Next week marks the 35th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. Though his death was over three decades ago, his life and legacy live on through his music, and those who impersonate him.
One local Elvis impersonator is Terry Padgett from Moody. To commemorate his death, Padgett will be performing a concert called “Remembering Elvis after 35 years.” It will be held Aug. 25 at Club Fitness in Moody.
Performing with Padgett will be Moody Police Chief Bobby Breed, who can play a set of drums as good as the next one.
“I am so humbled that Bobby shares the stage with me,” Padgett said.
Opening the night for Padgett is Steve Campbell, a Roy Orbison impersonator.
“This man is a delight for the ears,” Padgett said. “Steve is so talented and so awesome. If anything, come hear him. You will love him. Club Fitness is a great facility and owner Priscilla Praytor is wonderful. We all look forward to this wonderful night of music and tribute.”
Not an Elvis fan as a kid
Believe it or not, Padgett was not an Elvis fan growing up.
“My mom and dad were not Elvis fans,” he said. “But, he was so iconic that everyone knew who he was. I remember when momma came in the room the morning of Aug. 16, 1977, and told me Elvis had died. I was almost 8 years old and reacted like, ‘Wow, Elvis died?’ You never thought Elvis could die. In my mind’s eye, he was almost a super hero, like Evel Knievel. He went in directions that made people wonder what he was thinking. He dared to do things differently. Then when he succeeded, he was admired and people wanted to be around him and be close to him.”
Padgett said people have since made albums and have broken sales records.
“But Elvis was cool,” Padgett said. “He had a style that cannot be duplicated. It is hard for me sometimes to get on stage in front of people and try to impersonate such an incredible entertainer. Yet, I sympathize with him. He was so close to the public, but in the same sense, so far. He never could get too close. People felt, and still do, feel connected to Elvis. He is like the friend next door.”
A new career starts
In August 1996, Padgett asked his wife, Vickie, to record some Elvis footage that was coming on VH-1.
“They were focusing on Elvis and the 19th year of his death,” Padgett said. “I went for some training for my job in Atlanta, and could not wait to get back and watch it. My interest really peaked since my nickname at work was Elvis. I had to see for myself the man’s handiwork. I had to see him on stage and hear him sing. When I came home that Friday, I stayed on that television all night and most of the day Saturday.”
A star is born
Padgett said he could not believe there was this human being that could look like that, sound like that and dance like that.
“Where had Elvis been all my life?” Padgett asked. “So for fun, I started singing along with him, and then someone at church found out about it and the rest is history.”
Padgett said his main goal as an Elvis impersonator is to pay tribute to Elvis.
“I want to bring the music to life,” he said. “A lot of times, I encourage people that come to my show to look up Elvis on the computer and just watch him in concert. It is a sight to see.”
Praytor said Elvis Presley’s name, image and voice are instantly recognized around the globe.
“He had a versatile voice with much success in many genres of music, including rock, country, pop, ballads, gospel and blues,” Praytor said. “Even after his death, his popularity remains strong among a wide variety of people, both young and old. This wide popularity, as well as his important role in American musical history, makes him a cultural icon.”
Praytor said thousands and thousands of people travel hundreds of miles from all over the world to visit Graceland, Presley’s homestead and burial ground in Memphis, Tenn.
“The legend is still as vibrant as ever,” she said. “His talent, charisma and good humor endeared him to millions, as did the humility and human kindness he demonstrated throughout his life. He was a man who never took sole credit for his success and was never ashamed to Praise God for the blessings of his talent. When it came to helping those who needed it most, dozens upon dozens of charities can say thank you to Elvis for those unexpected moments that were fueled by his deep compassion for helping others.”
Presley’s beautiful angelic voice still touches the souls of so many, and has inspired a legion of impersonators, one being Terry Padgett.
“Padgett’s tribute to Elvis is very sincere and heartfelt,” Praytor said. “He puts on a high-energy show, giving his all in every performance. You catch that sense of good humor, charisma and talent Elvis possessed when Terry is on stage. It is always a pleasure to have Terry perform at Club Fitness. Accompanying Padgett is Bobby Breed, who adds to the fun and excitement. Previous crowds have been wowed by their performances. We are also very excited to have Steve Campbell back in the building. He does an exceptional Roy Orbison. His performance will blow you away.”
Campbell, who lives in Oxford, said he is looking forward to being at Club Fitness again. “We had a really good time when we were there before,” Campbell said. “It’s a really neat venue. I enjoy working with Terry.”
Campbell started impersonating Roy Orbison in 2005. He first put together a tribute to Orbison at what used to be Legends in Motion in Riverside.
Tickets for the show are $15 in advance and $20 day of show.
For more information, call 205-640-1641, or go to www.clubfitnessentertainment.com.