Why Is Elvis Presley Still The King?

Elvis Presley 300

Thirty-two years after his death, Presley still attracts new generations of fans. Courtesy of Overlook Press hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Overlook Press

When he was alive, Elvis Presley fell in and out of favor with critics and fans. Though he has been mocked, derided and imitated, he has sold more records in death than he did while alive. The legend of Elvis Presley continues to endure.

The 32-year stretch since he died has enabled fans from several generations to recognize Presley's distinct style, the power of his voice and the inventive exuberance of his performance. Abraham Lincoln is arguably history's most iconic American. Someday, it might be Barack Obama. But around the world, for many, it's Elvis Presley.

As part of Weekend Edition's occasional series "On the Couch," Scott Simon speaks with Adam Victor, author of The Elvis Encyclopedia (an A-to-Z guide to Presley's life), and Gordon Stoker, a singer in the superstar's backup band The Jordanaires, to discuss the legacy of the man still known as "The King." They're joined by fans Tess Foley of New Haven, Conn.; Jerry Sailor of South Bend, Ind.; and NPR's Sylvia Poggioli.

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