Amid this week's 20th anniversary of the singer's popularly disputed death,
Elvis Presley sites are as common as Elvis Presley sightings and as busy as
the King's hips on the Ed Sullivan show.
Fans, impersonators, merchants, and humorists have taken to the Internet,
creating a collective multimedia tribute to Elvis that is alternately
reverent, kooky, and downright tasteless. While most of the anniversary action is happening in Memphis, Tennessee, Netizens are keeping
tabs on the events through the Web and newsgroups devoted to the King.
The official online center of the Elvis universe has been inundated with
electronic visitors. "It's been crazy," said Paula Haynes, Webmaster for
the site belonging to Graceland, Elvis's former home and
current museum. The site has gotten so much traffic in the past week that a
second server was installed. Daily hit counts over the past five days have
topped 240,000, up from a normal range of between 5,000 and 10,000,
according to Haynes.
Email to the site is up four-fold from a usual count of 100 messages.
"We've gotten mail from every country you can imagine, and then some I
never heard of," said Haynes.
Information about Memphis events marking the 20th anniversary will include
photographic coverage of tonight's candlelight vigil at 9:00 ET.
Unofficial sites are divided into those by people who love Elvis, people
who want to make money off Elvis, and people who think Elvis is hilarious.
Sincere fans have exploited the Web's multimedia capabilities to bring
Elvis to life with photographs and recordings. An online scrapbook
displays clippings about the singer's death. One site claims to
offer a complete collection of lyrics to Elvis songs. Another features a discography with sound links, lyrics, and recording information for two dozen
songs, including Elvis favorites "Hound Dog," "Tutti Frutti," and "Love Me
There also are newsgroups dedicated to Elvis, including
alt.fan.elvis-presley and alt.elvis.king. Traffic seemed normal despite
this week's observations.
Profit-seeking sites include the official Graceland site, which includes a
Shopping Mall. Among
the offerings are "limited edition" goods commemorating the 20th
anniversary and featuring a 20th anniversary logo. The mall's sales this
week have been "fantastic," according to Haynes. "They're breaking all
Less orthodox moneymaking schemes include The Flying Elvi, Elvis
impersonators who, for a fee, will sky-dive at weddings and other social
occasions. Art lovers can purchase Elvis-inspired works including the
portrayal called "I
Saw Elvis Selling Pictures From a Van in a Lot." Other artworks,
including "Elvis in
Space" and "Study
Of Severed Elvis Head With Salmon," may be viewed on the Web but are
not for sale.
Elvis humor on the Web is largely interactive. Netizens who want to
document their Elvis sightings may do so. Earlier
this summer, one could support a posthumous Elvis campaign for prime
minister of Canada. Americans for Cloning Elvis is using the Web to collect signatures
supporting its cause. And game fans can play against the King
himself in a life-or-death battle over a pile of pills.