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Friday, 23 August, 2002, 06:29 GMT 07:29 UK
Elvis: Who is fit to fill his blue suede shoes?
On the 25th anniversary of the death of singing legend Elvis Presley, millions of his fans across the world meet to celebrate his life and work.

Elvis may have left the building but to his fans he is still and always will be The King.

However that position is not necessarily so secure. Young pretenders are waiting in the wings.

Jerry Lee Lewis was famously arrested for waving a gun around outside of Elvis' Graceland home shouting "I am the King" and Chuck D of Public Enemy has revealed that he believes Eminem is the new Elvis.

Do you think Elvis was and remains the King? Or has he been usurped? Who do you think is the new King?


This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

I can't believe you're even asking the question. Shakin' Stevens is the new Elvis!
Andy D, England


His true value tends to be obscured by people worshipping him as a demi-god

Jeremy, UK
It's a bit unfair to pick up on Elvis' lack of song writing - should we run down the world's greatest orchestras, conductors and soloists because they didn't write anything they play?

Interpretation is often as artistically important as creation and many songs were written with him in mind. He was an important artist but his true value tends to be obscured sometimes by people with a hole to fill worshipping him as a demi-god.
Jeremy, UK

Elvis definitely had something very special because as a result of the latest media coverage my six-year-old daughter has just become his latest fan and wants to buy his music!
Dawn, England


The record industry will not allow one person to be as popular as Elvis

Andrew, UK
The way the record industry works nowadays will not allow for one person to dominate the music era for so long, nor will it allow for one person to be as popular as Elvis. Record labels exploit young artists for all they are worth, and drop them when they've made their profit. Tracks are released to radio stations months before they are released to the public meaning it is only the tracks whose royalties are subsidised that get played. How often is it that you hear a track from even five years ago on the radio?
Andrew, UK

No one else looks good in a rhinestone jumpsuit.
Wendy, UK

Elvis was the King. Then came the biggest ever King, Michael Jackson with the biggest albums, biggest tours, and greatest videos the world has ever seen. These days the throne is empty, and I see no potential King.
Nigel Haig, England


An original is truly irreplaceable

GC Jordahl, US
The problem with an original is that it is truly irreplaceable. Elvis was not an incredible person, but an incredible performer. If he hadn't been, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
GC Jordahl, US

Who else is famous enough to have a no.1 hit 25 years later? Who else would have 40,000+ people paying tribute at Graceland? Those who want to knock such a marvellous person need to note this. I doubt if some of these funny little bands these days will be remembered after a year, let alone 25 years.
Diana Goreham, England

What's all this about him not writing his own songs? Neither did Sinatra, Caruso, Callas or Bing Crosby, as far as I know: silly argument. What people are not mentioning enough is Elvis' extraordinary voice, which was not only expressive but had an exceptional range, from almost a bass to a tenor, and it was equally at home with ballads or rock. I can't think of anyone around today with the same vocal talent. Long Live the King!
Jane, Italy


Elvis remains popular simply because his voice has a timeless quality about it

Heather Duffield, UK
The "old hat" music of Elvis so typifies the morose weird and at times dark side of the southern states of America. Elvis was only the king in the minds of people with little understanding of culture.
Mark, UK

Elvis remains popular simply because his voice has a timeless quality about it. There has never, and will never, be anyone to be so universally enjoyed for their charisma and sheer talent. Tell me who else has such a long and loyal following across all the generations? And who will be remembered for so long by so many?
Heather Duffield, UK

There is nobody to replace Elvis. I didn't appreciate him when I was young, but now with all of the shouting, whining and shrieking we get from pop stars and groups, I realise what a fantastic voice Elvis had. He could sing anything from Gospel to Rock and Roll. Pete compared the Beatles with Elvis. They could not hold a candle to the King. They were popular because they were four young lads. I was from that era, they were something new. They couldn't sing too well, but some of their songs were quite catchy. One sees more clearly with hindsight.
Patricia, Australia


