It is definitely not the sleepiest town in the United States, but the city of Las Vegas in the desert of Nevada state is overwhelmed every year with thousands and thousands of people looking suspiciously (or not) like Aaron Elvis Presley. The convention has been running for a number of years and is dedicated to the life and times of The King as he was known whose name has become synonymous with Las Vegas with the convention culminating in the crowning of the new King, or at least the best impersonator of him.
Elvis’ love affair with Vegas began when he debuted in the city in 1956. At just 21 years old he rocked the crowd with his Heartbreak Hotel classic but unfortunately for him the people were not ready for his hip swinging and loud singing and according to Newsweek magazine, nobody was going to take Sinatra town easily.
Although his first appearance at Freddie Bells Sands hotel in Las Vegas did not go down too well, the King would return to Vegas and make a number of his classic films there including Viva Las Vegas in 1964 where Elvis plays a down on his luck racing driver trying to get enough cash together to buy a new car and ultimately win the Grand Prix. Perhaps more famously during the number of visits he made during the 60’s was his wedding to long time sweetheart Priscilla Beaulieu on May 1st 1967 at the Aladdin Hotel. The wedding has become an integral part of Las Vegas culture for runaway brides and grooms and a whole wedding industry has appeared with Little White Wedding Chapels springing up all over the place and for a little bit of extra money you can get Elvis, or at least someone who looks vaguely like him, to marry you.
However, it was not until his third return that Elvis and Vegas cemented their relationship when he returned for what became his most famous and legendary performances. Walking on stage on July 31st 1969 at the International, Elvis was now the finished article and unlike his previous show he went down a storm. The show was such a success that his manager, the infamous Colonel, signed him up for twice yearly shows said to net Elvis $125,000 a week, considerably more than his first Sands performance!
Elvis went on to play in Vegas at the newly renamed Las Vegas Hilton until his last Vegas show in December of 1976. The King died of heart failure in 1977 but will always be remembered in Vegas and the popularity of the Elvis Convention is tribute to that.