Elvis Week In Vienna

Mozart would be mortified. Beethoven would probably spin like an LP in his grave. But for next week, at least, they ain't nothing but hound dogs to Austrians obsessed with The King. Vienna's Hilton becomes the Heartbreak Hotel on Monday, when "Elvis Week" — seven days of live music, memorabilia and screenings of Elvis Presley films — kicks off for those who love him in Europe, where he never gave a concert. The festival coincides with the 28th anniversary of Presley's death on Aug. 16, 1977. But it underscores the singer's huge popularity in Austria, Germany and other countries where he's still got fans all shook up. "For me, he was the only unique entertainer in the world," said festival organizer Wolfgang Hahn, who runs Elvis4You, a new shop in downtown Vienna that sells Elvis music, memorabilia and trinkets. "My mission is to tell people in Central Europe how good he really was." Presley's popularity in Europe has grown even though he never performed publicly on the continent. The only time he spent in Europe was a 1958-60 stint in the U.S. Army in Germany, during which he visited Paris twice while on leave, and a brief stopover in Scotland when the military plane carrying him home was refueling. Hahn, who's 42 — "the same age Presley was when he died" — takes his Elvis seriously. He calls himself Wolf Memphis, drives a car that bears an "ELVIS9" license plate (one through eight were already taken by other fans), wears an Elvis guitar pick on a cord around his neck and is the lead singer of Little Memphis, a band that does Elvis covers in English and German. No pompadours, mutton chop sideburns, lip curls or hip swivels for him. Hahn, a friend of Presley's widow, Priscilla, makes regular pilgrimages to Graceland and sees Elvis impersonators as sacrilegious. "There was just one Elvis. I think it's strange to imitate him," he said Friday. "It's a gag for a birthday party, but we take Elvis very seriously. He started a musical revolution." Vienna's Las Vegas-style festival, which is expected to draw hundreds of fans, isn't the only Elvis event on offer. French fans plan to gather in Fontainebleu on Aug. 25, and Elvis enthusiasts in England will assemble in Bristol on Sept. 6 for what's being billed as United Elvis Meetup Day. Elvis rocks on in Britain, where a rerelease of his 1959 hit One Night soared to No. 1 on the country's singles charts in January. Over the years, Presley tunes have topped the U.K. charts 20 times, beating out The Beatles, which only managed 17 No. 1 hits. In Italy, where a fan club based at the Memphis Cafe in Milan boasts 430 members, about 70 people recently headed to Memphis, on a trip they organized to mark the anniversary, spokesman Maurizio Falletti said. Elvis fans from Japan, where several festivals are planned for later this month, are heading to Memphis next week, and a number of concerts featuring Elvis impersonators are scheduled in Thailand. Presley is also hot stuff in Germany, where fans gathered earlier this year to mark what would have been The King's 70th birthday. In Austria, the Elvis fuss might have prompted the Von Trapp Family Singers of The Sound of Music fame to head for the hills. But Hahn says he can't understand anyone who isn't crazy about Elvis, an obsession that began when he was 13 and first heard All Shook Up. "I just froze. I said, 'This is my guy," he recalled. "I get goose bumps just thinking about it." Hahn's most prized possessions include a Gibson guitar signed by the singer, an original Elvis tour jacket, a framed autograph and a photograph of him with Priscilla Presley. "He was 10 times better than what you hear on a CD or see on a DVD. He could do everything — rock, but also gospel and ballads that are so untouchable," he said. "Even at the end, he had presence and charisma."
Source: Associated Press / Updated: Aug 12, 2005 
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Aron (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 16, 2005report abuse
Hi, has anybody been in Bad Nauheim last weekend? Had the pleasure of seeing and listening to the 'Bad Nauheim Reunion'? This was absolutely awesome and glorious.
MauriceColgan (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 14, 2005report abuse
This news story has generated a massive amount of publicity at a most opportune time. Wolfgang Hahn is doing a fine job. Here in Ireland too Elvis's music will get some great publicity on the "Rose of Tralee" a two night RTE1 TV show, which attracts contestants for the crown, and their families, from all over the world. Have a great Elvis Presley 28th Anniversary 16th August 2005. Elvis fans are the greatest. Anyone heading for a Viennese Waltz?:-)

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