He is definitely not King

Anon, UK
I think we need to remember that Elvis died 25 years ago. A lot has changed in that time in music so no he is definitely not King. A lot of people also remember him from the 50s and 60s, not how he was when he died, ruined due to drugs. Very sad but the all night vigil was over the top, time moves on.
Anon, UK

Elvis: the King of a particular beat generation, the Kerouac of rock music.
Tommaso Debenedetti, Italy

Elvis is more than the music, he inspired radical change in youth culture. He broke down racial bigotry in America (indeed the western world). To equal that is difficult today, perhaps the closest anyone could come to this today would be a gay/lesbian artist becoming the highest selling artist in the world due to the new music genre they have created! Elvis was a one off.
Shaun Lavelle, Ireland


Oh puh-lease. Move on people

Dan Halford, New Zealand (ex-pat)
He was a pretty white boy who could sing black music. He didn't break down racial barriers. That was purely an unexpected by-product. He lived by dint of his hip-wriggling. The kitsch-obsessed nostalgia-loving people who acclaim him today are just templates for those types who will be acclaiming Westlife in 30 years time. The King? Oh puh-lease. Move on people.
Dan Halford, New Zealand (ex-pat)

Elvis is still King as his recent chart hit implies. He was a fabulously one off gifted singer, only the Beatles could match him and there were four of them!
Pete, UK


You're misinterpreting what Chuck D said about Eminem

Tristan O'Dwyer, UK
The chances are that you're misinterpreting what Chuck D said about Eminem being the new Elvis. He probably meant that a style of music pioneered by black people remains underground and denigrated by white society until a white person comes along and makes out to be the "king" of that style. All of a sudden white America decides it actually likes that music and treats that person as "the king". Simply replace rock'n'roll with hip-hop and Elvis with Eminem. The only difference of course is that Eminem is actually very talented; he points out the fact that hip-hop was around much before him.
Tristan O'Dwyer, UK

The new King has to be Robbie Williams. And he should also be the new Bond.
Annie, Austria

The guy was unoriginal and stole the work of musical giants without once acknowledging it. The man quite definitely isn't and never was the king of rock and roll.
Vish, UK


Elvis was the Gareth Gates of his day

Dougal McKinnon, UK
Elvis was the Gareth Gates of his day - a pretty white face mass marketed as the acceptable face of rock and roll, at a time when a host of other artists were doing the same thing, but better. A few of his songs (written by others) are rightly remembered as classics, but they are more than outweighed by the dozens of awful records, the atrocious films and the cringe-inducing white jumpsuit era.
Dougal McKinnon, UK

I do a mean Suspicious Minds at my local karaoke so I'm guessing... me?
Barry, UK

Elvis was in a lot of rubbish movies and made some other dubious decisions, but you can hardly blame him, then since he was the first star of that magnitude and didn't have anyone who looked after him, unlike today's pop hopefuls. I doubt whether anyone will still be talking about Darius in 25 years. The Louisiana Hayride albums and the movie King Creole is the kind of stuff that made him the King of rock and roll.
Edmor, London, UK

Edmor, I pledge to you today that I will be talking about Darius in 25 years (and I'll put a note in my diary to remind myself).
Andy D, England


It's wrong to make him out as a saint

Catherine, UK
The way some of you talk about Elvis you'd think that he solved world hunger, and stopped all wars. At the end of the day he was a singer/actor. He didn't do much for humanity so it's wrong to make him out as a saint. Other people died in the same year as Presley who worked all their lives for freedom. Men like Steve Biko who was murdered by prison guards in September 1977 and yet we remember a man who in the end was overweight and greedy. I do not see the point.
Catherine, UK

I think the new king will be Prince William.
Chris, England

I've never understood what people like about him. But then again, I've never understood what anyone likes about George Bush, either.
Peter Nelson, USA


