5 ways Elvis Presley can help you get through the pandemic

The Four Percent


Feeling all shook up since the pandemic hit? We all are. The world also felt all shook up 43 years ago when Elvis Presley died at age 42. As the Aug. 16 anniversary of his death approaches, Elvis’ spirit endures even amid the current health crisis.

Here are five ways to connect with the King that could bring much-needed love, grace and gratitude to your stay-at-home summer.

1. Burning love Elvis

Going to the chapel — in person or virtually — with Elvis, a.k.a. chapel co-owner Brendan Paul.

Going to the chapel — in person or virtually — with Elvis.

(Graceland Chapel)

Remember when you got overruled on having an Elvis wedding? Maybe it’s time to put that right. The Graceland Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas is open for on-site weddings with Elvis officiating. For those stuck at home, Elvis will conduct virtual vow renewals and commitment ceremonies (not legal weddings) anywhere you like.

“Elvis continues to resonate with people from all over the world, and we are excited that we can offer this fun and lively virtual Elvis-themed ceremony as an escape from the worldwide crisis,” chapel co-owner Dee Dee Duffy said in a statement.

As many as 100 friends and family members on Zoom can watch while Elvis sings “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” “Love Me Tender” and “Viva Las Vegas.” There, feel better now? The package costs $279.
Info: gracelandchapel.com, (702) 382-0091

2. Masked Elvis

What would the King of Rock do? The answer might be at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, where visitors are required to wear face coverings at all times. Its full-size statue of Elvis has been fitted with a face mask.

Masked Elvis is an Insta hit at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino.

Masked Elvis is an Insta hit at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino.

(Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino)

“Elvis has been helping with the reminder, and guests love taking photos with the masked Elvis,” spokeswoman Michelle Massaro said in an email. “We even switch his mask out to a themed Raiders mask and Vegas Golden Knight mask [from] time to time.”

Social distance markers at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino.

Social distance markers at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino.

(Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino)

The casino also uses social distancing floor markers with a silhouette of Elvis that says “Stay 6 blue suede shoes apart.” Aww, there’s another Insta moment right there. Info: Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino

3. Graceland Elvis

Fans of the late Elvis Presley gather each year for a candlelight vigil at Graceland, the performer's home in Memphis, Tenn.

Fans of the late Elvis Presley gather each year for a candlelight vigil at Graceland, the performer’s home in Memphis, Tenn.

(Nikki Boertman / Associated Press)

It’s almost time for Elvis Week at Graceland and, for the first time, there’s a parallel Virtual Elvis Week planned too. Both events run from Saturday to Aug. 16. Fans turn out every year to share their love of all things Elvis. For the virtual celebration, you pay $39 to join a closed Facebook group to watch past concerts, fresh interviews with bandmates, content from the archives, and a live stream of the annual candlelight vigil. Those who go in person pay $50 a day for events that include a tour of the mansion, screenings at a pop-up drive-in theater and a VIP spot at the vigil.
Info: graceland.com/elvis-week

4. Offline Elvis

The King can’t be here to entertain us during the pandemic, but Chris Maddox can. On Facebook, you can watch the Elvis impersonator in the Southern California fan band Graceband, who has stepped out of his white jumpsuit to re-cast himself as the “Crisis Crooner.”

Chris Maddox, 47, practices one of his parody songs in the closet of his Carlsbad home.

Chris Maddox, 47, practices one of his parody songs in the closet of his Carlsbad home. The longtime Elvis Presley tribute artist is now writing parody songs about living in quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Courtesy photo)

Maddox turned to recording original pandemic parodies on his Facebook page, the San Diego-Union Tribune reports, that go something like this: “Hand Spray,” set to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”; “It Seems I Clean,” set to “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical “Les Misérables”; and “I Walked the Dog (5 Times Today),” to Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name.”

Maddox.

Chris Maddox, in his spirit-of-Elvis mode. Maddox is taking a break from the King during the pandemic.

(David Laurell/Burbank Leader)

Graceband last played a gig in early February in Solana Beach before bars and restaurants closed. In this case, Elvis has left the building — only temporarily. Info: Chris Maddox on Facebook

5. Dr. Elvis

This Elvis can heal what ails you — with music. Dr. Elvis Francois, an orthopedic-surgery resident at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., has made some soulful songs during the crisis. Early in the pandemic he recorded John Lennon’s “Imagine” while a colleague, Dr. William Robinson, played the piano. The video went viral.

Dr. Elvis, as he’s called, and Robinson in April released a four-song album, “Music Is Medicine,” with their versions of “Imagine” and Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me,” to raise funds for COVID-19 relief. Rolling Stone magazine reports it was the “16th-biggest seller via digital album sales, according to Alpha Data.”



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