvis Presley

Fans will mourn the passing and still celebrate the life of the legendary Elvis Presley, who will always be known as “The King,” even though  August 16, 2012 will mark the 35th anniversary of his death.  Yes, it is remarkable to know that 35 years have passed since that tragic day that this man of great music died. Fans across the world will be marking this date. This includes fans in his home state of Memphis, Tennessee and fans as far away as Brazil. What will fans do?

Some may plan on visiting his home, “Graceland.” This memorable site draws over 600,000 visitors each year.  This year in Memphis there will be many festivities honoring “The King.” This will include some of Elvis’s live performance being projected onto a movie screen for all to enjoy. Then a cast of musicians will begin to perform along with Elvis. During the event, Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley will be there, along with other people who were a part of Elvis’s life.

There will also be other festivities around the world honoring the king. In Tweed, Ontario Canada, there will be an Elvis Festival. It will be held from August 24 through the 26th.  In Portage, Indiana there will be an Elvis FANtasy Fest held on October 12 though the 14th. It is being held in the Woodland Park Community Center.  Plus, there are many other festivals and special events planned throughout the year.

For those who can’t attend any special events, they may plan their own special memorial. During these memorials, they will definitely be listening and enjoying the music of “The King.”  They may even decide to purchase some music.  The magazine Vanity Fair reported that each year his estate makes at least $50 million from his record sales. This makes Elvis the highest paying dead recording artist.

Yes, it may have thirty-five years since Elvis passed. But he will never be forgotten. He will continue to be celebrated. You can learn more about how the world is getting ready to celebrate Elvis’s memorable by going to

The Return of The Kings

2012 Elvis Ultimate Tribute Artists Preliminary Winners

2012 Ultimate ETA Winners. The preliminary winners from around the world have been picked and are ready to head to Memphis, Tennessee for Elvis Week to attempt to win their shot at being crowned “King” of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artists of 2012 at the final show down at the Hard Rock Café.

The prelim winners are:

Jerome Jackson. Winner of the Tampa Elvis Festival. He discovered Elvis at the young age of eight-years-old and started singing at 13. He currently works in the broadcast industry.

William Stiles. Won the Harrah’s Cherokee Ultimate ETA Preliminary. Hailing from Memphis himself and coming from a musical family, it was a natural fit for him to emulate the King.

Elias Jamhour. This Sydney native has loved Elvis since the age of five. He began as a tribute artist at his brother’s wedding singing. He has been going strong for the last seven years.

Kevin Mills. Won his spot at the Myrtle Beach Ultimate ETA preliminary. He enjoys the challenge of emulating the King from many genres which he’s been trying to perfect since he was a teen.

Eli Williams. This Canadian won his spot at the Penticton Elvis Festival. He’s been a tribute artist since graduating from high school. He has been lucky enough to have a mentor who has been a tribute artist who still encourages and teaches him to this day.

Garry Wesley. Winner of the Diamond Jo Casino Elvis Weekend, he’s been a life long fan and has been a tribute artist since 1980.

Cliff Wright. Winner of the Rockin’ Elvis Fest at Oneida Casino, is a self-taught musician since age eight. His Elvis influence comes from seeing “Elvis 56.”

Jim Barrone. East coast Elvis at its best, Jim won his victory at the Atlantic City Ultimate ETA Contest. He has been in musical theatre since his teen years so performing as Elvis came natural to him.

Tyler Hunter. From the birthplace of Elvis, Tyler won the prelims at the Tupelo Elvis Festival. After attending an Elvis tribute show when he was 13, he became hooked.

Dwight Icenhower. Ohio native who won the Lake George Elvis Festival. His tribute began singing karaoke at age 16 and has been a professional tribute artist since.

Matt Cordell. The Memphis in May Ultimate ETA Contest brought forth this Tennessee native to the forefront who has been performing as the King for more than 15 years. All that “practice” has paid off.

Victor Trevino Jr. Deep in the heart of Texas, this tribute artist won his spot in Las Vegas at the Legends in Concert ETA Contest. Having been a veteran of musical theatre, playing the King was a natural thing for him.

Jay Dupis. Baton Rouge native got all shook up and won his spot at the Philidelphia Elvis Fest. He’s been a huge fan of Elvis since the age of three.