America started producing pop idols because it had no royal family

Kostia, Russia
Apart from his wiggling sexual appeal, Elvis was every bit as manufactured as Britney. He wasn't an artist. He wasn't there to sing. He was there to be adored and wanted. What else is a king for anyway? I have a strong suspicion that America started producing pop idols because it had no royal family to gossip about. The Brits know the secret: why bother with all this singing business when Princess Diana was worshipped simply because she was on the top?
Kostia, Russia

If it was up to the critics, Elvis would have been history back in the 50s. The reason there will never be another Elvis is because he was a phenomenon made by ordinary people like me who fell in love with the honesty and emotion in his voice. That's the real reason why his legacy endures.
Gillian, New Zealand


He is the man, the one and only

Debbie, USA
There never has and never will be but one king of rock and roll and that is Elvis Presley. He is the man, the one and only and Elvis if you are alive WE LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU TERRIBLY! ELVIS COME HOME!
Debbie, USA

It's not even that the King was that great, but all the kitsch, eccentricity and showmanship of his character make him accessible to cynics as well as blind followers. Robbie Williams desperately begs us to let him entertain us, Elvis did that with a little shake of the hips. I'd rather watch an Elvis impersonator in a pub in February than pay absurd amounts to watch Oasis in Finsbury Park in the summer.
Ed K, UK

If Elvis isn't the King, name me the entertainer who will still be able to attract 75,000 people to their burial site 25 years after their death!
Paul P, USA

I always found Buddy Holly's music a lot better. If I had to crown anyone King (which I wouldn't, because I'm not a royalist) it would be Tom Waits...
Mark, Scotland / Holland


He was the first manufactured pop idol

NB, Canada
I don't see much difference between Elvis and the Pop Idol manufactured stuff. He was the first manufactured pop idol. He was successful because he made it okay for white America to listen to black people's music.
NB, Canada

Elvis opened the door to rock'n'roll. No one can change that. He is and always will be the King.
Diane Hall, USA

I always preferred George Formby.
Morris, England

Elvis was merely an early part of the continuing trend of manufactured bands and singers. He could hardly string a sentence together, couldn't act and certainly couldn't sing. I don't understand what all the fuss is about. Who would fill his shoes? Who would want to, more like?!
Tina, UK


He was a young, driven, slightly dangerous and exciting equivalent of Frank Sinatra

Andrew, USA
I think people are overlooking his cultural significance by saying that he didn't write his own songs, or that it was derivative pop. When Elvis was working with Sam Philips at Sun records, he was involved with one of the most revolutionary musical movements of the 20th century. After his move to RCA, Elvis became the world's first rock star. Elvis was not a writer, he did not strive to make artistic statements. He was a young, driven, slightly dangerous and exciting equivalent of Frank Sinatra and other performers that dominated an era immediately before his ascension.
Andrew, USA

Those who categorise Elvis as overrated and not up to the standards of today's pop stars are the same people who would watch the classic film King Kong and complain that the monkey isn't very believable. Back in the thirties moviegoers were fainting in the aisles upon seeing Kong and back in the fifties young girls had never seen the likes of Elvis the Pelvis. Long Live the King.
Bob, USA

His comeback on NBC in 1968 remains the template for all other live performances. His charisma and appeal still remains today.
James, UK

That's a real silly question. Who could possibly fill his shoes? Elvis the King? Yes! Forever.
Sue, UK


Nowadays there is nothing new and there is nobody who could inspire a whole generation

Amy, UK
I agree with Sue, nobody could replace Elvis because he was the start of something new and explosive - a style of music and performing that the world had never seen. He literally took people's breath away. Nowadays there is nothing new and there is nobody who could inspire a whole generation. Look at the people that make it to number one - Will, Gareth and Darius and if watching them makes you excited, elated and moved you really need to start worrying! Elvis will always be the King and there could never be another
Amy, UK

He was and always will be the King - at a time when the throne was vacant. Now, as a result of his influence, we have a multitude of Princes and Pretenders (no disrespect to those two artists, but they haven't got his wiggle or his grin!)
Caro, UK

