Elvis Everywhere for string quartet and pre-recorded sound | Michael Daugherty, composer

Elvis Everywhere
for string quartet and pre-recorded sound (1993)

Instrumentation: String quartet and pre-recorded sound

Publisher: Michael Daugherty Music (BMI)

Duration: 8 minutes

World Premiere: Kronos Quartet, University of California San Diego, October 12, 1993, San Diego, California.

Program Note:

Elvis Everywhere (1993) for string quartet and pre-recorded sound was commissioned and recorded for Nonesuch by Kronos Quartet. The first performance took place by Kronos Quartet at the University of California San Diego on October 12, 1993 in San Diego, California. Elvis Everywhere explores the world of Elvis Presley impersonators who perpetuate the music and style of the “King of Rock and Roll” in tribute acts by looking, dressing, singing and talking just like Elvis did. Elvis impersonators typically choose one of three periods in Elvis’ life to portray: the 1950s “Blue Suede Shoes,” Memphis, Sun Records period; the 1960s Hollywood and black leather 1968 “Comeback Special” period; the 1970s Las Vegas white jump suit with karate belt period.

To find Elvis impersonators for my project, I made a pilgrimage to the International Elvis Impersonators Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada in the summer of 1992. As I entered the Vegas Hilton International Hotel—where Elvis actually performed the final six years of his life— encountered dozens “Elvii” in full costume roaming the lobby. Attending Elvis tribute concerts for several days, I was impressed by Patty “Elvis” Manning, a female Elvis impersonator located in Chicago. After explaining my Elvis project, Patty agreed to participate and recruited John Taylor and Larry Caballero, two legendary Elvis impersonators from Chicago.

In the spring of 1992, we convened in a recording studio in Chicago, where I produced a recording of the three Elvis impersonators improvising and singing from a script I had created. My script contained lists of hotels, concert venues, films and people in Elvis’ life, Elvis quotes (confirmed and unconfirmed) and Elvis sayings such as: Shakespeare’s “The World’s a Stage” (recited by Elvis at every performance); “Thank you very much” (often drawled by Elvis in concert after every song); “Elvis has left the building” (announced at the end of every Elvis Vegas concert).

Also referenced in the script was Elvis’ Faustian relationship with Hollywood and Colonel Parker (his lifelong “manager” who took 50 percent of everything that Elvis ever made), Elvis’ love of martial arts (he was a black belt) and Elvis in the afterlife (many believe he is still alive and living incognito in Kalamazoo, Michigan).

To create a “click track” so that the string quartet (yet to be written) could synchronize in concert with the Elvis impersonators soundtrack (yet to be edited), I composed baritone saxophone riffs, which were also recorded during the session. I then “left the building” and returned to my studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I created the Elvis impersonators’ soundtrack by digitally cutting and splicing the recorded material on my computer. Finally, I composed the string quartet part.

Decades after the untimely death of Elvis at the age of 42, Elvis Everywhere makes an argument that Elvis continues to be “everywhere” and “everything” to millions of fans who experience vicariously the “King of Rock and Roll” through the performances of Elvis’s music by dedicated and passionate Elvis impersonators.

–Michael Daugherty



Elvis Impersonators: Patty “Elvis” Manning, John Taylor and Larry Caballero
Text: Michael Daugherty

Viva Las Vegas
You can’t play unless you can to Elvis….
Can you do Elvis?

Viva Las Vegas
The Aladdin Hotel
Ann Margaret
Are ya lonesome tonight
The Ed Sullivan show
“Double O Seven”
yeah I’m “Gone With the Wind”
well the American way
the face of Jesus
and don’t forget “Sun” records.

Because Elvis everywhere
I said Elvis yeah
I said Elvis everywhere
you know who I’m talkin’ about
Elvis Everywhere
I’m everywhere
I’m not talkin’ Tom Jones
I’m not talkin’ Neil Diamond
I’m talkin’ Elvis
I’m everywhere

Las Vegas
Colonel Parker
Look away
I’m gonna win that race!

See the tighter the jumpsuit you wear the easier it is to hit those high notes, you know LOOK AWAY!!!

Hound Dog
I ain’t nothin’ but a

Oh I wish I was in the land of cotton
old times they’re not forgotten
look away
That’s right baby

Cause Dixieland where I was born
Early Lord one frosty morn
Look away

That’s right baby…

Baby, Baby
Ah Baby

The World’s a Stage
Thank you very much…
you’re a great audience

you know someone said that the world’s a stage and each of us plays a part

The stage is bare and I’m standing there with the emptiness all around

Elvis Everywhere

Heh Hah Who Heh Hah Hah Who

I’m still alive
Well I’m back,
I’m still alive,
yes I’m back

I’m in Memphis
I’m at the K-mart
I’m in Pontiac Stadium
and at some field down south baby
you can find me in Kalamazoo

I’m in Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas
I’m at some hotel room baby
see me at the Burger King
I’m in “Aloha from Hawaii”
I’m in your mama’s swimmin’ pool
I’m in your backyard

Well I’m still alive
I’m alive
Yeah I’m alive

Elvis has left the building
Thank-you very much.
Ah Thank-you very much and goodnight.

Good night, you’ve been a great audience.
Thank-you for comin’.

We’ll see you again real soon.
Thank-you for comin’.

Good night.
You’re a terrific audience.
And I’m glad I had this opportunity to be with you tonight.
Good night everybody ‘cause ELVIS IS LEAVING THE BUILDING

Thank you very much and good night.

I mean it, I swear

Right about now…

Good night, ladies and gentlemen you’ve been a terrific audience.

I’m still alive!