Alert
Close

Last chance – give now. Before 2014 ends, help struggling seniors. Donate

Highlights

Open

Caucasian couple looking at a laptop computer together

Horoscope

Scorpio - AARP Horoscope

Look at what your future holds if your birthday is between Nov. 23 & Dec. 22.

2015 LIFE@50+ MIAMI

Miami skyline viewed through palm trees.

Enjoy fun in the sun during Life@50+, May 14-16, 2015

Most Popular

Viewed

Over 50 but Still Rockin' as Elvis

Presley impersonators don't let age stop their show

Washington, who is African American, favors Elvis from 1970, singing ballads such as "The Wonder of You" and wearing fringe, not rhinestone-studded jumpsuits. But even he admits that artists must be versatile. "You can't be stuck in one era of Elvis," Washington says.

However, age may be a factor when it comes to Elvis competitions. Washington says some contest judges prefer younger performers — those who look like Elvis circa 1957. One of the biggest competitions, the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist, staged for five years by Elvis Presley Enterprises, has never had a contestant "close to 50 years old. We don't have restrictions, but that is the way it has worked out," says spokesman David Beckwith.

One possible reason: Fans and shows favor the 23-year-old performers. "The younger guys do charm the ladies more," Carroll says.

A full-time gig

Church has performed as an Elvis tribute artist since 1983, when an Air Force buddy dared him to enter a talent competition. "I won the contest," he says, and he's been dancing and singing ever since. This month, he'll head to Finland and perform in a casino for two months.

To combat burnout after almost 30 years of Elvis songs, Church has recorded cover tunes from other artists in Elvis' style and mixed in lesser-known songs from the 720 that the King recorded. He works just about every weekend at parties, theaters and nightclubs.

Eddie Powers, 49, has worked in Las Vegas — a haven for Elvis impersonators — for 15 years, singing at birthday parties, corporate events, conventions and wedding chapels.

"It's very, very competitive," he says, estimating that there are 50 or so Elvis performers in Vegas. Among them are seven or eight — including Powers — who earn a full-time living from it. Fees for Elvis performers range from $100 to $5,000 or more per show.

When he first started, Powers drummed up work by mailing promotional packages, one by one, to potential clients, and lined up a band to back him. Now he uses a website to entice clients and a CD of recorded music during his performances.

"I love Elvis and I love to entertain," Powers says. "The audience doesn't know you've been doing it for 25 years."

Vickie Elmer is a writer in Ypsilanti, Mich.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Cirque Du Soleil

Members save up to 20% on live Cirque du Soleil shows with their AARP membership card.

Member Benefit AARP Regal 2

Members pay $8 for Regal ePremiere tickets purchased online. Conditions apply.

Movies Unlimited

Members save 10% on purchases of DVDs & Blu-ray discs from Movies Unlimited.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points