Elvis impersonators are in the building for Presley’s birthday concerts in Las Vegas

Elvis Presley in concert at the Forum in Inglewood in 1970.

Elvis Presley in concert at the Forum in Inglewood in 1970.

(Harry Chase / Los Angeles Times)
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Elvis Presley may have left the building nearly four decades ago, but his voice continues to reverberate in Las Vegas as lookalike singers pay homage to the King.

Some Elvis tribute artists are year-round fixtures on the Strip, while others flock to Sin City each January to mark Presley’s birthday. Presley would have turned 81 years old on Jan. 8.

Presley first performed in Vegas in 1956 at the now long-gone New Frontier. He went on to perform at various properties and for several years played to sold-out crowds at the International (later the Las Vegas Hilton) until his death in 1977.


On Jan. 8, one of Vegas’ longest-running, and most unique, Elvis impersonators, Pete Vallee, will celebrate with birthday cake in the Piano Bar at Harrah’s Las Vegas.

Better known as “Big Elvis” – he weighs roughly 500 pounds – Vallee has a voice to match his outsized girth. During free afternoon shows at 2, 3:30 and 5, Big Elvis will be joined by other ETAs. That’s performer slang for Elvis Tribute Artists.

The evenings of Jan. 8 and 9, singers and longtime friends of Presley will gather at the Cannery in North Las Vegas for “A Celebration of the King’s Life.”

Tribute artist Johnny Fortuno will be joined by the Stamps Quartet, which sang backup for Elvis for several years. Presley once described the group’s leader, Ed Enoch, as “the best and most powerful lead vocalist in the world.”

Tickets for the 8 p.m. shows are $15 and will be sold at the door.

“One Night With the King” will bring three tribute artists together at the Orleans on Jan. 9 and 10. The impersonators include recording artist Brandon Bennett; Bill Cherry, who has been performing as Elvis since 1987; and Kavan, whom the BBC named “the World’s No. 1 Rock ‘n’ Roll Elvis” in 2007.


Tickets, which start at $19.95, are available online or by calling (702) 284-7777.

Later in the month, Justin Shandor, a young man who is considered one of the finest Elvis tribute artists, will bring his soulful voice to Henderson’s M Resort, Spa-Casino.

In 2010, Shandor won the Ultimate Elvis Tribune Artist Contest at Graceland in Memphis, Tenn.

Accompanied by a 13-piece band, the Las Vegas resident will perform songs from movies in which Presley starred.

Tickets begin at $30 and are available online or by calling (800) 745-3000.



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