Why Elvis is still relevant in Las Vegas

Elvis Presley would have been 80 this past January. He died in August of 1977, but you would never know it in Las Vegas. There are plenty of Elvis impersonators in the city, especially at wedding chapels and in impressionist shows. Not to mention movies, Broadway plays and TV commercials which associate the King with Sin City (3000 Miles to Graceland,  the play Honeymoon in Vegas, based on the movie, and a recent State Farm ad, just to name a few).

There has also been a body of work representing the performer and his role in Las Vegas. Here's a short list:

  • The former Aria Cirque Show (Viva Elvis).
  • The current Elvis Experience at Westgate (formerly LVH, Las Vegas Hilton, and the International)
  • The King's Ransom at the former Imperial Palace (now the LINQ)
  • The former Elvis-o-Rama Museum on Industrial (gosh I miss that… it was a great museum!)

Elvis first performed in Las Vegas in 1956 at the former New Frontier. The crowd at that time was a little older and more conservative. Elvis didn't fit that mold, so the shows didn't go over that well.

In 1963, filming for Viva Las Vegas began, and that kick started his love affair with the city and, subsequently, started drawing a lot more folks to Las Vegas.

In 1967, he married Priscilla at the Aladdin (now Planet Hollywood). He hung out at the Sahara. He never played at the Sands like the Rat Pack, but his impact on the city was much like theirs.

From 1969 to 1976, Elvis played a great many shows at the International (then the Las Vegas Hilton… which later became LVH and is now the Westgate).

So yes, there's a lot of history there. And as we know, Elvis was troubled late in life, and less than a year after performing the last Vegas shows, Elvis passed away. There was a time when Elvis and his impersonators were considered a sad joke. But respect for the King and his legacy have withstood the test of time. Impersonators relate a sense of fun and excitement, and people love to see Elvis memorabilia and places where he performed.

I urge you to check out the Elvis Experience at Westgate. It is scheduled to close at the end of May, and it would be a shame if you missed out on the experience.

Viva Elvis… and Viva Las Vegas,