Elvis, When Imitation Is Not Flattering

A publicity photo from the 1957 film, "Jailhouse Rock", in which Elvis Presley plays a convict who becomes a rock star AP

Elvis is the most imitated singer on the planet, but often he is badly imitated. Jim Nayder, host of NPR's "The Annoying Music Show," shares the best of the worst with The Early Show.

Although Elvis died 25 years ago, he is still the center of a lasting craze where impersonators dress like him, dance like him, and try to sing like him. There are countless remakes of his classic tunes and many don't necessarily rock the jailhouse.

Nayder's list of the "Most Annoying Elvis Songs Sung Horribly By Others."
  1. Piranha Man singing "Viva Las Vegas."
    Nayder says: Piranha man (or, as he's also known, Piranha Man from Pakistan) is a well-known character on a Chicago morning radio show. On his 2000 album, "Blowing Goats - Piranha Man does the Paki-Standards," is an absolutely horrific rendition of "Viva Las Vegas." He sings (if you can call it that), he shrieks, he's all over the place vocally.

  2. Eilert Pilarm singing "All Shook Up."
    Nayder says: Pilarm is Sweden's "Singin' Sensation" and one of their pre-eminent Elvis impersonators, though he looks nothing like "the King" and doesn't try to, either. Eilart is blonde, balding, and quite round...well, perhaps in that respect he bears a bit of a resemblance to an older Elvis. He also sports the same style bad jumpsuits that Elvis wore in his later years. Again, this guy's all over the place - he's accompanied by a cheap synthesizer, and you can hardly understand what he's singing. This one's off his 1995 "Greatest Hits" album.

  3. Little Jimmy Osmond singing "Be My Teddy Bear."
    Nayder says: This one seemed to be such a natural fit. As he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 1999, "I was just 3 years old when I made my debut in a Las Vegas showroom, and I'd be wearing a hat and do my... Elvis (Presley) impressions." But alas, the youngest Osmond brother's rendition of this Elvis classic leaves one just wanting to strangle this pre-pubescent, shrill, saccharine teddy bear. As Jim says, "A pudgy 8-year-old Osmond recreates a pudgy 42-year-old Elvis in song and pudginess." No further positive commentary on this song can be offered.

  4. Abdalah Bucaram sings "Jailhouse Rock."
    Nayder says: Abdalah Bucaram, the former President of Ecuador, you may be asking yourself? Yes indeed, 'tis the same Bucaram, nicknamed "El Loco" by his fellow countrymen who ousted him from office in 1997 after a possible record-setting six-month stint as president (it should be noted, on grounds of "mental incompetence"). He's singing or rather, screaming, a Spanish version of "Jailhouse Rock," and apparently promoted his CD by singing "Jailhouse Rock" while dancing around with scantily clad women. Perhaps this recording was the real reason Bucaram was deposed.

  • Robin Wood

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