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Adoring Elvis

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Adoring Elvis

A Guest Blog by Shelly Powers, author of Elvis Remembered: Intimate Interviews from the Elvis International Archives, With the People Who Knew Him Best.


There are so many reasons why I’ve adored ELVIS PRESLEY ever since I was a small child. 

Before I explain, let's first set aside the fact that he just so happens to be the most brilliant, charismatic, and talented entertainer that has ever lived (no bias here), which is one reason why he is still as popular as ever all these years later.


On a personal level, Elvis was a force of positivity in our household growing up in the sixties. I was born in the front bedroom of a small, terraced house in Manchester, England. My early years were spent living with four siblings, as well as my great Gran, Nan, Mum and Dad all under one roof. We didn't have a lot of money so the little luxuries in life were scarce. However, I remember the day our dad came home with an old record player and an Elvis LP. That first vinyl was played over and over again, and that was the beginning of our life-long love for Elvis Presley.

Shelly and her brother.

Many Saturday afternoons I would sit on our sofa with my Gran and we would watch Elvis movies on the telly. We never missed a film, they were so innocent and entertaining. It wasn't long before I had developed a huge crush on Elvis, and it was contagious since the whole family was in love with him. My siblings and I saved what little pocket money we earned to buy more Elvis records, adding to our growing collection. 

I remember the time when Elvis performed for the Aloha from Hawaii satellite special and the whole family sat transfixed to the screen watching the entire show in awe of his talents. Later that day, my little brother entertained us by running around with a towel tucked into his shirt like a cape mimicking Elvis to the music of "2001 A Space Odyssey." Despite having a lot of love and laughter in our home, Elvis was my beacon of light if I ever felt sad or if things felt hard. Any true Elvis fan can relate to this feeling of comfort. His music touched my heart and soul like no other singer.


During my teenage years I had spells of boy band crushes on The Osmond Brothers, The Bay City Rollers, David Cassidy and The Partridge Family, but Elvis was always there like a comforting old friend. When an Elvis song played on the radio, I would drift off to a place that felt familiar, and I would marvel at the range of his voice. One memory that will never leave me is of my dear Nan sitting with her hands held together, as if in prayer, with her eyes closed while listening to Elvis singing American Trilogy on the radio. We sat in silence from beginning to end. It was her favourite Elvis song, and now mine too. 


When I was 7 years old, I told my mum that I was going to go to America and marry Elvis when I grew up. She would just smile at me knowing I was a dreamer. I did in fact make it to America, though it was years after his passing. Since I couldn’t fulfill my childhood dream the next best thing was to marry an Elvis impersonator, right? And so, I did.

Shelly in her Elvis jumpsuit.

If you ask anyone where they were when Elvis died, most people can give you an answer. His passing was a tragic historical moment as the world went into mourning for the loss of a wonderful man. The shared love of Elvis brought people together. Fan clubs were formed in honour of his memory, and I have connected with some great people around the world because of it. Many of these friendships formed when I moved to Las Vegas after marrying Elvis (the impersonator). A friend pointed me in the direction of a great online fan club called Elvis International which had members from all over. After joining I became heavily involved in posting articles about Elvis since living in Las Vegas made it easy for me to meet people that were once connected to him in one way or another. I would attend a lot of Elvis conventions, with my husband at the time, and would report back to the fan club with photos and stories of my exciting encounters.

Shelly and Joe Esposito, lifelong friend and body guard of Elvis.

It wasn't long before I was setting up my very first interview with the great Ed Bonja. Ed was hired by Colonel Tom Parker to be Elvis Presley’s personal photographer. This interview was so well received that it led to another, and another, and so on. I soon found myself jetting off to LA to interview Patti Parry, Jerry Schilling and Myrna Smith all in one day! Being the interviewer for Elvis International was probably one of the most magical times of my life. When I look back, I realize just how fortunate I was —my life felt like a surreal dream. Each person I interviewed were so close to Elvis that I could almost feel his presence in the room. I became friends with some of the interviewees but, sadly, many of them have passed on now. I am left with the memories of meeting these beautiful people and having moving conversations with them about their dear friend Elvis.

Shelly and Cynthia Pepper, Elvis' co-star in the movie Kissin' Cousins


Shelly and Jimmy Velvet, Elvis' friend who ran Elvis memorabilia museum in Memphis.

If you read my book, you’ll soon see what sets my interviews apart from the rest. They are more like two friends chatting about a loved one. Each person brought something different, inspiring, and heartwarming to the conversation which were recorded and transcribed for Elvis Remembered. It was such an honour and a privilege to meet friends of Elvis and listen to their take on the "The King of Rock and Roll.” The one thing that resonates with me is how much he was loved by everyone who knew him. I wanted to get that across in this book. The stories, the images, the laughter, and the tears are all here for you, his fans, who meant so much to him. 


Lovely people, I hope you enjoy this book and the stories within!


Shelly P.


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