(Soundbite of "C.C. Rider")
Mr. ROCKY ELVIS NEUBERGER (Elvis Impersonator): (Singing) Oh, see, C.C. Rider. Oh, see what you have got.
SCOTT SIMON, host:
Tuesday marks 28 years since the alleged death of Elvis Presley in Memphis, Tennessee. Sightings of Mr. Presley have been widely reported since then, but so far, no one has been able to predict when or where. What better way to convince Elvis Presley to show himself to the world this weekend than to annoy him into it, sort of like poking a grizzly with a stick. Well, our stick is Jim Nayder, host of "The Annoying Music Show!" that's heard on public radio stations across the country, who are indifferent to the process of license renewal. He joins us from our Chicago bureau.
Jim, thanks for being with us. How are you?
Mr. JIM NAYDER (Host, "The Annoying Music Show!"): Scott, I feel like a cupcake that's been left in the oven just a little too long.
SIMON: (Laughs) Well, I'll make no judgment as to whether or not your appearance actually meets that test, too. Who's making...
Mr. NAYDER: You know, I remember when you used to call me Cupcake.
SIMON: I still call you Cupcake. You think I'd let a thing like marriage change that? No, you're still our little Cupcake.
Mr. NAYDER: Thank you, Scott.
SIMON: Now let's make plain that an Elvis Presley song sung by Elvis Presley cannot by definition be annoying 'cause it's authentic. What we're listening to is other people singing Elvis Presley songs. Who is trying to sing "C.C. Rider" here?
Mr. NAYDER: Well, this is--you know, "C.C. Rider" was a staple of many of a live Elvis performance, which makes it unfortunately a staple of every Elvis impersonator performance from here to Tupelo. And this version, of course, performed by Rocky Elvis Neuberger(ph), and I think it, you know, with Elvis allegedly not around, I think this captures the spirit of a live Elvis performance that we miss so much since 1977.
(Soundbite of "C.C. Rider")
Mr. NEUBERGER: ...(Unintelligible).
Mr. NAYDER: You know, that, of course, an upbeat song, but Elvis didn't shy away from controversy and sometimes a darker lyric or two. And when one wants to learn about Chicago's dark history of failed public housing, I think he hit the...
SIMON: Oh, my word. Are you going to have the nerve to play "In the Ghetto"?
Mr. NAYDER: Well, let's see.
SIMON: Oh, all right. Oh, yes.
(Soundbite of "In the Ghetto")
Mr. EILERT PILARM: (Singing) As the snow flies, on a cold and gray Chicago morning a poor little baby child is born in the ghetto.
Mr. NAYDER: Are you crying?
SIMON: No! Oh, yes, but not for the reasons you think. I think, actually, one of Elvis' best songs. I think it's Jimmy Webb, if I'm not mistaken.
Mr. NAYDER: No, no, no. It's actually somebody that on the label is Scott, Scott Davis but aka Mac Davis on this song.
SIMON: Mac Davis, all right.
Mr. NAYDER: December 1969.
SIMON: I stand correct--all right. So I'm told our Elvis song stylist here is the Swedish sensation Eilert Pilarm.
Mr. NAYDER: Well, you know, so often when we want to capture Elvis and the birthplace of rock 'n' roll, we head to Sweden. And I think Mr. Pilarm who, as you said, is Sweden's singing sensation--they couldn't call him that if it wasn't true--really does a version of "In the Ghetto" that stirs emotions and nausea.
SIMON: Listen, Elvis Presley used to sing other people's songs on stage.
Mr. NAYDER: Yes. Elvis actually...
SIMON: I can't believe the wave of these stretches of logic we make and these so-called questions just to accommodate your play list, but one of the songs that Elvis Presley used to enjoy singing on stage was "You've Lost That Loving Feeling," right?
Mr. NAYDER: "You've Lost That Loving Feeling," of course, made famous by the Righteous Brothers. But we found a version that's surpasses any prior attempts.
(Soundbite of "You've Lost That Loving Feeling")
Mr. TELLY SAVALAS: (Singing) You've lost that loving feeling, whoa, that loving feeling. You've lost that loving feeling, now it's gone, gone, gone, whoa-o-o.
SIMON: Who is that?
Mr. NAYDER: Telly Savalas, the great Kojak.
SIMON: Telly Savalas is singing this? Oh, my gosh. Well, now I know why his hair fell out. When did Telly Savalas record this?
Mr. NAYDER: I think before he died.
SIMON: Not altogether clear. Can we stop this? Yeah, thank you. OK.
Mr. NAYDER: The interview?
SIMON: No, no, no. Let's continue with the interview. I just meant Telly's song stylings.
Mr. NAYDER: Yes, you know, and I don't want to interrupt, but the one thing that we're leaving out is that--and it definitely shouldn't be overlooked is that Elvis was a very spiritual, religious man. And although he's famous for the rock 'n' roll, his true music love was gospel.
SIMON: Yes. Oh, he's a very accomplished gospel singer, yeah.
Mr. NAYDER: And specifically, he loved to sing "Amazing Grace." At the last moment, though, here's the only version we could find in "The Annoying Music Show!" library of "Amazing Grace."
(Soundbite of "Amazing Grace")
DONALD DUCK: (Singing) Amazing grace, how sweet the sound...
SIMON: Oh, no.
DONALD DUCK: (Singing) ...that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found; was blind but now I see.
SIMON: All right. Let me guess. It's not Judy Collins, right?
Mr. NAYDER: Or Judy Garland.
Mr. NAYDER: That, of course, an Elvis favorite, Donald Duck. It's the only version we could find at the last minute.
SIMON: This is not Donald Duck, is it? Is that...
Mr. NAYDER: It is. And actually, it's a rare recording that Donald sang at Walt Disney's funeral in 1965, so--we're missing Elvis, we're missing Walt and we're miss--well, Donald's still around.
SIMON: Jim, always a delight talking to you.
Mr. NAYDER: Love me tender, Scott.
SIMON: Oh, my word! All right, at 75 percent of the time, it's a delight talking to you. Jim Nayder is the host of "The Annoying Music Show!" which is produced by WBZ in Chicago, which clearly has no concern about continued CPB funding.
(Soundbite of "Amazing Grace")
DONALD DUCK: (Singing) ...(Unintelligible).
SIMON: And if you aren't quite aggravated enough, you can find even more chestnuts from Jim Nayder on our Web site, npr.org.
We hope you're still listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.