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Tribute paid to rock icon

Published 8:38pm Monday, August 6, 2012

Elvis impersonator Tim Dudley will be recreating the rock icon in Niles for the 35th anniversary of Presley’s death.

The tribute artist will be performing at Riverfront Amphitheater on Aug. 15 — the day before the anniversary of Presley’s death on Aug. 16, 1977, at 42 at his Graceland home in Memphis.

Tim Dudley

While to a younger generation Aug. 16, 1977, might mean the 19th anniversary of Madonna’s 1958 birth in Bay City, “the king” left the building before Dudley, 28, was born. He’s been emulating Elvis for eight years.

“My ‘memories’ come from movies I watched when I was a child, Elvis fans I have met at my shows or at contests I have entered,” Dudley said.

Had Dudley been born, he could have been among 12,000 who were thrilled by Presley at the University of Notre Dame on Oct. 20, 1976. Or in 1978, on the fourth season of “Saturday Night Live,”

Dudley would have seen a skit spoofing his afterlife, his yellow coat appearing in a live limited engagement at New Jersey Civic Coliseum.

Elvis’s image presides over a carefully curated culture some see time turning into a religion.

That image fans continually remake is complicated, considering it includes drug addict and Nixon admirer along with rockabilly rebel, Army private, B-movie idol, family man and Las Vegas legend.

Year in and year out, he remains the top-grossing dead celebrity except in 2006, when Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain nudged past.

“I don’t know why Elvis is the most-imitated artist,” Dudley said.  “I would say it has to do with the American dream. Elvis came from a poor childhood to be an international superstar overnight.

But he never forgot where he came from. He was very humble person with all his fame.

“My specialty is I cover the 1970-‘77 era of Elvis,” Dudley said. “The jumpsuits mostly. But I do cover all three eras, if the person booking my show or owner of the place asks me.”

His Niles appearance for the Wednesday concert series will last two hours, with two sets and two costume changes.

Dudley performed in Washington while national spokesman for GrandFamilies of America.

“They were a group that helped grandparents with clothing, food or any kind of help if they were raising grandkids. They also help any aunt, uncle or any kind of family raising a family member. In 2008, they had a four-day event along with AARP. Kellie Pickler was spokesman for AARP because she was raised by her grandparents. They flew me and Kellie in and, on May 8, 2008, we did a concert on the front lawn of the Capitol for all the grandparents. God and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ sure have blessed me with a lot of great things in my life with shows, meeting people and an awesome wife who stuck by me in highs and lows of my career.”

Tim became an Elvis fan at 3, when his mom rented the “Aloha from Hawaii” video.

He asked his grandma to pin a towel on his shirt.

After one day of that crude caped costume, she made him his first Elvis suit.

Most shows are “backtrack” as Dudley doesn’t have a band, but he has worked with some out of Chicago and with one from Alabama for a Memphis show.

“This is a great honor to do this for the City of Niles,” he said. “I love performing for Niles at this venue when I get a chance. Since I’m a Christian, I try to put on a very family-type show, a very respectful and classy tribute to Elvis. In no way do I disrespect him on stage. It’s about bringing back memories for older people and making new ones at the same time.”

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