Sean Spiteri. Another Aussie dons the jumpsuit from the Ultimate ETA in Melbourne, Australia. Influenced heavily by his parents who were big Elvis fans and got him started after watch the 68 comeback special.

Tim Hendry. Another winner from the great white north, Tim won his prelim spot at the Toronto Elvis Festival. He’s a professional musician of more than 20 years and began as a tribute artist in 2003.

Bobby Simkins. From the heart of entertainment, this truck driver was qualified at the Branson Elvis Festival in Missouri. A recent tribute artist, he has become more serious about his craft.

Adam Fitzpatrick. Winner of the Rockin Elvis Fest at Pala Casino, this Canadian was entered into an ETA contest by a friend without his knowledge. Since then, he’s been swiveling his hips in tribute to the King.

Charlie Nieshio. From Osaka, Japan; Charlie has been singing professionally for 25 years counting his biggest influence as Elvis Presley. He won his spot at the Third Look for Japanese Elvis Ultimatel ETA. He dedicates his performance this year to the victims of the 2011 Japan earthquake.

Paul Fenech. Another Elvi from Sydney. This veteran tribute artist of 15 years is also a martial arts instructor. This is his second run in the Ultimate ETA Contest.

David Lee. David won the Fill the Blue Suede Shoes Ultimate ETA contest at the beginning of the year. He is a soulful singer and brings that passion into each performance.

Stephen Freeman. Freeman won his spot on the high seas at the King of the Cruise Contest on the 2012 Elvis Cruise. He’s a former police officer and has been performing as Elvis since 1998.

Damian Mullin. Another from down under, Damian won at the Surfers Paradise Elvis Birthday Bash in Melbourne, Australia. He left a lucrative sales career to become a professional tribute artist.

Mark Anthony. Originally from Australia, Mark has traveled the globe performing as the King. He won his spot at the Pocono Mountains Elvis Festival.

Ted Torres. This multi-talented singer/songwriter, musician and actor won himself a spot at the Elvis Fantasy Fest in Florida.

Jesse Aron. This Midwest boy is from Janesville, Wisconsin. He won his spot at the Rockin’ E Jamboree. He’s been performing as “E” since 1998 and also does a tribute to Roy Orbison.

Rick Huntress. From the New England Elvis Festival, this Massachusetts native has always been known as “The Elvis Guy” all throughout high school. He’s been singing “Burning Love” since age two.

Matt Dowsett. The Tweed Tribute to Elvis Festival held in Canada brought forth our final preliminary winner.  He has been an avid fan of Elvis movies, performances and music from a very young age.


Good luck to all the preliminary winners as they shake, rattle and roll at the Hard Rock Café in Memphis, Tennessee for the 2012 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Semi-finals.

Tampa Bay ETA 2012: The Road To Memphis

The Tampa Bay TCB 10th Annual Elvis Festival

Tampa Bay, FL. This Saturday, July 21st at the Strawberry Festival Fairgrounds Expo Hall in Plant City; The Tampa Bay Elvis Fan Club invites you to celebrate at their 10th Annual Elvis Festival.

The event opens at 11 a.m. and you can enjoy the preliminary rounds of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest. There will be 18 to 20 Tribute Artists performing as Elvis Presley.

World renowned Tribute Artist Peter Alden from the “Viva Las Vegas Show” will be performing as well that afternoon followed by two Jr. Elvis Tribute Artists. Peter Alden is a classical trained artist and musician and got his calling to play the King when he played the lead role in a production of “Bye Bye, Birdie.” Since then, he has become one of the world’s most famous tribute artists including his tribute to Ricky Nelson.

During the festival there will be food and Elvis memorabilia available from many various vendors. Take home a memory of this fun filled day.

At the end of the evening, six finalists will go head to head for the Tampa Bay Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist contest. The winner will go onto Memphis, Tennessee to represent Tampa Bay during Elvis Week 2012’s contest.

The winner will be awarded and sing one last song and then be joined by the other tribute artists for one awe-inspiring rendition of “Memories.”

Tickets are available for this upcoming show by calling the Tampa Bay TCB Fan Club at 813-9777-6011 or hitting their website General tickets only, VIP tickets are sold out.

