Wall Street Journal explores 'The Elvis Enigma'

Looking back on Elvis Week just past, Marc Myers of The Wall Street Journal returns to the question of just why so many thousands of fans make the pilgrimage to Memphis year after year -- in that heat, to boot -- to pay their respects. He finds a variety of thoughtful answers from fans of different ages and backgrounds. The common thread seems to be that because Elvis the man and Elvis the artist are so big and complicated and multifaceted, understanding them necessarily requires constant revisiting.

"Elvis is infinitely mysterious," said June Balish, 49, a medical editor from Brooklyn, N.Y. who has attended Elvis Week for 14 years with her husband Rob. "He's the only star who touches your mind, heart and sexuality all at once -- and you never really fully figure out why."

But there is no single "why"; Elvis appeals to so many people on so many different levels. So back they continue to come, those of Elvis' own generation as well as those born years after his death.

"No matter how big you think Elvis is, he always turns out to be even bigger," said Barbara McLean, 64, a custom wedding-cake designer from Ottawa who has returned for the past 15 years. "Every year, I think I've finally figured it all out, but I haven't. He just keeps growing on you."

Further Elvis reading from this blog's archive here and here. And because noted Elvis fan and disgraced former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich happens to be in the news today, let's revisit this old gem.


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  • About Links to Memphis

Deputy Online News Editor Mark Richens takes you through all the news about Memphis from sources outside the Mid-South.