Good vocal ability, poor enunciation, laughable wardrobe, abysmal actor. The King? Get a life!
Chris, UK

The simple answer is that nobody could fill Elvis' shoes. He was the GREATEST singer/entertainer EVER. He broke down so many negative racial and cultural barriers in 1950's USA and we all owe him a debt for that alone. When one throws out all the negative jibes it is TALENT that wins through in the end. He had it in abundance. Long Live The King. May he rest in peace.
Brian Quinn, England

Elvis lives!! Therefore he must still be the King!!
Alex, UK

Who is Elvis anyway? Elvis Costello?
Anthony, London

I play his music, sing his songs, his style of music will never die; I have done since the 1960s. Keep on rocking. Long live the KING.
Martyn Lewis, England

In the 25 years since he died, nobody has come even close to equalling him. I doubt anyone will. Elvis was unique. The only way someone could compete is if they cloned him....
Jeff Smithiee, UK

Zero song writing ability, could just about strum a few chords on a guitar, and made some of the most hideous films of all-time. Made some decent stuff before he was drafted, but 95% of his stuff after that is utter bilge. Dominated/ripped off by his Manager and died on the toilet. The King? nah!
Andy Shanks, England

Why should anybody try to fill his shoes? Any rock or pop star who had enough talent and presence to be able to do that should be strong enough to forge their own identity without having to try to copy anyone else.
Pete Hazell, UK


Madonna comes closest

Ed Karten, UK
In terms of success, appeal and iconic status and ability to re-invent oneself, I think Madonna comes closest to Elvis. Eminem looks a bit pudgy already, so I don't know whether he'd be a contender for the, erm, throne.
Ed Karten, UK

There is only one, and will only ever be one Elvis Presley. Nobody will come close.
Tim, England

What a strange question. Love him or hate him, Elvis was unique.
David, England


Did he not just stand there in silly clothes singing other people's songs, arranged and possibly even chosen for him by other people?

Ian, UK
What crown's this? Elvis was a breakthrough artist, but once rock'n'roll took off there are thousands of people and groups who have made much better music. Good looking and charismatic he may have been, in the early days anyway, but is the music really that good? How many of his songs did he and his band (if he had one) write? Did he not just stand there in silly clothes singing other people's songs, arranged and possibly even chosen for him by other people? Usually songs for wimps and weenyboppers at that! A clear case of the herd mentality overriding taste in decent rock music.
Ian, UK

There will always be new rock legends but there will always be only one Elvis Presley.
T.J. Cassidy, U.S.A.


At his best and worse, he was never average

Steve, UK
Elvis is the original real deal. He was an imitable one off who shook the world. You can't replace that. Even artists as diverse as Eminem ("Though I'm not the first king of controversy, I am the worst thing since Elvis Presley.") and John Lennon ("Before Elvis there was nothing") acknowledge this... At his best and worse, he was never average. In this Pop Idol era it would be great to clone The King so he could karate chop Will Young and kung-fu kick Gareth Gates back into much deserved obscurity!
Steve, UK,

Elvis is dead ?!?! But I saw him the other week working in my local chip shop.
Martin, England


My friends and I believe Elvis will come back and save us from this mass-marketed pop nonsense!

Max, England
Elvis will always be The King of Rock and Roll. All this manufactured rubbish that's about these days just doesn't compare... My friends and I believe Elvis will come back and save us from this mass-marketed pop nonsense!
Max, England

I wasn't even born when Elvis died but I have become a huge fan. He bought a certain spark to the world, just walking on stage and the whole place lit up! His voice and performances have been unsurpassed. No-one will ever be able to outshine Elvis. He gave of himself every step of the way and it killed him. To me there's only one ELVIS PRESLEY!
Sarah, Harpenden, UK

I am too young to remember Elvis, but from what I see and hear of him it is my opinion that he was overrated. Nowadays there really hasn't been anybody who has dominated the music scene as I imagine he did, but I would nominate Madonna for the Queen's position.
Emma, UK



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