Elvis Week 2012

Pilgrimage in memoriam

Elvis Week. On August 16, 1977; news shocked the world and saddened millions of fans that the King of Rock N’ Roll was found dead in his home Graceland. Attempts were made to revive Elvis Presley when he arrived at the hospital, but he was pronounced dead after over an hour of failed attempts.

The country mourned and now millions of fans pick the week of August 16 to memorialize him in a pilgrimage to his home in Memphis, Tennessee.

This year “Elvis Week” begins on Friday, August 10 at 10 a.m. with “The King Music Fest.” The daylong event features performances from local bands celebrating the music we’ve come to know and love. It’s a free event with donations being accepted for the Memphis Music Foundation.

Marlowe’s Ribs and Restaurant at 4381 Elvis Presley Blvd. is hosting a meet and greet for Elvis Pilgrims. This is a ticketed event with reserved seating. Door prizes will be given and profits will go to the Spay and Nueter Clinic of Memphis in Elvis’ name. This event is at noon.

Spend the evening at a block party at Autozone Park with live music, giveaways, classic cars and a special Elvis Week ballgame played by the Memphis Redbirds.

Head to the Hard Rock Cafe, for the “Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist” last chance contest. This event will be going on nightly Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Elvis Week.

The rest of the week will be filled with events from conversations with those who knew him professionally and those who knew him personally. Including an appearance by Lisa Marie and Priscilla Presley. Also, concerts and movies and ongoing tours of Graceland.

The most important event will be the candle light vigil held on Thursday, August 15 at the gates of Graceland. After the opening ceremony, fans can walk the driveway to the King’s gravesite and back with a candle in silent memorial. This event is free and begins at 8:30 p.m. and usually goes into the early morning hours of August 16.

You can find a more detailed list of events at

Graceland: 30 years ago

The history of the house

Graceland: The mansion located at 3764 Elvis Presley Boulevard and the land it sits on was once a farm dubbed “Graceland Farms” by its owner S.C. Toof, who was founder of the S.C. Toof & Company printing firm in Memphis in the early 1900s. Named after his daughter Grace, the plot of land that Graceland sits on now was owned by Grace’s nephews and niece who built the original colonial mansion.

In 1957 when Elvis Presley’s fame began to peak and he and his family’s privacy was becoming non-existent, he gave his parents $100,000 to find a farmhouse with a little more privacy for them to live. They had put down money on it and after viewing the property for himself, Elvis fell in love immediately with Graceland.

After the Presleys took possession of the estate, Elvis had several modifications done to the home to suit the needs of a traveling rock 'n' roll star that didn’t get to enjoy the comforts of home too much. A fieldstone wall was built up around the property and the front gate was custom made into the musical note icon it is today.

Most notably, “The Jungle Room,” which is where Elvis spent most of his time and was later made into a recording studio and recorded his last two albums there. From Elvis Presley Boulevard Memphis, Tennessee and Moody Blue.

“The Meditation Garden” was added, complete with a fountain in the middle of it. It was a place where the King sat and contemplated on his complicated life. Needless to say, he had quite a few stresses in his life and it was here that he came to think about them, discuss them and it is also here that he was ultimately buried along with his mother, father and there is also an epitaph memorializing his twin.

I have had the honor of touring the Meditation Garden in 1978 when it opened to the public. There were news cameras and women fainting at his gravesite. I was only eight years old.

After his death, Vernon had turned over the reigns to Presley’s estate to Elvis’ ex-wife Priscilla, who was wrought with the choice to sell the estate because of dwindling funds and owed taxes on the property. She instead opened Graceland up for tourism on June 7, 1982. The funds from the first year alone helped catch up on past bills and jettisoned the life of Graceland as a tourist hotspot, a pilgrimage for Elvis fans and a historic site and museum.

Elvis’ daughter, Lisa Marie, is sole owner of the mansion and the property within the estate. She sold 85 percent of the business side of her father’s estate to CKX, Inc. where her mother sits on the board.

Graceland Tours now include a souvenir shop, auto museum, upscale hotel, restaurant and amphitheatre. Upcoming projects for Graceland include more museums, a concert venue and transforming the seedy surrounding neighborhood into an entertainment district.


