We all know that name– Elvis Presley, the King of Rock! We know him for a lot of things, and one thing that we find ourselves consistently familiar with would be his shining onstage ambiance. From his funky moves to those insanely eclectic outfits, it’s safe to say that the king is a memorable performer. However, there is far more about Presley’s stage presence that deserved to be remembered just as fondly as his dance moves and jumpsuits.
While onstage, Presley seemed to gain tremendous amounts of pleasure from being able to interact and make direct contact with the audience. The rock legend knew how to take an audience and make each and every member feel special, regardless of the venue and who was in the crowd.
“We’re going to do a lot of songs, old ones, new ones, and hope we do something you like. Were here to entertain you and make you happy. So just enjoy yourselves and leave the driving to us.”
-June 21, 1977 | Elvis introducing himself in Rapid City, South Dakota
From shout outs to warm welcomes, to fun gags to get the crowd rolling, the King of Rock is arguably the original king of stage banter as well. One of Presley’s favorite things to do was to come onstage and introduce himself as someone else. Some of the names he would introduce himself as were:
• Pat Boone
• Little Richard
• Wayne Newton
• Frankie Avalon
• Johnny Cash
• Sammy Davis Jr.
• “Jimmy Carter’s Smart Brother”
Straying a bit from the topic of what made the king a “fun” performer and leaning more towards what made him noble and even humble, Presley made sure to remain apolitical at every one of his shows. It didn’t matter who or what it was that concertgoers believed in, or supported, what mattered to Presley was giving them a good time. His focus never wavered. He simply wanted to entertain all of his fans.
Here is Presley in Las Vegas, 1970, singing “Suspicious Minds.”