The Definitive Elvis Movie

Elvis: The mini-series

Elvis: The mini-series.  On May 8, 2005, CBS aired a mini-series called “Elvis.” It was another bio-pic on the life of the King of Rock and Roll. At least, in my mind, that’s what I thought it would be.

On the contrary, this mini-series turned out to be one of the most definitive Elvis bio-pics I have seen to date. The King was portrayed very well by Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers and followed his life from teen truck driver to the comeback King.

This is the only movie about Elvis that used his entire master recordings. While the music was great I was hoping for some real singing a la “Walk the Line” and not just another lip-synch. That is the only fault I saw in the movie, because when watching Meyers perform, you knew it was the King’s voice and not his own.

The movie also did not depict the Elvis we all look up to, it showed the darker side of the man. His weak side. His insecurities with his mother (Camryn Manheim), his womanizing with Anne Margret (Rose McGowen), the friction between he and his father (Robert Patrick) after his mother’s death, his pill addiction which plummeted out of control making him physically abusive at times, his questionable relationship with 14-year-old Pricilla Beaulieu (Antonia Bernath), his dysfunctional relationship with Colonel Tom Parker (Randy Quaid), his struggle to be taken serious as a movie actor and his soul searching to be truly happy.

The movie depicts the King as a talented powerhouse who gets everything he wanted, but then realized it wasn’t what made him happy in the end.

I didn’t watch the series when it first came out because I thought it was going to be “just another elvis bio,” but I rented it on Netflix the other night and very happy I did. I felt sorry for him at some parts, and disgusted in him in others, proving the King was a human being.





Elvis Filmed ‘King Creole’ in January through March of 1958

Elvis stated that this was his favorite acting role.

“King Creole” was the most critically acclaimed movie that Elvis ever starred. It was also the last movie he starred in before he went into the Army. He began filming this in January of 1958 and wrapped up production in March of 1958.

The film was based on the novel, “A Stone for Danny Fisher.” The novel was written by Harold Robbins. Elvis played the starring role of Danny. Elvis stated that this was his favorite acting role.


The plot of the movie centered on Danny. Danny’s life, at 19, becomes complicated after his mother’s death. He moves back home to help his impoverished family, a father and a younger sister. His father is shaken up over his mother’s death and quits his job. Danny has to find work to support his family, while trying to continue with school.

An incident at school involving a girl causes him to drop out of school. That girl is Ronnie, played by actress Carolyn Jones. Soon he finds himself torn between this girl and another girl, named Nellie, played by actress Dolores Hart.

If romance, work and trying to support his family aren’t enough for a mere 19 year old to handle, he soon will have mobsters wanting him to do jobs for them. These jobs includes wanting him to beat others up for them. This isn’t the life Danny wants for himself.

How does he get himself out of all these situations? Which girl is the one who truly wins his heart? Watch the movie yourself and see. While you are watching it, you can enjoy many of Elvis’s songs including, “Hard-Headed Women” which was recorded from the sound track of this movie.


Critics Condemn The Way Elvis Performs “Hound Dog”

Elvis performs his song “Hound Dog” live on the Milton Berle show

In 1956, Elvis performs his song “Hound Dog” live on the Milton Berle show. His performance is accepted wildly and enthusiastically by the young generation. However, the press and many adults are not as pleased with Elvis performance. This performance goes on record as being one of his most controversial ones.


Yet, it helps his ever growing popularity with the younger generation. It also helps lead him to more movie roles and more appearances on other shows, as well as traveling gigs. As his popularity increases, many religious groups and those who are morally outraged by his performances, continue to condemn his performances.

On July 1st, 1956, Elvis sings his song, “Hound Dog” again on a television show. This time he agreed to tone it down a bit. The show was the variety show known as “The Steve Allen Show,” and it set record highs.

Elvis’s popularity grows so much that Ed Sullivan, finally wants him to perform on his show. Ed Sullivan had been one of the many who had spoken outright against Elvis. He even stated that he would never have him on his show. Now in 1956, he not only wanted him as a guest, he would agree to a three part deal that would net Elvis $50,000. This is more than any guest star received for an appearance on a variety show, at that time, in history.

Yes, Elvis continued to break history books in the entertainment field, even though people continued to condemn his long hair and sensuous dance style.